TBT: A Writing Prompt on Lost Objects Plus a Writing Prompt from a Lost Post

In honor of Throw Back Thursday, I offer writing prompts from two different posts.  The first was  originally published March 6, 2012.  The second was a post that I NEVER finished writing (but has been sitting in “draft” form for many years!)

Writing Prompt on Lost Objects

I can hardly think about my favorite jacket without remembering (still bitterly), the roommate who threw it away in anger.  When I see a balloon floating into the sky, I think of an old friend who threatened to attach his wedding band to one end of a string and let the helium guide it away.  Sometimes I wonder if I fell in love with Randi after reading an essay she wrote for a writing class (years ago) about the objects that she had lost (as a way of rendering the passing of time and the loss of her house).  And so with all of this in mind, I bring you this writing prompt:

If you haven’t written about an object yet (or even if you have), try its afterimage: the object(s) you have lost.

Writing Prompt from A Lost Post

The lost file had little more than the following: a link to an NPR article, the words “Asylum Suitcases,” and the question: What stories do residual objects leave behind?

You may have seen this article when it was passed around the FB.  A photographer named Jon Crispin found over 400 suitcases left behind in the attic of an asylum: “The suitcases contain letters that were never mailed, diaphanous cigarette papers, a glass bottle of glycerin left behind by a craftswoman — tiny parts of a forgotten whole.”  You can view a slideshow of the suitcases HERE.  (Felt wrong to try to include them in this post)

Your prompt:  Use the images to inspire a poem or scene.  OR,

Alternative Prompt:  Consider other objects you have found.  Our own instinct is often to take a picture.  You might flip through your phone and find those random moments.  Use one or all of them in a story or poem.

Here are some surprising found objects from my own recent camera files…


4 thoughts on “TBT: A Writing Prompt on Lost Objects Plus a Writing Prompt from a Lost Post

  1. So, I kept my manuscripts for what was to become my second book in a black pronged folder, where I’d jot down changes, corrections and ideas. One day between when I finished the first draft and when I actually started the design phase, I got off the bus and presumably the pronged folder stayed behind. After I learned how amazingly unhelpful ‘Burque mass transit is in customer service, I had to come to terms that I’ve lost forever that little bit of insight into my own revision process. I also think of it as an early release.

    • Phew! That’s an intense loss! When I was an undergraduate, I had a class with Maxine Hong Kingston. She told the story about losing one of her manuscripts in the Oakland fires. She was ready to head into the flames to retrieve it! I think only writers understand that kind of anguish!

      • I know, right? For me, the story though has made me be uber paranoid. In my email, in dropbox. Occasionally, I feel like I need to also email things to a friend. Ha! I also have a hard time parting with my old paper copies!

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