The Thrift Store Adventure Writing Prompt

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The woman standing beside me in at the auction smiled and said hello. We were waiting for the auctioneer to begin the sale. He had set up his auctioneer stand at the back of the white clapboard house close to the clothesline.

The Thrift Store Adventure Writing Prompt

I asked her, “Isn't this fun? I love to look through dead people's things.”

She looked at me, paused, and said, “It's my mother's things.”

For today's writing prompt you don't have to go to an Estate sale or an auction and say something awkward or embarrassing to family members of the deceased, unless you want to; your local thrift store has your writing prompt.

Every Item Has a Story

Every item has a story: The true story of where the item was acquired, who owned it, and where it traveled, and the story you are inspired to write about the item.

Last year I found a plate at a thrift store. The name Meda Young was written on a piece of medical tape stuck to the bottom of the plate. The plate was made in Nashville, TN by Sanders Mfg. Co. It was a copyrighted first edition of the Lord’s Supper, Warranted 23 K Gold.

Meda Young wrote her name on the back of the plate. Perhaps it was her treasure. When I searched on Google, I found an obituary for a Meda Young who died on April 26th, 2010 in Eatontown, New Jersey. From my town to her town is 105.8 miles. A two-hour drive.

Maybe the Last Supper plate belonged to the Meda Young I found on the internet. Maybe I have the plate of the women who “had a warm smile and a generous spirit that brought joy to those who spent time with her.”

Meda Young’s plate is bringing me joy.

The Thrift Store Writing Prompt

This is an Adventure Prompt. However, this is not the television show Mission Impossible, starring Peter Graves, Barbara Bain, and Greg Morris, a popular series from the late 60's to the seventies. This blog post will not self-destruct in five seconds.

Even so, we will pretend we are going on a real adventure.

Here is your Writing Prompt, as though you are Mr. Phelps, a secret agent, in the television show Mission Impossible.

Good morning, Mr. Phelps. Your mission, Jim, if you decide to accept it, is to go to a thrift store and find an item that inspires you to write a fifteen-minute fiction story. You will post your story in the comments section on The Write Practice. You will also read and comment on other Thrift Store stories. As always, should you or any of your force be caught or killed the secretary will disavow any knowledge of your actions. This tape will self-destruct in five seconds. Good luck, Jim.

Remember, this is not Mission Impossible, the television show. We are only pretending. There should be no danger involved in undertaking this mission. Please have fun, remember to look both ways when you cross the street, obey all traffic laws, and don't fall on a sharpened pencil.

Have you ever written a story about a found object? Let us know in the comments. I would love to hear your found object stories.

PRACTICE

  1. Go to a thrift store and find an item that interests you. You may purchase it or just take a photograph of it.
  2. Take fifteen minutes to write a story for the item with a beginning, middle, and end.
  3. Post your story in the comments section.
  4. Read and comment on other writers' thrift store stories.

xo
Pamela

Pamela writes stories about art and creativity to help you become the artist you were meant to be. She would love to meet you at pamelahodges.com.

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9 Comments

  1. Kelly Boyer Sagert

    What a great idea! I love going to thrift stores . . .

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hi Kelly,
      I look forward to reading your story.

      Reply
  2. Parsinegar

    Pamela,

    There was really nothing special about that stone rabbit. It was eroded and had turned into a grey stone egg, with scarce signs that showed actually it has been one of those small carved sculptures that people usually keep in their gardens. K thought it is ridiculous that we are still keeping that piece of stone in our garden because everyone seeing it asks what that piece of stone over there is and it always gives mom some time to explain the story behind it. She would say of the days she had spent in Kent before marrying dad and it always end up with ‘this stone rabbit is very beautiful’. K and I decided to get rid of it, and because we did not want to bin it, we left it with the thrift shop you are attending for the price of 1p.

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Parsinegar,
      I can imagine the gray stone egg. It is full of memories and love. If I found it I would buy it and put it in my garden.

