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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Writing Prompt: Tell Your Wild and Crazy Story

By Lorinda Toledo

You know who I mean. It’s that guy or girl who has everyone at the party hanging on their every word. Just the way he tells a story makes him seem so attractive, so magnetic, yet…relatable.

I’ve never been that person. When I get in front of a crowd, my hands start sweating, my heart pounds and I feel like I might hyperventilate. If I do finally get up the nerve to tell my anecdote, it falls flat. I’m the awkward one who wants to hold an audience in the palm of my hand like that. But. I. Just. Can't.

Still, I've got a few stories in me. I'm a writer. Telling stories is what I do. I'd like to be able to tell one in front of an audience too.

Our time has come. This October, Brian Finkelstein, award-winning storyteller and host of The Moth will be teaching a new round of his popular storytelling class at Writing Pad! You can dip your toes into the storytelling pool this Saturday, Oct. 19, at his 1-day Storytelling Bootcamp. If you really want to master your storytelling skills, sign up for his 5-week Storytime Plus starting Wed., Oct. 30. By the end of class, you’ll be ready to perform in a fun show at Writing Pad (don’t worry, there’ll be sangria to loosen you and the audience up)!

Classes Starting This Week
Afternoon Delight: A Short Story Workshop (1 Day)

Classes Starting Next Week

Creative Writing/Multi-Genre


Writing Prompt:
For this week's writing prompt, make a list of three crazy things that happened to you or a memorable trip. Think of a story you’d often tell at parties. Pick one. Add a sensory detail to it (smell, taste, sound, touch).

One of my favorite stories is about the time I went bungee jumping. I guess I thought I was pretty tough, hiking 10 miles round trip just to jump off a 120-ft. high bridge. I like a thrill, so I’m all excited. But when we get to the top, I climb over that concrete railing and look beneath me at the rocky ravine, I am afraid I'm going to pee my pants. There is nothing keeping me from certain death except this relatively thin cord clipped to my torso. Every instinct in my body is telling me that I'm in grave danger. When it comes time for me to let go and jump backwards, my mind starts racing. What if I do it wrong? What if I grip the cable and chop off a finger, or fling back my head and snap my neck? What if the cable breaks?!

The guy counts down – 3-2-1…bungee! And I’m supposed to let go. But I don’t! So the guy – he had a blond mustache and a deep blue gaze -- he tells me, “Look at my eyes. I’m gonna count down, and you’re gonna jump.” I nod. I might cry I’m so scared. But I look into the guy’s eyes, and I bend my knees:  3-2-1…BUNGEE!!

Surprising myself, I let go. And it was amazing. 

So, now it’s your turn to take the plunge. 

Write a story about something crazy that happened to you or a memorable trip, making sure to include a sensory detail, for 10 minutes.  It could be funny, poignant, sad -- anything you want. Then post your story in the comments below. You could win a free writing class!


Connor Sweeney said...

When I was a freshman in college, my choir took a trip to Prague to compete in an international choral festival against 21 other countries. We ended up winning the top honors in the festival, but that's not the most exciting part of my story. No, the craziest part of this trip happened not long after we had left U.S. soil. See, the thing about international flights (at least the one that my choir was traveling on) is that the drinking age of the country you are traveling to is the one that applies to your flight. To a bunch of 18 and 19-year-olds, we felt like we had just hit the jackpot, since the drinking age in the Czech Republic is something like 8 years old. Needless to say, my group immediately began consuming copious amounts of alcohol. Oh, wait, did I mention that the drinks were free? Cause the drinks were free.

Now, this was at a point in my life when I was still very much wary of alcohol and its effects on me, so I opted to watch the debauchery from the sidelines, and instead started ordering drinks for myself and passing them to my good buddy Jeff, who was seated next to me. This may be among the top 5 biggest mistakes of my life. I'd probably put it between 3 and 4 (less of a mistake than dating a manic depressive girl for 3 years, but definitely worse than that time I hit my neighbor's mailbox after driving too fast down an icy road, and subsequently ran from the scene of said crime).

Anyway, to cut a long story short (as my ten minutes are nearly up), between the drinks from me, my friend Nick who sat on the other side of me, and the ones he ordered himself, a ridiculous amount of alcohol was consumed by Jeff, all of it in about an hour's time. Poor Jeff immediately fell asleep, and we thought we'd be safe for the remainder of the flight. How wrong we were. Jeff showed signs of life around 45 minutes later, when he halfheartedly opened his eyes and leaned forward , grasping at his stuffed kangaroo, Bart. Now, Bartholomew was a gift from Jeff's girlfriend Caroline, and he loved that thing more than most other things in this world. Being the good friend that I am, I leaned forward and placed Bart in Jeff's hands. Jeff cradled him lovingly, and for a brief moment, it looked as though he would doze off again. That's when Jeff opened up Bart's little pouch, and vomited profusely into it. The next few minutes went by in a blur, but the things I remember most clearly are the sickening stench of Jeff's breakfast-wine-vodka-Bailey's cocktail mixed with the coffee grounds the flight attendants threw everywhere to try to quell the smell, the feeling of helplessness we all experienced, knowing we still had at least 6 hours left on a plane that had come to resemble an ancient Egyptian tomb, and the soul-scarring look of a very disappointed German woman as she shook her head at us in disgust.

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