A few years ago, I took a brief, but fantastic memoir writing course with poet and writing professor, Chloe Yelena Miller. It was in this course I was first introduced to the concept of writing from a prompt.
Wow, how I loved this exercise.
Not all writing prompts work for all people — and it could be the ones that Chloe chose resonated with me personally — but, regardless, I had a lot a fun with them.
I wrote one piece about my childhood stuffed dog/bear, Floppy.
I wrote one piece about my ex-boyfriend’s family beach house.
I wrote another about a long-kept secret.
What exactly do I love about writing prompts? I’m not sure.
But I think it has to do with looking at life differently. From a different angle. Upside down. Inside out.
To see people and things in a way they’ve never been observed before. To imagine them in a purpose or a place they’re unused to.
Today, my writing prompt was Mr. Mushroom Butt.
While slicing vegetables for my breakfast stir fry, I couldn’t help but notice the cute little butt in one of my deformed mushrooms.
In an instant, I could imagine the yellow peppers as arms and legs. And hurried to arrange them and photograph the scene before it disappeared from my imagination or I got too hungry not to eat it.
The Sad and Sorry End to Mushroom Butt was born from my breakfast.
A story was born … a character, a fractured fairytale. And who knows what else? A film? A line of toys? A breakfast cereal?
One morning, I birthed Mushroom Butt . And now he exists.
This is what’s amazing about writing prompts.
And about writing.
This ability to birth something or someone anew.
There are writing prompts everywhere masquerading as boring nothingness.
But once you name them as writing prompts, someone or something exists where there was previously nothing and no one.
And the list of possibilities for their adventures becomes endless…