A colleague emailed me that she was feeling creative and wanted some writing prompts. Here are the two I sent her:
- Write about the last time you were really mad. After 10 minutes, stop, breathe. Now continue the story but make it funny.
- Write about one memory from a kitchen in your childhood. Be sure to include the smells.
There is something warming about memories of food and there is something healing about making an infuriating incident comical.
Once when I did this first writing exercise, I wrote about how a fellow drama student blamed me for our acting scene having gone awry. To add a funny twist I conjectured that she had a crush on our teacher and was just trying to ingratiate herself in his good opinion by dissing me. I don’t know if my take on the incident was true, but writing that scenario made me feel better.
Writing naturally makes you feel better and boosts the immune system. Lots of studies show that journal writing every day can improve your health. I don’t know why this is true but I believe it has something to do with our human need to see things anew.
And the human body is just wired to love and respond well to stories, even the stories we tell ourselves, which is why we dream.
I have been thinking about performing and teaching because this morning I taught three one-hour classes at my son’s school. I taught, “Writing and Performing Comedy.” Almost all of my 60 or so students were 7th grade boys.
In their comic scenes, the boys often made choices that had to do with shooting one another and/or putting on funny accents. I tried to encourage them to see that humor has to do with being authentic and saying the thing that everyone thinks but no one says. Comedy is about getting to some truth. Sometimes saying the truthful thing with a funny accent works, but not usually.
I love teaching but after the morning session, I was exhausted. I don’t know how teachers do it day in and day out.