Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Something for You: Birthday


Today: free write and revise to elaborate with details and dialogue.

Prompt: Describe one incident at one of your birthday parties. Adapting prompt OK :)





Free write: Not My Party


I was eight or nine years old, and gladly accepted the invitation to a neighbor's birthday party. She lived in one of those mansion-like old hopes two blocks up from my home, a small cottage really, tucked in between two other houses. It was probably the first house on a farm, whose owners built a better house next door.

So entering the foyer with my present for --- hmm, can't remember her name. Of course there were games and cake and ice cream. And rice crispy bars. How I loved that sweet crunch, sticky bite by bite. The mother encouraged me, "Go ahead. Eat as many as you like. It's a party."

And I did. It seemed every time we moved from activity to activity -- singing, playing a game, lunch -- I would grab another rice crispy bar. There were oodles of them. Every kid loved them.

Finally it was time for opening presents. We each received our own little bag of goodies to open: super balls, puzzles, whistle, and salt water taffy. As I sat in the circle to watch __ unwrap her presents, I opened the taffy and plopped it in my mouth. But that was it. I turned green I'm sure, and stood up and ran to the bathroom. That was the end of the birthday party. And I have never eaten another rice crispy bar.

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First Think:

Re-reading the ideas, I see I need to remember my friend's name and add some details about the party. I didn't finish the thought in the second paragraph. I need more dialogue and also describe why I thought I turned green. So here's the first revision:


"Mom!" I called as I dropped my books on the end table after a day of school. "Mom!"

"Yes? I'm in the kitchen." Mom replied.

I ran into the kitchen waving a bright pink invitation. "I've been invited to Melanie's birthday party tomorrow. She really likes those new colored headbands. Can we get her a couple of those?"

Mom nodded yes as she read the invitation. "We can get those at Woolworths after dinner."

The next day I walked up the two blocks to Melanie's house carrying the headbands I'd wrapped in her favorite color, bright pink. Her house stood out from the others: it was a deep blue and three stories high with a castle-like tower on the side, just off the wrap around front porch.

My house was tiny, an old farm house over a hundred years old tucked in between larger homes on either side, set apart on each side by rows of lilac bushes.

I carefully stepped up each of the four front porch steps, and knocked on the door.

I could hear giggling inside as Melanie opened one side of the double oak door.

In the foyer, the marble floor sparkled and a table held the presents. I handed mine to Melanie. "You'll love it!" I told her.

She took at and smiled, "Thanks."

She led me to a room she called the parlor. It held two large blue sofas and several comfy chairs, all with end tables. All the girls sat in a circle playing "telephone." Melanie and I joined in the circle. Sandy said, "I heard 'Has the big dog eaten a key?"

Every at the beginning of the circle started laughing. Karen, who had started the game said, "No! I said 'Happy Birthday Melanie!'" Every girl giggled.

Melanie's mom explained the next game, and said, "Get a snack any time you want."

I looked at a long narrow table against one wall. It was filled with chocolate chip cookies, strawberries dipped in chocolate, bowls of M&Ms and peanuts, and on the end, above a lace doily, rice crispy bars. Two plates full of them. Golden and shiny. How I loved that sweet crunch of each sticky bite.

Melanie's mom encouraged us, "Go ahead. Eat as many as you like. It's a party."

And we did. And I did. It seemed every time we moved from activity to activity -- singing, playing a game, lunch -- I would grab another rice crispy bar. There were oodles of them. Every kid loved them.

Finally it was time for opening presents. We gathered in a circle in the foyer, which was a room larger than my bedroom. I grabbed probably my fifth rice crispy bar on the way in. Under a mirror, on a table by the stairs, were our own little bag of goodies to open. I plopped down next to Karen and Melanie's mom handed us our treat. I thanked her as I took my treat while popping the last bite of my rice crispy bar.

We both giggled as we settled into the circle. I opened the pink bag and and peaked in: super balls, puzzles, whistle, and salt water taffy. I pulled out and unwrapped a piece of pink taffy, plopping it into my mouth. I sunk my teeth into that super sweet and chewy candy.  It's sweetness melted in my mouth but the flavor was like pure sugar. I felt my stomach turn. I felt warmer and shivered. I turned green I'm sure. I slumped over and held my stomach. I stood up slowly, and continued to hold in the butterflies in my tummy.

Karen said, "Are you OK?"

Melanie's mom noticed and said, "Sheri, the bathroom is just up the stairs. I ran into the bathroom, and that was the end of the birthday party.

When I came down the stairs, my mom was waiting in the foyer with the giggling circle of girls.

"Thanks for calling me, Myrna," she said to Melanie's mom. She held out her hand to take mine and walked me home.

And I have never eaten another rice crispy bar. Ever.

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How did I do in my revision?

Did I add dialogue?

Did I invite you to walk to the party with me and see and do the things I did?

Did I show the details of the food?

Did I add how and why I 'turned green'?

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Writing Strategies:

Dialogue:  talking to mom, talking to Melanie, playing the game

Description:  of her fancy house - "it was a deep blue and three stories high with a castle-like tower on the side, just off the wrap around front porch."

Description: of the food - sights and taste - chocolate chip cookies, strawberries dipped in chocolate, bowls of M&Ms and peanuts, and on the end, above a lace doily, rice crispy bars. Two plates full of them. Golden and shiny. How I loved that sweet crunch of each sticky bite.

Details:  getting sick - ". I sunk my teeth into that super sweet and chewy candy.  It's sweetness melted in my mouth but the flavor was like pure sugar. I felt my stomach turn. I felt warmer and shivered. I turned green I'm sure. I slumped over and held my stomach. I stood up slowly, and continued to hold in the butterflies in my tummy."

Strong verbs: dropped, plopped, invited, wrapped, grabbed, gathered, giggled, opened, unwrapped, melted, slumped

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Tag!  You're it!

Prompt: Describe one incident at one of your birthday parties. Adapting prompt OK :)

Today: free write and revise to elaborate with details and dialogue.

Link to your slice of life in the comments below.





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by Anders Ruff Custom