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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Writing Prompt: Outside Looking In

Stick a whole tree in your living room.
Wait for some dude to break and enter your house.
Fill your socks with sticky food.
Sing the same twenty or so songs over and over again for a month.
Makes total sense to me.
Happy Birthday Jesu---
Wait.....is that basket of cookies fucking twinkling?
Anya: I love a ritual sacrifice.
Buffy: Not really a one of those.
Anya: To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie.

-Buffy The Vampire Slayer on Thanksgiving

To commemorate the holidays we have a fun prompt about writing from the outside, looking in.

You probably did a prompt like this in high school--I did a few of them from things like holidays to sports events. However, it can always be a good exercise for even the most experienced writers to try to tackle for multiple reasons.

First- It is one of the most fundamental jobs of artists to question the invisible assumptions of the culture in which they live.  Few things are as unquestioned as the rituals surrounding our holidays. And while few things will quite as absurd under the microscope, it's good practice.

Second- As a writer, making the pedestrian extraordinary and the extraordinary pedestrian is ever one of the tasks we face. A writer can turn changing the catbox into a mystical experience and the slaying of dragons yawn-worthy. Writing about things from a different perspective is always good practice for the artistic eye.

Prompt- Write about a holiday in your culture as if you are an outsider with absolutely no experience who is bemused by the whole affair. You can make this funny or clinical, but remember that the voice you are writing through will attach NO significance to the symbols you yourself have taken for granted (and perhaps not even questioned) your entire life. Write at least one full page about the strangeness of it all, but feel free to go on if you get on a roll.

Don't forget to have fun.

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