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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Writing Prompt: Favorite Winter Activity

By Marilyn Friedman

I keep thinking that the cold weather is over, and then we have days like today where I have to unearth my warmest scarf, flip on the heat, and drink one hot beverage after another to keep warm.

At least we're not in the Midwest! But what will the starlets attending the Oscars do to avoid frostbite while wearing backless dresses? They will have my deepest sympathies if it doesn't warm up by Sunday night.

Starting Wednesday, Feb. 27th, we have new classes guaranteed to keep your muse warm, inspired and productive. Fiction Bootcamp with award-winning author Amelia Gray ("AM/PM", "Museum of the Weird", "THREATS", Tin House, McSweeney’s, Ronald Sukenick Innovative Fiction Prize). Amelia will help you finish a short story or a piece of a novel and teach you how to get it published in a prestigious place like McSweeney's! Emmy-award winning writer Ed Crasnick ("Hot In Cleveland", "The Sopranos") says that you don't need to wait to finish a whole pilot to land an agent. His one-day workshop on Saturday, Mar. 2nd, Crafting Your Webisode Calling Card will help you create a webisode that you can shop around now. His web series, "The Writers Room", got him a ton of writing work.

Keep  your 2013 writing practice going by looking through the fabulous class options below and then scrolling to the bottom of this blog post for your free writing prompt! See you soon.

Note: classes with an asterix (*) will be held at our new, posh Westside location in Westwood!
Hook Ups, Break Ups, And Missed Connections: Writing The Relationship Essay
What Do You Think? Writing the Op-Ed or Cultural Essay*
Getting to "Like": Crafting A Compelling Blog
Query Letter Clinic: Writing The Pitch That Sells Your Story

Playwriting and Writing for Actors
Get Into Character: A Character Monologue Workshop 
The You Show: A Solo Performance Intensive
Storytelling Bootcamp: A Spoken Workout

Dr. Ed's Development Bootcamp: The Ten Page Workout*

Writing Prompt:
Since it still feel very much like winter, I thought that this writing prompt would inspire you to pick up a pen or your laptop, even if you have to wear fingerless gloves to accomplish the task. Make a list of your (or your fictional character's) three favorite winter activities (e.g. making snow angels, going skiing in Mammoth, an annual fondue party). Now pick one. Add a sensory detail to this activity (e.g. smell, taste, sound, touch). Write for 10 minutes about your favorite activity, including the sensory detail. You can write a poem, a scene, a story, or a rant. As long as you write, I'm happy. Then, post your ten minute write in the comments of this blog so that you can win a free class at the Pad!

For 10 minutes: write about your favorite winter activity. Share the results of your ten minute write in the comments of this blog to be entered in the contest for a free class!


Frankie Foster said...

Winter in New York and hot chocolate brings a great tender memory back to me. I love drinking hot chocolate-sweet, silky smooth, rich, and creamy hot chocolate. Sweet chocolaty, cinnamon aroma. Puffy mini marshmallows swimming around in all that velvety richness. This brown gooey lushness is so hot I can see the steam rising off my favorite Garfield mug as I wrap my freezing cold hands around it to thaw. My mom, Mary, made the best hot chocolate on the planet. No offense, but it wasn’t that pre-packaged “Swiss Miss” crap either. No way, she made it from scratch, and it was so, so warm and delicious. She always used whole steamed milk, Nestles hot cocoa and sugar.

My home town of Queens Village got hit with a bad blizzard in 1978. It snowed for hours on end, so much so, I had to leave high school early. It was still snowing when I went to bed that night. The next morning we couldn’t even open the front screen door because the snow drift was 2 feet high. My older brother got to shovel that snow drift-too bad for him! I joined my mom at the kitchen table to watch the WPIX TV news, “Total snow fall was 17.7 inches”, the anchor reported. I already had a mug of my favorite hot chocolate cupped around my hands.

Carolyn Arnold said...

Although I have lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for 30 years, grew up in LA, and spent only a few young years on the east coast, I still feel that I am somehow getting away with something when our California winter arrives with a blast of cold air in November or December and leaves soon afterwards.

My favorite winter activity is reveling in the chilly air and knowing that here in Oakland by the Bay, the coldest chill will only last a few weeks. And soon after that chill —too soon it seems to me, we have not suffered enough—the brown hills will burst out in green grass and orange poppies and I will be running in only my T-shirt again. We may or may not have rain between November and January, but for those few months I can count on wearing my heavy leather jacket to work and turning the heat on in the evening. But only for a few weeks will I wear turtlenecks to work, only a few times will I sniff the morning air and find a memory of snow, and only one or two times when I will be tempted to keep the heat on all night to stay warm in my bed. It is this momentary appearance of cold that makes me appreciate it all the more, sending me into my favorite east coast outfits of turtlenecks, sweaters, down vests, fleece, scarves, and hats to go outside. Knowing that I need to fit in these pleasures of bundling up now, and feel them down to my east coast roots, before that ubiquitous California sunshine will break through the cold and warm me up.

Even during this short period of cold there are breaks. In January, a warm weekend may tempt me out of my fleece running sweater, and I start to mourn the end of the cold, but with any luck it appears for a bit more in January or February. I know by then that the coldest days and nights are gone, and soon I will turn, just as glad, to reveling in the lush green hills.