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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Writing Prompt 3/24/2010: Chores

By Amy Robinson
Forget about your chores and start writing! Secure your spot in one of our new April writing classes by calling 323-333-2954 or emailing

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 5 chores that you hate to do that you must do every day. Be specific. Pick one and write about it for ten minutes. For example, one of the items on my list is washing dishes. Dirty dishes seem to multiply like Easter bunnies. It feels like I am constantly washing plates and forks! What chore do you (or your character) do daily that is unpleasant but must be done? Remember to post your writing in the comments!

Comment on this blog! What comes to mind when you think of the word, "chores?" Post your short write on this blog, and you could win a free class!


Writing Pad said...

I've decided that I want a wife. I'm thinking of posting an ad on Craigslist. Wanted: Platonic, Organized Caretaker type to go grocery shopping for me, pick up my dry cleaning, cook for me, and do my taxes.

Then I wouldn't have to race out of work to rescue my clothes before the dry cleaners close. Then I wouldn't have to swear in traffic on the 5. I wouldn't be muttering to myself, "Gosh darn it! Don't these bozos know that I need my crepe pants or I'll have nothing to wear for the rest of the week? Won't everyone get out of my way, for crying out loud?"

The only thing that makes picking up the dry cleaning tolerable is that the owner is super nice. Also, he has an adorable, black and white doggie named Cookie that I get to pet for a few minutes while I pay for my clothes. His fur is so soft against the palm of my hand. I feel my blood pressure go down as I stroke his fluffy, neatly groomed coat.

Fozzie said...

I likes my chores. You know what is expected and the results speak for themselves. Chores are regular and reliable.
I wake up and walk and feed my dog. I make the bed. I wash the dishes. I do the laundry. I wash the bathroom. I sweep and mop the floors. I take out the trash.
Some I do every day, some less often, but they're always there for me. My friends, my purpose, my chores.

Writing Pad said...


Your narrator has a very positive attitude about chores. This piece is like a lovely ode to chores! I love "my friends, my purpose, my chores" and that they are "regular and reliable." I also love the list of the chores that the narrator has to do.

Fabulous! :)


Anonymous said...

Chores and Taxes. Reprehensible, but if you neglect either, you're a done cookie.

I do them because I can't abide clutter and don't want nuthin' or no one blocking my Chi. But if I could get away from doing them, in a second! I would.

Not doing chores would leave me time for reading, writing, watering my garden, playing in my garden, watching the birds till my heart bursts (okay, maybe not, but you know what i mean) -- hell, I'd watch the grass grow!

But how to do this? Here's what I think of, it's rationalizing, I admit, but also, I don't know, entrepreneurial? Something. So, here's what I'd do. I'd work harder at my job, maybe take on a few other smailler gigs (not enough to take from my bird and grass watching time, just enough to give me the ability to hire someone to do it for me.

I'd be providing a job, I'd help the environment by providing blooms for the bees and all their pollination business - and watch them pass it forward. I'd slow down the rat race by a factor of one.

I'd settle for someone doing my laundry.


Julie said...

I've been thinking a lot about chores lately. Mostly because, as the executive in charge of my house, I am having a management problem. I'm the first one up in the morning. I make the coffee. I wash the milk cups and the left over dishes from last night, then I make three beds. I gather jackets and backpacks, check homework and drive the children to school.

I return to the quiet house and set to work, finishing off the dishes, cleaning toilets, wiping counters, sweeping floors. I'm efficient, I'm quick, and the house is clean before lunch. I know I've got a skill set. I'm pretty darn good at my job. You don't get to this level without knowing your stuff.

Then, the sources of my problem arrive home, backpacks and sweatshirts and lunch boxes following in their wake. Papers flutter and pencils appear. Toys scatter across the floor. Someone takes off a shoe, dumping sand all over my nice, clean floor. I trip over a baseball mitt. My children look at me with a shrug.

I call a meeting. We need to revisit the rules. Chores are organized, charts are hung. Compensation is discussed and negotiated. It sticks for awhile. Then one stray sock appears on the couch, followed by an empty juice box. I resist the urge to clean it up. I bite my tongue before I yell. They still need training. After all, they are only 6 and 8.

Anonymous said...

I must agree. Doing dishes is easily the worst chore that must be done every day. I wonder what the statistics would look like on how many roommates have stopped living together solely based on the tension derived from dirty dishes. As for me, I usually try to get my girlfriends to do them but the spunky upbeat high of future domestic bliss while scrubbing my dirty dishes eventually wears off. So I usually go to my back up plan, the ol' I'll cook if you clean trade off. I must say I got pretty good at cooking once I discovered that trick. Unfortunately, this didn't work in my favor when I was dating a French girl. I was stuck doing the dishes most of the time because my cooking skills paled in comparison.

