Random Prompt | 6th Grade

“Write about yourself in the 6th grade.”

I’ve written about this in the past, but wanted to share it again with anyone who never read those posts. The 6th grade was actually a monumental turning point in my life. Four years prior (I think?), the first Harry Potter novel had come out in the US. I was only 8 at the time, and did not really know much about it. It wasn’t until I was in the 5th grade that I heard much about the book, and it wasn’t until the 6th grade that I was able to read it. And it changed my life.

My 6th grade homeroom teacher’s name was Mr. Eder. He was also my English teacher. Mr. Eder was already very familiar (and slightly obsessed) with the world of Harry Potter, and decided to plan our entire school year around it. First, my class was divided up into the four houses: Gryffindor, Slytherin, Ravenclaw, and Hufflepuff. I was put into Slytherin, which I later learned was actually quite perfect, and I have related with being a Slytherin for the rest of my life. No joke.

Next, each group voted on who would be the Head of the house. Guess who won for Slytherin? Meee! It didn’t really mean anything though, but it was still fun. We read the book aloud in class, but I finished it on my own time within a week. I had never known that I was a fast reader before that point in my life. Each week, we had a test on what we had read thus far, and the points from each house’s tests were averaged, and the houses that scored the highest would get points. We also had fun tournaments and games, including a Quidditch game at the end of the year. I don’t mean to brag, but Slytherin won the Quidditch game, as well as most of the other challenges (my friend Travis and I carried our entire house basically). We won the House Cup at the end of the year, and got to choose a theme for a party for the class… we chose Harry Potter theme. Obviously.

Being a part of this experience not only opened my eyes to the world of Harry Potter, but also the world of books, and imagination. I started spending a lot more time at the library, and convinced my mom to buy me books whenever we went out. I read so much, that I won an award at my senior assembly for graduation as well! It also helped me with my writing, which is something that I also got really into in middle school.

I still wish I had tons of money to throw at books, but, ya know… adulthood stuff happened. Stupid bills.

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Random Prompt | Dear 16-Year Old Self

“Write a letter to your 16-year-old self.”

Hello, shy girl.
How are you feeling today? I know you’ve had some rough days recently. I know you feel like everything that is happening is your fault, and you’ve been feeling miserable. I know you’ve been hiding in the bathroom at school, crying. I know you haven’t been eating. I know you’ve been hurting yourself. I promise you, Jan, none of this is your fault. There was nothing you could do. He was already broken, and you tried so hard to fix him. You can’t blame yourself. I know other people will, but please don’t listen to them. They will come around.
Everything will be okay. You will see. Keep your head up, and try to survive this. I know you will. People are worried about you, even if they don’t tell you. People care so much more than you know. I don’t tell you this enough, but I love you. You matter, and you are important. Please stay alive long enough to realize that for yourself.

With love,
25-year old Jan

Random Prompt | Starved Rock

“Describe your favorite place using all five senses.”

In Starved Rock State Park
Trails wind to the top of bluffs
Or into canyons.

Coarse, wooden railings
Line the rugged hiking trails
Causing splintered palms.

The wind blows through trees
Creating songs in the leaves
Calling you outdoors.

The waterfall mist
Mixes with the taste of air
So crisp on my tongue.

Water, earth, and green
Combine into aromas
Revitalizing.

Random Prompt | TV Show Rescue

“You’ve been kidnapped. You can call on the characters from any TV show to be your rescuers. What show do you choose?”

It depends. Who kidnapped me? If it just some random, untrained stooge, then I’d probably call on my good friends from That ’70s Show, which I have been re-watching for the 3rd or 4th time on Netflix. While none of them are particularly strong, each character would bring a unique trait to the table, which may (but probably won’t) help in my rescue. I can see it now…

“Let her go. Let her go, or we’re gonna do what Luke Skywalker was too afraid to do: use the dark side to our advantage.” ~Eric

“You ass. I bet your dad’s an ass, and you’re an ass, because the ass doesn’t fall too far from the asstree!” ~Donna

“Sounds like someone needs a tickle…” ~Kelso

“Listen to me. This situation has reached critical mass. I’ll give you ten minutes, and if you don’t let her go, you’re gonna to become the first person to touch his chin to his ass.” ~Hyde

“Let her go, you son-of-a-bitch!” ~Fez

[Repeatedly kicks bad guy in the shins.] ~Jackie

“I don’t know your name, but I can name five toes that are gonna be in your ass!” ~Red

“What kind of kidnapper kidnaps people on a weeknight? Don’t you have a job to go to in the morning?” ~Kitty

Yep. That sounds good. We won’t count characters like Sam and Randy… because the last season was just awful, and I wish they had never been introduced. Think about it, can you imagine Red just shouting angrily at my captor? Or Fez saying something overtly sexual and creepy? That would just be fantastic! I’m sure I would come out of the situation alive! Maybe…

But, if we’re talking a trained assassin, or a superhuman bad guy, or someone even slightly threatening, then definitely not that band of merry weirdos. In that case, I’d rather have my rescue be an epic crossover between the casts of Arrow and The Flash. The gorgeous Felicity Smoak tracks me down using my phone number, and all those sexy superheroes in their costumes…

No. You know what? I’ve changed my mind. Just send Oliver Queen to rescue me. I just want Oliver. Please.

