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Writing Prompts

Memoir Writers: Just for the Fun of It

by Matilda Butler on July 28, 2015

Writing Prompt LogoPost #218 – Women’s Memoirs, Writing Prompt – Matilda Butler


Life Can Be Somber; But Not Today

Yes, life can sometimes be a somber business. There is much to be done. Too much, it seems at times. There are family complications. Illness or pain can present itself at a most inopportune time. Life savings can dwindle too quickly. A secure job can be swept aside with the downsizing of a company. Adult children can need assistance. And the “downer” list can go on and on.

Humor and writingSo if you are feeling a bit down today, I thought I’d share a few of my favorite jokes with you. And if you’re feeling up today, then I hope these jokes will help keep you there.

“Jokes? Memoir writing?” I know. I know. There doesn’t seem to be a link and you are mostly right. Each week, I look for topics that will help you with your writing. I love doing that. But sometimes we all need a little change-up.

Besides, jokes tell us about a person…and a time. They are generational and depend on shared knowledge. It is with some embarrassment that I confess I often don’t get New Yorker cartoons. I think they refer to events or situations I know nothing about. However, I did enjoy the one showing a dog standing on his back two legs and carrying a briefcase. He’s at the just opened front door and says, “I did my business. Now may I come inside?” And once a friend gave me a cartoon that I kept on my desk for years. It got lost in my move to Oregon, but I can still see it in my mind’s eye: Four cavemen hunters are walking in a line carrying a huge carrot above their heads. The caption said: Early vegans returning from the hunt.”

humor and memoir writing promptAnd we know that jokes have been around for a long time. Although there were probably earlier jokes, the Greek book Philogelos (Laughter Lover) dates from around 248 CE. More recently, we have The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler. Published in 1964, Koestler’s book is his study of human creativity by examining humor, science and art. So putting a little levity in our life just may spark even more creativity from us as we write. It can’t hurt.

Here are four jokes that make me laugh. It will tell you about my weird sense of humor.

Twenty years ago we had Johnny Cash, Bob Hope and Steve Jobs. Now we have no Cash, no Hope and no Jobs. Please don’t let Kevin Bacon die!

I think that one’s funny even though I’m a vegan and gave up bacon a long time ago.

As I watched the dog chasing his tail, I thought “Dogs are easily amused.” Then I realized I was watching the dog chase his tail.

That one is funny because one of my son’s has a dog who chases its tail. I too have been amused.

An engineer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, “If you kiss me, I’ll turn into a beautiful princess.” He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog then cried out, “If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want.” Again the engineer took the frog out, smiled at it and put it back into his pocket.

Finally, the frog asked, “What’s the deal? I’ve told you that I’m a beautiful princess and that I’ll stay with you for one week and do anything you want. Why won’t you kiss me?”

The engineer said, “Look, I’m an engineer. I don’t have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog, now that’s cool.”

And my current favorite joke:

A wife asks her husband, a software engineer: “Could you please go shopping for me and buy one carton of milk, and if they have eggs, get six.”

A short time later the husband come back with six cartons of milk.

The wife asks him, “Why did you buy six cartons of milk?”

He replied, “They had eggs.”

Memoir Writing Prompt:

1. If you like just enjoy the jokes. If you want to make use of the good mood generated by a bit of humor, make a list of jokes that you like. As a child, I loved to tell Knock, Knock jokes. At different times in our lives, we like a changing category of jokes. Did you have favorite ones you told as a child? Do you have jokes you like now? Write down a few.

2. True jokes are one thing. But every family has funny situations that get told and retold at family gatherings. Write down a few of the funny tales that your family laughs about. They just might become the basis of memoir vignettes that you’ll develop.

Hope this lifts your mood for the day. And now, with your creative juices flowing, get back to your writing.

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Memoirs at the Movies: Pamela Jane Opens Our Eyes to Story Structure

by Pamela JaneJuly 14, 2015
Memoirs at the Movies: Pamela Jane Opens Our Eyes to Story Structure

Pamela Jane brings us a fun article on her top 5 memoir movies. Read about the story structure of her chosen movies and write about your favorites.

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How Will You Use Today’s Extra Time?

by Matilda ButlerJune 30, 2015
How Will You Use Today’s Extra Time?

It’s official. Today you get extra time. Join WomensMemoirs for an honest look at time, reflection, mindfulness, and memoir writing.

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Happy Birthday, Kendra — From Your Memoir Friends

by Matilda ButlerJune 11, 2015
Happy Birthday, Kendra — From Your Memoir Friends

Come help me celebrate Kendra’s birthday today. Be sure to leave her a comment.

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Writing Prompt: Call and Response for Memoir Writers

by Matilda ButlerJune 2, 2015
Writing Prompt: Call and Response for Memoir Writers

If you belong to a writing group, or know of someone who does, consider this two-part writing prompt — a call and response. Or write on your own? Then use the individual writing prompt included.

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Memoir Writing Prompt: Looking Back at Alternative Futures

by Matilda ButlerMay 19, 2015
Memoir Writing Prompt: Looking Back at Alternative Futures

Fun memoir writing prompt that lets you talk to your younger self.

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Life Prompt; Memoir Writing Prompt

by Matilda ButlerApril 28, 2015
Life Prompt; Memoir Writing Prompt

Writing about our lives is not all a matter of looking backward. We can reflect and see how we can influence our futures as well. Today’s writing prompt is designed to help you think about how you can expand your sense of family.

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