I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Prompt

For the most part, writing something every day isn’t terribly difficult. Finding the time is the most challenging aspect of it. I can usually come up with some mundane or random subject from life to chew on for 300 words or so. That said, for some reason the last couple days I’ve struggled with coming up with much of anything.

So I turned to a couple different writing forums and websites for “prompts” to see if I could get something going this afternoon. The problem with that is, I’m not particularly introspective or deep. Maybe that’s something that I shouldn’t admit, but I don’t spend a lot of time analyzing feelings or looking for philosophical meaning in life. I guess I’m pretty shallow. Oh well. But most of these prompts involve some sort of soul-searching. Bleah.

For instance:

Who was once a pillar of strength to you? Write about that person.

Pillar of strength? I’m not Ma Joad. My life hasn’t been such an uphill climb that I’ve ever needed a “pillar of strength” to lean upon. I’m not dark enough to be a writer.

When might a sore loser win? Write a story where someone is a sore loser, and it pays off in a good way.

I’m not touching that with a ten-foot pole. I have a son and a brother who are the epitome of sore losers. No way am I going to encourage them by suggesting there is a chance for a payoff for acting like a horse’s ass every time you lose.

What was the most important lesson you learned OUTSIDE of school?

Dear Lord, that sounds like the basis of a “very special” sit-com episode.

What does January feel like? Write a poem or paragraph that explains your opinion of and emotions felt for the first month of the year.

january sucks
bitter cold and messy snow
longing for hawai’i

Write a rejection letter to your past self, explaining why you needed to go through the rough patches that complicated your life to become a better writer.


Write a story from the point of view of an apple, sitting in a fruit basket on your kitchen counter, observing the world around it.

Hi, I’m a Honeycrisp apple. Some crazyass kids picked me from my tree at the orchard yesterday. They killed some of my family by climbing up the branches and knocking them to their death below where they’ll rot away and be consumed by worms, bees and flies. They took me home in a bag, handling me roughly, bruising my flesh. I spent the night alone on a dark counter. Now it’s morning. The littlest kid is cute, but he’s yelling at his mom, demanding a waffle. Here comes the mom, she just got out of the shower and her hair is wet. She doesn’t look good. She puts a waffle into the toaster, but the littlest one is whining because he wanted to put it in. She leaves. He drags a chair to the counter, pops the waffle back up, then puts it in. When it pops up he takes it out, puts it on a plate, and tears it a little bit. He starts crying because he doesn’t want a torn waffle. Now the mom comes over, asks the little blue-eyed kid if he’ll eat it. He says yes. The mom puts a new waffle in for the littlest one. Then the crazy middle one comes over and starts going through the refrigerator. The mom tells him to close it. The blue-eyed one starts crying because he doesn’t have enough waffles. The mom tells him she’ll make him another one when he’s finished the one on his plate. Then he starts shouting that he didn’t want a “ripped one.” The mom is mad and says she’s not making him a new one. She butters the waffle for the littlest one, while the crazy middle one is in the way, putting his own waffle in. He refuses to eat the one that the mom gave the blue-eyed kid. The mom yells at all of them, tells them she’s not making a new waffle and someone will have to go hungry, and storms out. The blue-eyed one pulls a chair up to the freezer, gets his own waffle and puts it into the toaster. He eyes me and I pretend not to see him. I wish I could roll behind the paper towel bar and hide. The blue-eyed one gets his waffle out, butters it, and taunts his mom, saying he got it all by himself. The batshit crazy dog tries to climb up on the table to eat the one that no one wanted, but the mom comes over and grabs it before she can get to it. Someone please slice me up humanely. I can’t take another minute of this, and I’ve seen what the dog does to things. I don’t want my life to end that way. It’s unsanitary and brutal.

And that’s why writing prompts are dumb. They don’t inspire anything.

© Jennifer Alys Windholz, 2011


4 thoughts on “I Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Prompt

  1. Pingback: Cake or pie?–Really? « lifefromthestep

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