Wednesday, February 2, 2011

One Flew Over the Creative Writing Class

(You might think that the thunderous indifference that has been expressed to my previous post would deter me from further efforts. You’d be wrong. There is a strange temptation to deface that which cannot be seen. Fun fact: Neil Armstrong actually scrawled obscenities on the underside of a rock during the Apollo 11 mission. I defy you to prove me wrong.)

Today’s Topic: Writing Prompts with Horrifying Implications

            While I was searching for things to write about on the benevolent overlord that is Google, I came across a resource listing a few creative writing prompts aimed at children. “Aimed” is the crucial word here- the only exchange that whoever wrote these has ever had with a young person took place at opposite ends of a sniper scope. Now, normally I’m an advocate for striking terror into the hearts of children, as the customers of “Happy Hal’s Party Clowns” will attest, but a few of these cross the line. And I’m not making any of these up, either; you can find the rest here.

What would you do if you were in the middle of the lake and your boat springs a leak?
            The most obvious answer is “drown”. Sure, you can assume that this is a small lake if you want to, but all that tells me is that you think small. We didn’t get many details; this could easily be the center of the Dead Sea for all we know. And then there’s the matter of that mysterious leak in the boat. Leaks don’t spring up out of nowhere: a normal child is going to assume that someone is employing a rather inefficient method of murdering them, and if you’ve had a childhood like I’ve had, the only logical conclusion is that the leak is the only warning you’re going to get before Cthulu surfaces and humanity bows to its new master. So, in summation, you’re basically giving a child the choice between someone trying to kill them as slowly as possible and 10,000 years of madness.

Write a story from the perspective of a rabbit going down a hole.  What does the rabbit experience, see and feel?
            Ignoring the Freudian connotations in that first sentence for the moment, bear in mind that the only responses somebody can logically give to the second are, respectively, “Dirt,” “More dirt,” and “Really just an inordinate amount of dirt.” The resulting piece of literature will invariably be impossible to read without hearing Ben Stein’s voice.

What would you do if you suddenly woke up in another country and no one could understand a word you said!
            First, please remember to use question marks. Second, I believe that’s called “kidnapping” in some circles. And not your garden variety kidnapping either, oh no, apparently the kidnappers have decided that you weren’t worth carrying around anymore and abandoned you, resulting in a strange combination of terror, bewilderment, and low self esteem. There is literally no response a child could give to this paper without being investigated by social services.

What would you do if you were the last person on earth?
            Notice it doesn’t specify why you’re the last person on earth. No, what we have here is basically a Mad-libs for the apocalypse, where you’re able to fill in the deaths of everybody you know with your own darkest fears. Sure, you have the kids that’ll decide to rule over a candy factory in the ruins of civilization, but at least a few of them will realize that they’re going to last for about five years before losing control of the factory in a diplomatic dispute with their left shoe.

What if you were a snowflake… what would your day be like?
            Lifespan of a snowflake:
1. Be born.
2. Plummet to the ground at your terminal velocity.
3. Be crushed under the weight of millions of your siblings.
4. Die.
            “What would your day be like?” Yes, a stark commentary on the fleeting nature of existence and the insufferable pain we endure during our lives seems like a logical follow up to The Little Engine That Could.

How does it feel to be a snowflake?
            No, this isn’t a joke. Essentially the same writing prompt appears later on in the list. Evidently this one is supposed to cover what went unanswered in the last one. There are two possible directions a child could take this writing. 1) Simply write the exact same thing as they did on the previous prompt, as a teacher whose attention span doesn’t even reach the end of a list is unlikely to notice, or 2) “Hi! I’m Billy the Snowflake! I’m here to show you how fun my town is! Let’s go exploring, and I’ll- wait, what’s that big hot yellow thing in the sky? OH, DEAR GOD, THE PAIN! WHAT CRUEL GOD HAS THUSLY ENGINEERED MY FATE?!”

Imagine you are a mountain and you are sitting and watching the world.  What do you see?
            “Hi! I’m Monty the Mountain! Let’s wait and see what interesting things happen to me!
            (500 years pass)
            “Huh. So that’s what it feels like to slowly erode. Well, it’s going to be a fun eternity.”
(Alternate ending)

            “Hi! I’m Monty the Mountain! I watch over these nice people here at Pompeii! Isn’t that right, guys? Guys?”

1 comment:

  1. I listened to Justin Bieber while reading this. You can bet that made it extra funny.