      Reply
  3. Jennifer Shelby

    Karen and I spent the summer making fun of the beach selkies and the girls who mooned over them. I dunno, maybe we were jealous. Those guys had rippling muscles and oozed sex appeal, but they never looked at us, two gawky girls whose breasts hadn’t budded yet.
    At the end of the summer there were a few who’d had their sealskin coats stolen by lovelorn women. They stood on the beach, unable to go home, looking haunted and broken. Searching.
    Giggling with glee, Karen and I ran to the thrift store, buying every seal fur coat we could find. That night we hid them all over the beach.
    We set up our beach towels for the day to watch the selkies find them and rush around with mistaken joy, only to be crushed when they discovered the truth.
    It’s still the meanest thing I’ve ever done. Karen laughed at me when I told her I felt bad. “They’re not even human!”
    I gathered up the remaining coats and brought them back to the store. It made her furious. We never hung out much after that.

    Reply
  4. Beth Schmelzer

    What I found at the Thrift Store

    Each time I went to the Good Will Store, I passed all the toys and clothes to find my way quickly to the book section. Maybe I could pick up a new or treasured novel by one of my favorite children’s authors. At age ten, I read everything I could get my hands on. I discovered there were few titles available that day that I had not read, so I browsed over to the adult section. I felt I could read almost anything. For some reason a green faded hardback book caught my eye. It had no bright paper cover like most of the other books. I opened it to a huge surprise. On the title page was my grandfather’s name: Leon David Hirsch.

    I turned back to the cover and read a long title I did not understand. Then I opened to the first pages. The book was signed by a man with my long dead grandfather’s name. He was a man I never knew. Imagine my next surprise when I read: “To my classmate who shared Hebrew lessons with me” inside the cover. I was raised an Episcopalian. How could my grandfather be Jewish? And why did I have no clue about him?

    That book started me on a search for answers about my secretive family. I wasn’t certain who I could question, but I knew I had to find the truth about my family secrets.
    (This short practice is based on my children’s mystery novel “Family Secrets.” Do you find this premise authentic and readable?)

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello Beth Schnelzer,
      Your story premise is very readable, and possible. I read a true story of someone finding their Grandfather’s Bible in a warehouse in Russia of Bibles that had been confiscated.
      Your book sounds interesting, I am intrigued by the mystery of her grandfather and would love to read more.
      xo
      Pamela

      Reply
  5. James Kovarik

    THERE ARE MANY REASONS I SHOULD NOT BE HERE., I WILL BE STARING 88, RIGHT IN THE FACE COME NEXT FEBRUARY. I JUST SENT A TEXT BOOK, I WROTE FOR GRADES 11-14: TO AN “‘ON DEMAND PUBLISHER”‘ “ENERGIZING GOVERNORS” TO THERE RIGHTFUL PLACE. LARGE PRINT CLOSE TO 40,000 WORDS. I AM AN ENGINEER BY TRADE; I WORKED THE PROBLEM, HOW EFFICIENT IS MY WRITING. IT TOOK ME JUST ONE HOUR TO GET EACH “TWO WORDS” TO PRINT. AND I ONLY USED 6+ YEARS. LAUGHINGLY, I ASK: DID YOU KNOW THIS COUNTRY WAS FORMED AS “LIMITED PARTNERSHIP?” NO KIDDING, WE; STILL ARE ARE THE LARGEST “LIMITED PARTNERSHIP” IN THE WORLD. WE EACH A PARTNER. WANT MORE?

    Reply
    • Pamela Hodges

      Hello James Kovarik,
      I wish you much success with your writing, and an early birthday with for your birthday next February.
      All my best,
      Pamela

      Reply

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  1. The Thrift Store Adventure Writing Prompt | Creative Writing - […] “ Every item has a story. Will you take the time to discover it? Tweet this Tweet […]
  2. the terrible thing I did to the selkies – Jennifer Shelby - […] *this post was first written as a comment on a writer’s prompt at the Write Practice […]

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