Archive of ‘writing workshop’ category

Santa, Could I Have a Minute?

Dear Santa,

I know you’re a busy man. You’ve got millions of names to check off lists, billions of toys to wrap and a whole lot of reindeer to feed. But I was hoping you could take just a minute or two to read this letter.

It’s not for me. I don’t really need anything. Well, a baby translator would be nice (what do those screams mean???). As would a faster metabolism. And, since you asked, I really would like a kindle.

But that’s not why I’m writing.

I’m writing on behalf of some people I know who could really use some holiday cheer this year.

Like my grandma. I know she’s a nasty woman, Santa. I mean, yeah, she’s made my mom cry on every Mother’s Day since I can remember. Heck, even her compliments kinda feel like a slap across the face. But she’s all alone. She’s been alone since my grandfather died…almost 35 years ago.

You can see how that might make a person bitter, can’t you? She says that he was the only man for her. That she wouldn’t ever want another one of those hairy beasts cluttering up her life. But you know what? A little flirtation might do her good.

So, instead of presents, could you maybe bring her some flowers? Maybe take her for a twirl around the Christmas tree? Maybe even give her a little peck on the cheek? I’d give anything to see a real smile on her face (plus, it would make Christmas a whole lot more merry for the rest of us).

Also, all the working stiffs I know up in Detroit. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but about the only thing that could make the situation up there any worse is if a bomb went off (yes, I know portions of the city looks like several hundred already have. But that’s just neglect).

Anyway, could you sprinkle some magic reindeer poop around and fix the auto industry? Or maybe just wrap up several hundred thousand bundles of cash and stuff them in everyone’s stockings? If nothing else, could you at least make the winter slightly less nasty? They’re already depressed. They don’t need five months of sloshing through urine-stained slush under leaden skies to make it worse.

Lastly, my dog. Despite the fact that he gets organic dog food topped with specially cooked chicken breasts, sleeps on cushy couches and even has his own queen-sized bed (well, it’s the guest bed. but really, it’s his), that dog is depressed.

He’s been depressed his whole life. Sure, sometimes we get a tail wag, or a half-hearted smile, but I swear that dog needs some Prozac. So…could you bring him some? Or maybe a light box (we’ve often wondered if our dog has SADD). It’d be nice to see him really happy for once.

Also, my husband would like a new car. And a Blu Ray player. And whatever gee whiz super cool gadget is about to take the world by storm.

But like I said, I don’t really need anything. Except maybe eight uninterrupted hours of sleep. Make that twelve. Or at least, maybe a two hour nap, curled up on the couch on a sunny Sunday afternoon?

Do you think you could handle that? You’d have my ever-lasting gratitude.


P.S. I’ll make you those peanut butter cookies with the chocolate kisses in the middle. I know they’re your favorite.

This was written as part of Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop. The prompt I chose (obviously) was to write a letter to Santa. I’m sure there’s tons of brilliant entries for you to read over at Mama Kat’s, so head over there and check them out!

Writer's Workshop: Anything But That!

It’s time for Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop again. This week’s prompt? Describe the most creative punishment you ever ever experienced.

I was a good kid…most of the time. But I had my moments. I fought with my brother, talked back to my parents—all the usual stuff. On one particularly memorable occasion, my brother and I took hot wheels cars off someone’s porch.

That resulted in one hell of a spanking.

Yep, back in the day, it was still okay to spank. I also spent my fair share of time staring at the wall in the kitchen, stuck in the dreaded time out. I even got grounded a time or three (hundred).

Still, all those punishments were quickly recovered from. Sure, I cried when I got spanked. Pouted when I got put in the corner. Threw a hissy fit when I got grounded. But through it all, there was one thing I could count on to comfort me.

My books.

To say I was a bookworm would be an understatement. I always had a book in my hand. I ate with a book. Slept with a book. Even walked around with my nose firmly stuck in a book (not a real good idea when you’re as big of a klutz as I am).

So what did my parents do when they really wanted to punish me? They took away my books.

I was in fifth grade. I hated my teacher and was doing really poorly in school—culminating in my first  “D” on a report card. My parents were beyond frustrated with me.

So they forbade me to read until my grades improved. They confiscated my library card, packed up the books in my room and even denied me access to the boring old books in our bookcases.

It was torture.

I don’t remember exactly how long it lasted (I’d call my mom and ask, but she always seems vaguely embarrassed when it comes up). But I’m sure I was a pain in the ass for the entire length of the punishment.

I didn’t know what to do with myself. I had far too much spare time on my hands. Time that was usually spent in the alternate (sometimes preferred) universe that books opened up for me.

Did I mention it was torture?

But it worked. I did my homework. My attitude improved. And soon, so did my grades. When next I brought home a report card, there was nary a D in sight.

Thankfully, my books were returned. I welcomed them like long lost friends—there may even have been a few tears.

And you know what? I never got a bad grade again. From then on, my report cards were chock full of A’s and B’s. I wasn’t about to risk losing my best friends again.

So I guess it was the most effective punishment my parents ever came up with. Here’s hoping I can be half as creative when the situation arises (and I’m sure it will).

Now head on over to Mama Kat’s and see what the other entrants have to say!

Writer's Workshop: Erase that Memory.

It’s time for Mama Kat’s Writing Workshop again. This time, the prompt I chose was, “describe an experience you wish you could shake from your memory.” So get ready. This is heavy stuff. 

It was a cold winter’s night. The heater was working hard, trying to remove the chill from the air, but I still felt frozen. We were whipping along the expressway at 80 miles an hour, but in my mind, everything was moving too slowly, weighted down by the sadness, the madness in my head.

“I can’t,” I whispered.

He groped to grab my hand in the dark. “Yes. Yes, you can. I’m right here. I’ll be here.”

I shrank back, trying to disappear into my seat. “No, you don’t understand. I really can’t. I can’t face it.”

We were on our way to dinner. With both sets of parents. Dinner with the parents, when everyone knew I was slowly going mad. Had watched as I took a baseball bat to everything that was good in my life and set about destroying it.

“You have to, Amber. They’re waiting for us.”

“But I’m brooooooooooken,” I howled through the sobs that suddenly overwhelmed me. “I’m broken and I can’t DO this.”

“What? What can’t you do?”

This. Life. I just can’t, anymore. I can’t do it,” I said, then clutched my head hard enough to hurt and began to sob in earnest.

His hands turned white on the steering wheel, and I could tell he was struggling not to cry himself.

“Stop. Stop talking like that. We’ll get through this, together. We will. I promise.”

Again he reached out, and this time, I let him take my hand. Slowly, my sobs quieted, the agony once more retreating inside my head. When we got to the restaurant, I took a deep breath, stuffed the pain into its closet, and stepped out of the car.

We made it through dinner, his hand clutching mine under the table. Everyone ignored my red eyes. Pretended not to see when I bolted to the bathroom to cry. They forced their smiles and carried on with the celebration, determined to cling to a shell of normalcy.

As for me? I was dying inside. Sunk deep in a pit of depression so crushing that I could hardly breathe. I’d like to tell you that that was the worst of it. The end of it. But it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

Before it was over, I had destroyed friendships, sabotaged my career and dragged Brian to the darkest depths of Hell with me.

This is just one of many, many memories I wish I could erase. But I can’t. And that’s a good thing. Because they serve as a reminder—a warning. Now, when the symptoms start, I don’t ignore them. I slow down, reach out and ask for help.

I was lucky. I survived. Not everyone does. So if you think you might be depressed, don’t wait. Get the help you need. It could mean the difference between living…and not.

Ready for some lighter fare? Visit Mama Kat and see the other entries.

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