Friday, March 22nd, 2013

Writing Prompt: Real Estate Blues

Business woman holding a contract in her hand. She looks upset.It’s that time of year: I’m getting bombarded by realtor mail.

It seems like that once the crocuses start to pop up in this neck of the woods, the realtors are out like vultures, looking for new prospects. I’m not in the market for a new house. I’m not interested in selling my current one.

Dear Realtors: please leave me alone.

Nonetheless, the topic is interesting for a writing prompt.

True Story: In the spring, when I was about two, my parents moved into a new house. Only a few days after the moving truck departed and they were busy with ripping up carpet and applying fresh paint to all the rooms, a knock sounded at the front door. My Mom opened it to find a young man, fresh on leave from the army. He’d come home to see his parents, but his key wouldn’t work in the door.

Imagine his surprise to learn that his parents had moved out, leaving him no forwarding address! (I’ve always wondered what happened to this young man.)

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about the serviceman who comes home for a visit, but finds his family packed up and moved away.
  • Imagine this: a man is selling his house. He’s approached by an old woman soon after he puts it on the market. She doesn’t want to buy the house. She explains that she’s a former owner of the home tells him about something really horrific that happened there once. Write that story.
  • Page through the real estate section of your local newspaper (or find one on line for some place abroad). Choose a home, castle, houseboat, etc. that catches your eye. Write a story about it.
    • If you want to write poetry, write a poem about the feelings the image evokes.

  • If you journal or are writing your memoirs, write a story about a place where you’ve lived. Take care in providing rich detail (without resorting to purple prose!) and how you feel about the place. Was it good or bad? Do you have happy memories or sad? Involve all five senses when telling the story

Good luck!

Image © John Hix | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Writing Prompt – Roller Skates or Other Symbols of Home

Women's White Roller SkatesToday (December 9) in 1884, the US Patent Office issued Levant Richardson a patent for his invention of ball-bearing roller skates. (This made skates much, much faster.)

About a century later, I asked for, and joyfully received, a pair for my 13th birthday.

I don’t know why, but they’ve become the symbol of “home” for me. I moved out of my parent’s house when I went away to college and got my own apartment. Little by little, all that was mine migrated from my parent’s house to my apartment…

…except the skates.

When my parents decided to sell the house I grew up in, they brought me the skates.

And when they moved into their new house, I found a closet there to stash them in.

They moved again, and we repeated the process. When Mom found the skates that time, she threatened to throw them out if I didn’t come get them. I explained to her that as long as they were at her house, that it was as though the house were mine, too. It felt a little more like coming home, than visiting in my parent’s new house when I came to see them.

I’m not sure she gets it.

The fact is: the skates aren’t the issue, it’s what they represent. I could have fixated on anything to be my little slice of home at the new house.

I’ve got a lot of fond memories associated with those skates, including the ones which have nothing to do with skating (that is, the little squabble with my folks over where they should live.)

Do you have any fond skate memories? What about something else that might symbolize home?

Here’s Your Prompt

  1. Write about skates: roller skates, ice skates, in-line skates. If you have no memories, make something up.
    Did you ever wish for skates? Do you have a scene in a book which includes skates? Write that character’s back story related to the skates.
  2. Write a story about something that symbolizes “home” to you. You could write fact, fiction, memoir, or poetry. Be specific. Include descriptions of how you feel, or what you think, when you encounter these things.