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Friday, April 20, 2012

Writing Prompt: Childhood Lunch

By Marilyn Friedman

I'm glad to see that you survived tax week. Now that you have that fat refund check in your hot, little hands (I hope) it's time to invest in your writing dreams with terrific classes that could be tax deductible! Also, since you're done with your returns, it's time to spend some time writing, so check out your free prompt below and don't forget to comment on the blog.

This Thursday at Writing Pad, we're very excited to offer another section of Victor Levin's ("Mad About You," "Win A Date With Tad Hamilton") very popular Trouble and Rapture: Crafting The Studio Rom Com class. If you want to learn how to write realistic relationships and conflict, this is the class for you, even if you aren't a screenwriter. Vic's classes will blow your mind.

Also, next Sunday afternoon, you'll have a chance to workshop a blog entry or concept and learn some innovative blog writing tricks in Getting to "Like": Crafting A Compelling Blog with successful journalist Tim Grierson. In the evening, you can craft your plan for getting an agent and publishing deal in Get Your Book Published with 3 book deal Harper Collins author Derek Taylor Kent. One of the students who took Derek's class got inquiries from 10 agents after he took the class!

Email or click on the "Buy Now" links on my website to sign up before this classes are full.

Trouble and Rapture: Crafting The Studio Romantic Comedy
Getting to "Like": Crafting A Compelling Blog
Get Your Book Published 


Children's and Young Adult Writing
From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Kids and YA Writing Pt I
From Bedtime Stories To Tales of Teenage Woe: Kids and YA Writing Pt II

Creative Writing/Multi Genre
So You Want To Be A Writer (Online and In Person)
Finishing School
Get It On The Page: A Creative Writing Workshop
Mini Writing Pad Boot Camp . . . With Dessert (Online)
And You Thought Your Family Was F@&KEd Up: Developing Compelling Characters From Real Life (Online)

Storytelling At Light Speed: The Art Of Flash Fiction
Fiction Bootcamp: Mastering The Art of The Tall Tale

Journalism, Personal Essay and Web Writing
What's On Your Mind? Building Your Brand Through Social Media
You In 1200 Words: Writing and Publishing The Personal Essay
On The Record: Mastering The Reported Essay
Me.Com: A Copywriting Ninja Skills Workshop

Made To Order: Writing A Killer TV Spec Script
Writing The Happening Scene
Pet Project: Writing Your Dream Screenplay

Writing Prompt: Make a list of 3-5 items that you ate on a regular basis for lunch as a kid! Pick one or two and add a sensory detail to them (e.g. smell, taste, sound, touch). Now write a story, poem, or scene that includes that lunch item for 10 minutes and post the results in the blog. My childhood lunches typically consisted of peanut butter sandwiches (no Jelly), a Little Debbie Nutty Bar, and a Macintosh apple so that's what I'll write about.

What did you eat for lunch as a kid? Post your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog, and you could win a free class!


Anonymous said...

Nobody in the Flowing Wells aka Seeping Sewers School District cafeteria, ate cream cheese and jelly on Roman Meal except for those three Jewish kids: me, my brother, and my sister. And the truth was, we didn’t eat them either.

To start, the bread—no doubt the collapse of the Roman Empire— was recycled cardboard with flecks of hard grains suspiciously identical to the body parts of kitchen insects. The cream cheese came in a hard rectangular brick. Virtually unspreadable, it dragged over the bread and shredded the top layer, the first step toward dissolving it into a hazy mush by lunch time. The jelly, always Concord grape, merged with the cream cheese and bread bits to form a deathly grey paste. And to finalize the process, dessert—always a whole, heavy orange or apple; never, God forbid, a fluffy Twinkie or Ding-Dong— would roll and weigh down our foil- wrapped entree into a concave wafer, so that by noon, the original contents were rendered unrecognizable.

Hungry by the lunch bell, we’d attempt the first bite. But we’d inevitably wad the whole disgusting mess up into a tiny aluminum golf-ball and toss it in the trash. We’d have to wait until dinner, and pray it wasn’t going to be a big cow tongue sitting on the table with a jar of mustard, and pickled beets. Our stomachs rumbling, we’d stare longingly with mouths watering at bright red sashes of strawberry jam with Jiffy on crustless clouds of Wonderbread, or bologna with American cheese and mayo on white. But when we begged for such delicacies as we saw in the school cafeteria, the answer was always the same. Which is how it came to pass that for my entire childhood, I thought “goyish” was a synonym for “delicious.”

Kasey B. said...

One father-daughter day in elementary school, my dad would famously compare the texture of our cafeteria’s chicken fried steak patty to the time he and his cousin tried to make Frisbees out of cow pies, insisting that as far as chicken fried steak goes, this thing was about as close to the real deal as my easy bake oven cookies were to Famous Amos at the mall. This is to say, by our limited standards, not close at all.

But, for me, every Wednesday from Kindergarten to senior year, I swished chewy bites of once-frozen fried meat patty into reconstituted potato flakes, piled it onto a powdery white-bread roll and enjoyed every questionably healthy bite. Granted, it didn’t need to live up to much as far as school lunches went. Certainly, any attempt a chicken fried steak, or its occasional reformatting into permutations called “fried steak fingers” was bound to trump the woeful Salisbury steak, desiccated Friday fish sticks, or God forbid anything that was served still attached to a bone. If that chicken fried steak were a song, it would be the soundtrack to all my lunchtime adventures – from the early ones titled “Holy crap, Shahreen eats the peels of oranges!” to the latter-day “Did you just see that group of girls beat the hell out Tamika in the 200 hall?” All the beats would be the sound of teeth loudly tearing into gristle. It would be a song you’d play now only when you wanted to remember how old you’ve gotten, or if you found yourself suddenly craving small cartons of chocolate milk.

I wake up some mornings still, 20 years since I ate my last bite of cafeteria steak product, hearing echoes of the fastest talking Filipina in Garland, Texas manning the register, pointing at my food and designating it “Meeeeeeeeat? Ok. ‘Tato? Ok. “It cost one dollar and fifteen cents. I’d give her one and a quarter, and she’d return my twenty cents in a blur of words affirming my collection of “twaysayshay” in two dirty dimes. The register barely stopped smoking from her ten key before the next three people were whisked through and led to seats so fast it felt more like an alien abduction than a cash transaction. And on those days I wake up with her voice in my head, I wonder if other kids are still out there on Wednesdays eating my share of mashed potatoes.

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