An I had but one penny in the world,
thou shouldst have it to buy gingerbread.
~ William Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost
Friday Fictioneer Challenge: Write a 100-word story based on the photo.
I heard them talking.
Daddy said, She wants a pogo stick.
Mama said, She has enough presents.
Santa brought a pogo stick.
Daddy smiled. Sturdy.
We went outside.
Mama frowned. Don’t fall.
She’s fine. Daddy lifted me on.
I bounced. The pogo stick didn’t.
Daddy frowned. Spring’s tight. You’re not heavy enough.
Daddy tried. He bounced down the sidewalk.
Mr. Smith came over. Can I try?
Daddy jumped off. Sure.
Mr. Smith bounced down the driveway. This is fun.
Let me try again, Daddy.
Daddy bounced up the driveway.
Mama brought me my doll.
She’s right. I have enough presents.
” The following photo is the PHOTO PROMPT. What does it say to you? I dare you to look beyond the subject. I double dare you!”
I looked far beyond the subject: The rings of metal at the base of the metal skeleton reminded me of a spring, which reminded me of a pogo stick, which prompted my 100-word story. Maybe I’ll look more closely at the reptile and try again. There’s a lot of potential in that lizard.
To read more stories by Friday Fictioneers, click the frog, below.
It includes a soil pellet, a packet of seed, and a cow.
The seed is Italian, but it is distributed from Holland.
The cow is a new breed: Chinese Holstein.
I don’t know where the soil came from.
You mix the soil pellet with 3 Tbsp of water, put 2/3 of the soil into the cow’s head, carefully pour in the seeds, and cover with the remaining soil. Then water and place in a sunny spot. Lightly water every day.
In seven days, grass will appear.
That’s when the fun begins. When the hair (the grass is now hair) grows to 1-1/2 inches, you can trim it, style it, or put bows in it. It will grow back after trimming.
I suppose it’ll keep growing as long as it’s watered and sunned properly. Or until the cats knock demolish it.
As I told the guys, the gift is just darling.
Tomorrow I’ll construct a place that is both sunny and cat-proof. I expect the process to take all day.
When I was teaching English, I arranged for students to have pen pals. I don’t remember the details–whether I required them to participate in the project or promised those who did extra credit. I might have simply offered to send names to an agency to be matched with potential correspondents.
I do remember why I did it. I wanted to show them that writing could be fun. I wanted them to see it as more than essays and research papers, to understand that it could build bridges and form bonds and open new worlds.
I also wanted them to write freely, without fear of judgment, so after getting them started, I withdrew from the project.
Last week I received an e-mail from K.M., one of those students. She told me she and her pen pal have been corresponding for twenty-eight years. He’s coming from Australia this month to meet her.
She said she’s thrilled and ended with, “Thank you!”
I’m thrilled, too. Consider: how many letters, how many words they’ve written; how much they’ve learned; how much they’ve shared; how much has changed since they stamped and mailed those first envelopes. They’ve gone from pen and paper to e-mail. They’ve moved from adolescence to adulthood. Twenty-eight years. My mind boggles just thinking about it.
But I don’t deserve thanks. I spent probably less than an hour on the project. I got things going.
K.M. and her pen pal did the rest. They took an exercise and made it real. The bridge, the bond, the new world–everything I wanted for them, they did.
So thank you, K.M., for writing, and for telling me the rest of the story.
That’s one of the finest gifts I’ve ever received.