You know a man is alone and depressed when there's a pile of dirty dishes in his sink. And you know a lonely man is looking for love when that sink is empty and clean. Which brings to mind one of my favorite "you gotta get laid man" pep talk sayings:

A made bed is a laid bed.

As tacky as it may be, a clean organized environment breeds confidence and there is nothing more attractive to females than confidence. Seven years into marriage it's a new dishwasher but for the single man confidence in knowing your place don't stink and your sheets are clean when you bring a girl home for the first time will cut it.

Alright, enough commenting. It's 10:30 on Friday night. I've got to make my bed do some dishes and hit the town.

Timothy M.

Writing Pad said...

Guys--I LOVE these pieces. They are fabulous!

Marta--I love "done cookie." I love the list of things the narrator would do if she didn't do chores. I also love the fantasy of how hiring someone to do the chores would help the bees pollinate and flowers bloom. Fantastic!

Julie--Your piece is so poetic! Great images and specificity. I love the detailed lists of the chores that the narrator does. I love the paragraph that follows the "sources of my problem arrive home" and the specificity of the stray sock.


Writing Pad said...

Timothy--I love the meaning that you attached to chores. I LOVE that "a man is alone and depressed when there's a pile of dirty dishes in his sink. And you know a lonely man is looking for love when that sink is empty and clean." I also love the line,
"A made bed is a laid bed." Your piece was funny and deep!

Anonymous said...

In college a roommate proposed a deal, all I had to do was all of our laundry. Sure! Washing, drying, folding, and “it’s not like you have to beat it on a rock.” I still hear my father’s words to the fifteen-year old me. Easy. And it was. I thought I’d found the sweetheart deal for housework for life, and this was the perfect proposal for my husband. Besides, he folds everything inside out. This was a far cry from the requirement of my teenage years to fold all towels in thirds.

My husband will always take his socks off in the living room, and our 4-pound dogs will run off with their new playthings. His socks will never be matched – there will always be one under the couch somewhere. I have finally learned that when he is out of undershirts, they are either twisted in the bottom of our sheets or under the bed. They are casualties of a tired man who gets hot when he sleeps.

Even unshaven in a t-shirt and jeans, my husband is put together perfectly. This requires a lot of clothes. The perfect outfit usually consists of about three changes of clothes. Sometimes the perfect jeans are in the dirty laundry, but they should be good for another day, right? The unwanted clothes stay on the bed, all of them. The clean ones, and the dirty ones, live together. I never know what to wash. The solution is simple to my husband – just smell them. This seems to be what men do, but I refuse. I wash them all. I remember this being much easier in college. Oh, that’s right. I used to take the laundry to my mother every weekend!

angelhipster said...

"Bang! Bang! Maxwell silver hammer head...". The morbid yet comical words of The Beatles are drowned out by a soft thudding noise. Thinking to myself, the damn worthless shaving mirror in the shower has nose dived on to the tiles again. Walking down the hall, I noticed the doors covering the washer and dryer is slightly ajar and closed it. As I made my way to the shower, a soft "click" pricked up my ears. I looked back and the doors to the laundry area were open again. Curious, I went back to investigate. Upon opening the doors, there is a sock hanging out of the dryer as if was sticking it's tongue out at me. "I must have dropped it on the last load" thinking to myself, but something's wrong. The pungent smell of sweaty feet wafted up my nose. Pinching my thumb and forefinger, I gingerly picked up the sock as if it would infect me with it's dirty-ness. Then I caught a glimpse of something through the dryer window. All of a sudden an avalanche of dirty clothes flood out of the dryer forcing me back on to my butt I try to scramble on to my feet, but the dirty clothes are piling high around me like an avalanche of stench and putrescence. It's as if I've been thrown in "the bog of eternal stench"! My scream is muffled by the very rotting sock that was the catalyst of my fear. Can't move If I could only move my arms, but it's as if they're caught in a spider's web. The smell.. the weight.. it's too much... "AHHHHHHH!!!" I open my eyes and blow out a breath of relief. It was just a horrible dream. I can't believe I'm dreaming about dirty laundry. I laugh, silly me. Shaking the creepy feeling off, I get up and make my way to the kitchen, but as I pass, "click".

Writing Pad said...

Katie--I loved your piece! Hilarious! I love “it’s not like you have to beat it on a rock,” I especially love the habits of the narrator's husband that result in undershirts twisted in the bottom of sheets or under the bed and clean clothes mixed with dirty. I enjoyed learning about the husband character through his laundry. :)


Writing Pad said...

Hi Angel Hipster--Fabulous piece! I love the dirty laundry nightmare! I loved the
damn worthless shaving mirror in the shower" that "has nose dived," and "a sock hanging out of the dryer as if was sticking it's tongue out at me." Your piece has great personification of inanimate objects. Thanks for posting!