Chapter 68 – Silly Writing And Why You Should Do It

I was just reminded of how much fun it is to be silly with writing without worrying about creating the best story ever. Everyone should be silly every once in a while, right?

Yes, a brown paper bag is related to this post. Picture by Jeffrey Beall.

I ran into the Wacky Writing Prompt Scavenger Hunt over at the Write Practice and even at first glance it seemed like something funny to do. In a nutshell, the hunt arranger Pamela Hodges has listed 10 more or less random elements that have to be in your story, for example using whatever you store under your bed as the conflict of the story.

I wasn’t going to do it at first. But then I couldn’t stop thinking about how the mere idea of it made me smile and I couldn’t resist. So I started from number 1 and worked my way down, crafting the story along with it.

Did the end result reflect my highest quality of work? Probably not. Would it be printed and praised at a magazine? Doubt it. Did I have fun with it? Yes and yes again.

I have to admit I’m not that great at doing writing exercises (even though I like looking them up) but this one opened my eyes to how useful they can be. Not because I learned something amazingly new, but because it allowed me to approach a story from a whole other angle. I really have to start doing more exercises.

So while you’re working on your novels and poems and submissions for all those magazines, why not give a moment to silliness? It’s good for taking a break from your actual project but since it’s still writing, you’re actually practicing all the time!

My story can be found in the comments on the page I linked above but I’ll also post it here, just for fun. If you end up writing your own story, let me know! I’d like to read them.

“There is no place amidst honest men for such as they.” That’s what my mother always said about the thieves crowding the markets. I usually agreed but then slipped away quickly, before she got whiff of my past-time activities. Boy, what would she say then.

I ran along the streets of Budapest, my brown-striped white hair occasionally drawing a glance from passers-by. I could still taste my breakfast macaroni casserole in my mouth but this grocery trip wasn’t about hunger. I needed that bacon. And carrots. Nothing beats bacon and carrots. Too bad their price had inflated like crazy, making them a real luxury meal.

I was too distracted with my thoughts about the delicious food combo that I never saw the man coming. He bumped right into me and spilled his most expensive yet fortunately iced coffee all over me. I jumped back with a squeal. My red t-shirt at least soaked up most of the liquid, barely making it stand out, but my beige trousers… Yeah, I definitely looked like I’d wet my pants. There goes the market gig. Who wouldn’t remember a girl with wet pants, smelling like caramel and vanilla, leaving brown fingerprints everywhere?

“Awesome,” I breathed at the man still gawking at me.

“I’m so sorry,” he said. “Can I make it up to you?”

I shrugged. “Bacon and carrots. I was on my way to the market but I can’t go in like this. Buy those for me?”

“Bacon and carrots?!” he repeated with a sputter. “Wow. I mean. Expensive stuff.” He glanced down at me, barely concealing a wrinkle of his brow. I doubt he believed I was on my way to buy them. I didn’t look rich enough. But if I wanted those delicious treats before my mother returned home and ate them all herself (while trying to pry where I’d gotten them in the first place), he was my only hope.

Then it hit me. I’d seen him before. “What’s your name?”

“Henrik. I’m sorry for the mess but really, I can’t afford-”

“Sure you can!” I interrupted and reached for the wallet in my pocket. It had no money what-so-ever but I wasn’t looking for change. A mischievous smile crept on my face as I pulled out a flat keychain. “Remember this? I do, and a couple of funny stories to go with it.”

He went pale. He recognized me too. I’d kept his “token of love” for all these years out of nothing but silly sentiment, but it finally paid off. During those love-stricken times, he hadn’t been the most law-abiding of them all. Oh no, I knew his secrets.

“Bacon and carrots?” he repeated once more, much more nervous this time. “Of course… I’ll be right back. And… that thing with the watermelons and shoes, and, well, that brown paper bag…”

“All forgotten once I get my treats,” I promised. He hurried away while I kept smiling to myself. Successful market gig – check!


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