by Jackie Houchin
Often, before diving into a scrumptious feast, the host of a Thanksgiving celebration will ask her guests to pause and answer this question.
“What is one thing you are thankful for?”
Dutifully each guest around the table mentions some thing or person they especially appreciate. Perhaps a prayer is given to further delay devouring the meal. But finally the repast begins in earnest with guests consuming on average a hearty 3,000 calories each. (That’s just at the table! Another 1,500 will be eaten while snacking later on.)
I could ask that question here too, but I’d like to do something different. We are writers after all, and presumably you readers scribble a few things down now and then as well.
So instead of that question….
I’d like to challenge you to take one (or more) of the facts or prompts below and think up a brief scenario, or outline, of a fiction story you could develop from them. Write an “elevator pitch” in the comments below. Who knows, you may be able to use it later in a novel, or short story, or as an anecdote in your memoir.
Give it a try, but don’t spend too much time on them. After all there’s a turkey to thaw, bake, eat, or re-purpose into soups or sandwiches. (Along the way, I might offer a mini-suggestion to get your juices running.)
- Now a Thanksgiving dinner staple, cranberries were actually used by Native Americans to treat arrow wounds and to dye clothes. (A prison escapee gets a leg wound and…..?)
- “Everyone says you can’t go home again. Well this Thanksgiving, I tried and this is what happened….”
- Baby turkeys are called poults. Only male turkeys gobble and, therefore are called gobblers. (What is that awful sound Uncle Herbert always makes….?)
- “I never realized how grateful I was to have a home until…..”
- Black Friday is the busiest day for Roto-Rooter, a major plumbing service. They are called in to clean up “overwhelmed” sewer systems. (At one house, the plugged up sewer system yields…..)
- The song “Jingle Bells” was originally written as a Thanksgiving song. (The song writer’s reaction when the publishing of his song is delayed till December….?)
- Parents frustrated by a teenager’s lack of gratitude, determine that THIS Thanksgiving, she will be taught a lesson….
- The Friday after Thanksgiving is called “Black Friday” because stores hope the shopping day will take them out of the “red” and into positive profits. (Show an alternate reason for why it is called Black Friday.)
- Sarah Josepha Hale (1788-1879), who tirelessly worked to establish Thanksgiving as a national holiday, was also the first person to advocate women as teachers in publish schools, the first to advocate day nurseries to assist working mothers, and the first to propose public playgrounds. She is the author of two dozen books and hundreds of poems, including “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” (Choose one aspect of her life and turn it into a Historical-Fiction piece.)
- Approximately 50 million people watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on television. (But that year, ONE of them saw….?)
Aw, go on! Try at least one!
And Happy Thanksgiving! Each day in November I am posting on my Facebook page things that I am thankful for. Come on over and take a look, and add yours. http://facebook.com/jackie.houchin
Recently I have been writing short stories for children about missionary life in Malawi, Africa, based on my 3 excursions to the dark continent over the past few years. Stop by and read a few if you are interested. http://www.jackiehouchin.wordpress.com .