Light a Fire with Writing Prompts
Several of the stories in my book, “We Drank Wine,” began their lives as writing prompts. Some sprung from writing courses, other prompts were found online. All of them were unexpectedly fun. A prompt is a great spark, and if your let the words lead the way you will be surprised what results.
One of the most interesting things about prompts is how distinctly different each writer responds. One of my favourite activities is to do a prompt with a small group and then have everyone share afterwards. This diversity of response made be wonder, “What if I wrote from the prompt more than once. Could I create distinct scenarios from the same seed? The results are what I am sharing here.
This prompt came from “The Writing Prompt Boot Camp” by Brian A. Kelms and Zachary Petit. This package include a daily prompt for 14 days, and two bonus prompts. Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf, which is sponsored by Writer’s Digest.
The prompt I want to share with you today is called “My Resignation”. It’s from Day 12, and I’ll admit that I skipped over some of the offerings. I’m a Cherry Picker, but I think doing multiple versions of this one makes up for that. These are really first drafts, so don’t judge too harshly.
After years of unhappiness, you’ve finally had enough and have decided to quit—but we’re not talking about your job. Write a letter of resignation to someone other than your employer—your school, your family, your favorite sports team, etc.
My Friendship Resignation – 586 words
I am writing this letter because it will be easier for both of us. Writing lets me choose my words carefully, so my intent is not misunderstood. It will also gives you time to digest the content, do try not to overreact.
First, let me say that this does not have to be a negative thing. I know everybody resists change, but sometimes change leads to better opportunities. That’s how I want you to see this situation. You are not losing a relationship, you’re gaining the chance for new adventures.
Sixteen years is a long time to maintain a relationship. Hell, we both know couples whose marriage did not last that long. So, the fact that we’ve been friends since grade ten is really above average, as far as relationships go. In high school, I thought you were the ‘sister’ that I’d always dreamt of. Having your decisive personality guide me, was a gift to my insecure teenaged self. I remember many days when I was unable to select an outfit without calling you first. It didn’t take me long to learn that an advanced consultation was far better than dealing with your public disapproval.
Helping with your studies was excellent training for me. Learning how to reword my essays, to create a version for you to submit, went a long way to making me the writer I am today. Your demanding timelines and high standards for the finished product gave me the skills to succeed in journalism, and for that I thank you.
You shaped my life in so many ways. Because you insisted that we attend the same community college, I did not accumulate a huge debt by acting on my acceptance to Queens University. We certainly know many classmates who are still suffocated by educational loans. I also would not have met Jerry, and so, for those things I will be forever grateful.
Speaking of Jerry, your initial disapproval proved to be very helpful. You found him inadequate, as you had all my previous beaus, and that made me consider his proposal very carefully before accepting. As you know, our relationship has blossomed, and that can be partially attributed to you. Knowing you, made we aware that other people’s wishes and feelings must be considered first. Jerry has often told me how much he admires my selfless nature.
Although you remain single, you also made a significant contribution to my parenting style. When Annie was born, your recurrent advice solidified my confidence in my own decision-making ability. Annie is only three and I can also see the impact you’ve had on her. The concept of ‘stranger danger’ is embedded in her awareness. Jerry and I need not fear that she will allow herself to be taken by a sweet-talking ‘auntie’.
I hold the time I have spent with you, and the lessons I have learned at your side, as very precious. However, at this point in our lives I don’t think that I have anything more to gain from our relationship, and so, I quit. I am setting you free to share your wisdom and insights with someone new. You have the strength of character to find a new underling, and I wish you success in all your future endeavours.
Please delete me from all your social media and remove my cell number from your contacts list. I will take same action at my end, and will also block your number in case you contact me out of habit.
My Parental Resignation – 467 words
I have not forgotten that I made a lifetime commitment to you. I knew that from the beginning, and I’ve done my very best to fulfill my obligation. I have spent many hours reflecting on our situation and my ability to proceed. Please be assured that this letter as written following deep consideration of the consequences.
I guess I should have seen this coming. Everyone told me that colicky babies are an omen of things to come. Back then, I was so terribly insecure. I had no experience and did not trust my own judgment. It seemed that everyone in my life had contradictory suggestions, which simply made matters worse. The total mileage that I put on my old van would have taken me across this country and back, had I not been driving in circles trying to lull the back seat screaming to sleep.
I thought I was well braced for the terrible twos. I’d seen tantrums performed by my friends’ offspring, but my experience surpassed anything I had witnessed. There was not a single trip to the grocery store that did not include demanding bellows, thrown merchandise and writhing on the floor. Do you recall that I began using a delivery service? The stress reduction was worth the additional cost.
Again, I was not totally naive. I was fully aware that there would be challenges associated with puberty. I thought I was pretty tough by then. My commitment to love you carried me through the rampant dishonesty. It took me a while to realize the missing items and cash shortages were not the result of my forgetfulness. It became crystal clear that your passion for getting high was the top priority in your life. It made me sad; I tried to help.
When your father left us, I thought the tension in the house might depart with him. The two of you had been butting heads for years. It seemed that you were on a path to parricide, it felt like we’d be cast in a Greek tragedy. I couldn’t blame him for escaping. But I stayed the course, and perhaps that was a mistake.
As I said, I began this journey with the best of intentions. I meant to see it through. I had dreams of a Norman Rockwell family life, with three generations of loved ones gathered around the Thanksgiving table. Reality slapped me in the face and it’s time for me to acknowledge my failure.
When you’re released, don’t try to ‘come home.’ I won’t be there. I have moved to another location, I have changed my phone number, and set-up a new email account. Please let me go. There is nothing more I can contribute to your evolution. I quit the job of being your parent.
My Client Resignation – 376 words
I want to express my gratitude for the kindness and care you’ve given me over the years. My girlfriends laugh when I tell them the longest relationship I’ve ever had with a man, who’s not a relative, has been the fifteen years I’ve known you. You came into my life when I needed you most, my self-esteem was nonexistent and I was not prepared to make my way in the world. Your patience and encouragement launched me into adulthood.
It’s been my pleasure to recommend your services over the years. I’ve told friends, neighbours and colleagues tales of your skill and encouraged them to seek you out so they could experience the transformation that I achieved with your support. You’ve often joked that you should pay me commission. I wonder what that would have added up to. Ha, ha.
It’s a funny thing, by sending you more clients I actually made it tougher for me to get a monthly appointment. As the old saying goes, “No good deed goes unpunished,” eh. No, really, I am happy for your success.
The matter that does cause me some concern, however, is the stagnation of our relationship. Whereas I once felt that you paid me complete attention and focused all your creativity on meeting my needs, I now get the sense that you barely have time for me. I know, you’ve explained your demanding schedule, but it is not just the available minutes that I am talking about.
I was sorting through some old photos this week, and I found one from that first year, right after we met. I looked so fresh, and happy. My eyes held a sparkle and my hair shone in a perfect pageboy curve. I looked youthful and peppy. But now, that pageboy style looks out of place framing my middle-aged face. Not a single hair has been altered since our first appointment. I am stuck firmly in a rut of your making.
And so, it is with some sadness Tristan, that I am leaving to find another stylist. I wish you continued success with your salon, but I need to find someone who can, once again give me a fresh look that will rekindle my lust for life.