Thursday, May 25, 2006

Creative Writing Prompt #3

Writers are not the most practical of people. I often find myself reading essays or listening to discussions about being "productive," or doing something because it is "useful" or promotes "progress;" these words, as usually defined, are a bit alien to my daily lexicon. For instance, most writers I know would consider a "productive" day one spent staring at a blank wall in contemplative revelry. "Usefulness" can be interpreted in equally confounding ways: my grandma uses the elastic waistbands from 30-year-old BVDs to hold boxes closed. While he was a student, my partner worked each morning helping a retired farmer complete great feats of usefulness: he would spend hours on end making twine balls with miscellaneous pieces of twine. Re-using and recycling is honorable; however, considering the farmer was paying him, the ball of twine probably cost 10 times what it did at the local hardware store by the time he finished tying it.

Study an implicit code that you or someone you know lives by. Notice the differences in the way an abstraction like "progress" or "good" or "beautiful" can be defined. This topic has the potential for humor, as well as a new glimpse at the broad variations of our human understanding of value.


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