Essay seeds for Essay II: Writing about events

1) Choose one item from you Facebook “25 random things” list and expand it into an essay.

2) Write about something that happened to you that didn’t seem funny at all at the time, for example, being stuck in a traffic jam and having a bee fly in your car window or the time your roommate set your stove on fire and the firemen wrenched it from the wall and tossed it into the backyard. Bring the incident under the humor spotlight and transform it so as to emphasize things that will make your reader smile or laugh. Remember: in humorous writing, pacing is important, as are crucial details, and your own confidence that the story doesn’t need analysis or authorial nudging. The last thing you want to do is tell the reader that you’re about to lay a funny story on him.

3) Write about an event when you made the wrong choice, an event/choice that is still “perplexing, vexing, … unresolved” to you (Gutkind 40). You are writing about a choice you regret, a choice you now see as wrong.

4) Think of a first in your life; something that happened before you were 17. For example:
First kiss
First communion
First betrayal
First big lie
First time you tried to cook a meal
First Gucci bag
First Big Mac
First day at your first job
First driving lesson
First day of high school/ middle school/ kindergarten

Write in first-person present tense—as if you were 8, 10, or 12 again. Try to capture the voice of who you were, choosing the words, rhythms, and attitudes you had at the time. Aim for the immediacy of the moment by using lots of sensory data—sights, sounds, smells, touches, tastes, objects, other voices.

Now write about the same experience as an adult looking back, using the past tense. Reflect on why you felt that way and why this memory still sticks with you today. What was at stake then, and do you still feel that way today?

Read both out loud and decide which voice you like best.

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