I have a fabulous friend. He is in 5th grade now, but last year his teacher gave him lots of writing prompts. Sometimes I would help him with his prompts (between massive Lego battles, of course). This summer he decided to write his own prompts and give them to me to do. Yikes! Didn’t see that coming. I indulged him and I must say his prompts were quite challenging and a lot different than anything his teacher could have concocted. If you are looking for a prompt to hone your writing skills…ask a 4th grader, or try the one below. (Oh, and just so you know his grading scale, the more paragraphs the higher the letter grade.) Have fun!
His Prompt: What would you do if you woke up and Jar Jar Binks was sitting on the end of your bed? Write at least two paragraphs.
My Response: I often dream about meeting famous people—or even fictional characters—and fantasize what I would do or say to them if I had the rare opportunity to meet them face to face. For example, what if I could meet the Dalai Lama? I could ask him why he changed his name from Lhamo Thondup to Tenzin Gyatso. That would be interesting. Or what if I could meet someone fantastical, like Harry Potter, and ask him if I could give his wand a whirl. Expelliarmus! But what if I woke up one morning and instead of meeting someone I’ve longed to query, I was greeted by someone I hoped I’d never see in my lifetime. Meesa thinks that would be bad. That’s right. What if it Jar Jar Binks? I believe my first reaction would not be a pleasant one, but after I calmed down, I might learn something from that awkward Gungan.
Just the sight of Jar Jar would send most people running in the opposite direction. But imagine if you woke up, bleary-eyed, and tired, and he was the first “thing” you saw. I seriously doubt there would be an exchange of pleasantries or a “would you like a cup of tea and a scone” type of conversation. It would be more like a scream of terror. Out of pure shock and disbelief, I believe I would immediately grab my pillow and start whacking the poor creature as hard as I could. But knowing Jar Jar, he would probably cover his face and say something like, “How wude! Meesa gettin’ very very scared!” I would then start dialing 911 on my cell phone while yelling at him to please remove himself from my sleeping quarters. After I had calmed down and Jar Jar was behaving himself in my living room, I would get dressed and come out of my bedroom for a proper greeting. It is only then that I would attempt to make something good come of this chance encounter.
Even if he isn’t the fictional character or famous person I had hoped to meet, still, it would be unwise of me to not take this opportunity to learn something. I’d start by asking him something simple. First, I’d ask Jar Jar about his strange eyeballs. I’d say, “What is it like to have eyes on stalks on the top of your head? Can you twist them around and see behind and in front of you at the same time?” Next I might ask him something personal such as, “How did it feel to be banished from your home just because you were clumsy?” My guess is that it felt pretty awful. We all want to be loved, after all, even if we aren’t perfect. I’d love to hear his side of the story. That conversation may soften my heart a bit for that crazy character. So, after all was said and done, what would I do if I woke up one morning and met Jar Jar Binks? I guess I’d just love him despite his weirdness and hope he loves me despite mine—just like we should all do for everyone in the universe.