Who would you pick to come rescue you?

Thanks for reading, friends!

Jan

Random Prompt | The Dumbest Lie I’ve Ever Told

“What is the dumbest lie that you have ever told? Why did you feel the need to lie?”

When I was in the 5th grade, I developed a crush on a guy in my class named John. John and his younger brother, Brian, were both popular, good looking guys, but weren’t all that nice, and didn’t really like me at all. In the 6th grade, I learned that John and his brother both played hockey, and had been playing since they were little. In an attempt to impress him, and get him to like me, I told all my friends to start spreading around a rumor that I played on a street hockey team. They agreed, and started casually slipping it into conversations.

The problem? We hadn’t agreed on any of the details. At all. Someone said I was a goalie, someone else said I was a cheerleader for a street hockey team, someone else said I played professionally… it was a complete mess. Word eventually got to John and his friends, who immediately knew it was complete crap. He didn’t find my desperation cute, or funny, and proceeded to tease and humiliate me, asking me hockey-related questions while we were in the cafeteria, or out at recess, that he knew I would never know. It was awful.

Despite the humiliation, in the coming weeks, for some idiotic reason, I kept going with the lie, making up excuse after excuse for my lack of knowledge. I even blew off a school dance and told people I had a big street hockey championship game. Eventually, I gave up. No one was impressed by my stories, or even believing a single word I said. To save face, I told everyone that I had actually quit the team, but maintained that it had been real the whole time. I later joined the field hockey team, and ended up being a freaking rock star on the field, but it didn’t make up for my ridiculous lie.

So what’s the moral of the story? Never make something up to try and impress, or get attention, from people. If people don’t like you for who you are, and how you live your life, then they aren’t worth your time and energy. Be who you are, not who you think other people want you to be. Lies always come back to bite you in the ass.

Always.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan

Random Prompt | Onion Garlic Chewing Gum

“Write a thank you note to a friend who gave you onion and garlic-flavored chewing gum.”

My dearest Becky,
Thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for the savory treat of mastication that you have bestowed upon me. Never in my twenty-five years on this planet did I think that I would enjoy the process of befouling my breath with the taste of onion and garlic, without filling my stomach with unnecessary calories and gorging. No longer will I be subjected to the struggle of finding manners in which to politely conclude conversations brought on by unpalatable individuals, as my fetid breathe should suffice as a deterrent for both unwanted conversation, as well as potential suitors! Your pungent gift will serve a great purpose, and I thank you for your thoughtfulness.

Yours truly, with little sarcasm,
Jan

Random Prompt | Traumatic Childhood Memory

“Write about a traumatic childhood memory.”

Tanika looked over at me from the other end of her pool, her sunglasses sat low on the bridge of her nose, “Do you want to play hide-and-seek?”

“What?” I asked her, “Aren’t we a little old for that?”

She laughed, “I’m getting Chase, he’ll want to play, too.”

Unfortunately, I don’t remember her brother’s actual name, so we’ll call him Chase.

We climbed out of the pool and toweled off. I had spent nearly every day at Tanika’s house that summer, just lounging in the pool, or playing Sonic on her SEGA, just trying to have as much fun as we could before returning to school. Tanika was my best friend, and our families had known each other for years. She was going to be in 5th grade in the upcoming school year, I was going to be in 7th. Her older brother, Chase, was visiting for the weekend, but he hardly wanted to play with a couple of kids, and spent most of his time in his room, ignoring us entirely.

This time, he agreed to humor us in our game of hide-and-seek, and it probably saved my life.

Tanika was “it” for the first and only round that we played. Chase and I separated, running in opposite directions into the woods behind their house. He headed down the path we took to play by the creek, and I wandered into the heavily wooded areas that we didn’t normally explore.

I could hear Tanika call out that she was coming to find us, and pushed further into the unexplored part of the woods. Suddenly, I lost of footing, and fell forward into something wet and mushy. I immediately panicked, realizing that I was starting to sink into the ground. I didn’t know what was happening, but the ground seemed to be swallowing me up. I grabbed onto a nearby tree and started screaming. The ground was heavy and cold around me. I still don’t know if it was some kind of sinkhole, or a very muddy pocket of water, but I was so scared.

By the time I saw Chase was running towards me, I was up to my rib cage in thick, muddy water. With one arm around the tree that I was holding, he pulled me out with little difficulty, and carried me back to the house, where Tanika was waiting. We agreed not to tell their mom, because we were afraid that she would be upset. The three of us snuck back inside, and Takina and I  went to her room, where I changed into a pair of her orange sweatpants, a matching orange sweatshirt, and a pair of black clogs, all of which were a size or two too small. Chase threw my clothes in the wash for me, and we retreated into the living room.

We didn’t really talk about what happened after that, and I spent less and less time at Tanika’s house that summer. After we returned to school, we grew more distant, until we were practically strangers. I never knew why that happened. We haven’t spoken since.

Thanks for reading, friends.

Jan