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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Writing Prompt: 12/10/09

Check out my fabulous gift guide in the blog post below! BTW, Writing Pad gift certificates are available in any amount, for specific classes, or as an open ended gift (to be applied to the class of your friend's/loved one's choice). Email for more info.

Writing Prompt: Take five minutes to make a list of five of the best/worst gifts you’ve ever received (in reality or in your imagation). Pick one and write about it for 10 minutes.

Comment on this blog! What was the best/worst gift you ever received? It can be a sentence or a mini story. I will respond with what I like and remember and you will be entered in the contest for a free class!


H.M.R. said...

My mom fancied herself a feminist and thus would not buy me a Barbie when I was little. One year my grandmother thought enough was enough and snuck a Jewl Secret Barbie under the tree saying it was from Santa. It was the Barbie who's dress turned into a purse! I was over the moon in love.

Little did my mom know by letting me keep this doll she was opening the Barbie portal. I would be stuck in the magical world of Malibu Dream houses for the next half a decade.

Writing Pad said...

Halie--I am loving this recurring character of the grandmother! She is fabulous! I love the Jewl Secret Barbie who's dress turned into a purse. That is a terrific gift--even I'm excited (and I'm way too old to be excited about that). ;)


Billy said...

Marilyn, et al:
True holiday story:
When I was thirteen my Uncle Hal came for Christmas. My Uncle Hal -- Harold Hamilton Gibson III -- was a drunk -- a happy drunk, but a drunk nonetheless. When Hal visited, my mom would hide all but the cheapest booze. Hal asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I told him anything by Doris Day. I really liked Doris Day. Christmas Eve my Uncle announced that Doris Day never recorded a song called Anything. I said, I meant anything by Doris Day…anything. He said he was sorry but the stores were closed ‘till after Christmas.
I was disappointed, though I hadn’t gotten him a gift. But that week in school I had bought from a friend for 50¢ a perfect plaster replica of a dog-turd. I carefully wrapped it in newspaper, placed it in a shoe box and wrapped that with a satiny-red paper and put a green bow on it. That I placed in a larger cardboard box, wrapped it in angel paper, placed it in an even larger box, and covered that with a nice red & green scotch-plaid wrapping paper. I wrote on the Christmas gift tag, “Dear Uncle Hal, don’t worry about the Doris Day record. Let this gift to you serve as a symbol of the love and admiration I have for you -- a thank-you for your holiday visit and for your love and loyalty. Signed with best wishes for a Happy New Year, your nephew, Billy.
Christmas morning Hal tossed back a couple of hi-test eggnogs and was teetering around the tree. My mom sat him down. I put a red ski hat on and said, “My turn to play Santa Claus. Uncle Hal, this one’s for you.”
“Well, gosh, Billy, how sweet of you to think of your old Uncle.” He took another swig of eggnog and unwrapped the large Christmas box. With a look of great anticipation he removed the second box and unwrapped it. “Gee, a lot of effort went into this, Billy.”
“All in the Christmas spirit, Uncle Hal, ho-ho-ho.”
He unwrapped the shoe box and untwisted the layers of red tissue paper. His hand slowly emerged holding the plaster dog-turd. He said, “I will treasure this forever.” Now, while I enjoyed the act of giving my new dog-turd to Uncle Hal, I also knew that I would miss it.
But the next Christmas I received a large festive gift-box from my uncle with a note, “My loving nephew, may all your Christmases look like this.” It was the dog-turd.
And every Christmas until my uncle Hal died he and I exchanged that dog-turd and others he picked up along the way — paper maché dog-turds, rubber dog-turds. And now at Christmas, to honor the memory of my Uncle Hal, when my daughters and I exchange gifts one of them is always a lovingly-wrapped, life-like brown dog-turd.

Writing Pad said...

Bill--I LOVE this piece! It is poignant and funny. I love how the mother had to hide the cheapest booze, how the narrator wanted a Doris Day record, and the whole story around the turd. I also love how the turd comes back again in the present time Xmas at the end.


Stinky Junior said...

The worst present I can remember was from a work Yankee Swap. It was a huge snowglobe with a golden angel in the middle. The only reason I got it was because it was the biggest box on the gift table and I got greedy. I went first and nobody stole it from me. I believe it went directly to Goodwill.

Billy totally made me jealous of the Christmas turd. That sounds like a great, fun, family tradition

Writing Pad said...

From Chyna T

The holidays can be tricky. What do you when you get a gift that you don't like?....Not only that you don't like per say, but something that is just impractical and useless.

See, my mother likes to live in the past. I am now twenty years old and I have come to the conclusion that she refuses to believe this much time has passed her by.

Though this can be pleasant way to think about things, it is also what is most commonly referred to as DENIAL. So because of this, she buys my sister and I things such as: jumbo sized pens, a bag of erasers, creepy mini porcelain dolls, a neon sign that says, and i quote "GIRLS RULE".

I think I've made my point. Now, I know it is terribly sweet of her and that I am supposed to think "It's the thought that counts." But I don't believe there was much thought put into those gifts.

If you think about it, if you add up the cost of the list above, I could've bought not only something I may have wanted, but something I needed. And not a bunch of shit that would immediately just become more junk to clutter my room with. And now I sound like the asshole.

Writing Pad said...

Amy and Chyna--I love your stories.
They feel realistic and entertaining.

Amy--I love "Yankee Swap," and the golden angel snowglobe. I love that it deceptively seemed like the best gift because it was in the biggest box.

Chyna--I love the emotion and language in your piece. "DENIAL," the detailed list of inappropriate gifts, and the words, "bunch of shit."

Fabulous writing, folks!

Benny Blanch said...

The Best:

When I was seven years old, my older step-sister of five years gave me the best gift I ever received as a young child. I had recently moved to a new town and didn't have too many friends at the time, which is why this particular gift is exceptionally memorable.

On Christmas day, as my last gift, I unwrapped the largest box under the tree. I always left the biggest for last, with the perception that biggest is always best, but this is the only year that this actually held true. I shredded through the tacky decorated paper that we know as yule time wrap to find a box with a photo of a basketball hoop. She got me an indoor basketball hoop with a Chicago Bulls logo on the backboard. Perfect for me because I, much like all the other kids in the world, was a huge MJ & Pippen fan. Everyday I would come home from school and play on that hoop by myself, constantly reliving famous buzzer-beater basketball scenarios and orchestrating made up competitive roundball battles in my mind. I was the only one in that living room everyday from 3-5:30, but to me there were always 10 players on the floor, vying for the ball, to take the last shot, to dunk on the competition.

My stepfather hated that hoop because it was always in his living room and it was impossible to get me away from it, as sometimes I would play until dinner time. In an attempt to discontinue my greatest pleasure and his worst annoyance, he told me that playing on a mini hoop was inevitably going to interfere with real basketball and the form of playing with a bigger ball and a taller basket. I never listened to him and continued to play and play, continuously for years and years. Once I did make friends we would split up our afternoons by playing one-on-one on the mini Bulls hoop and taking breaks by playing SEGA (another top childhood gift) and chugging soda until the parental came home.

That hoop brought me so much joy for so many years, but like the majority of all things in childhood, I outgrew it, physically and emotionally. As soon as girls, friends and real activities became accessible, I spent less and less time in my magical, imaginative sports arena until eventually we dismantled the hoop and gave it to a younger cousin. I can only hope that he enjoyed it as much as me.

Benny Blanch said...
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