The Thanksgivukkah Advent Calendar Challenge: Juxtaposition and a Writing Prompt
In 2013 Hanukkah began on the same day as Thanksgiving, and this once in 77,798 years event made me think about juxtaposition. When I imagine a story, I often put two unrelated things together — for instance, a young teenager with Asperger’s syndrome and a meth lab down the street. Juxtaposition is a good way of going beyond stock characters and predictable plot lines. The combinations are as infinite as the imagination.
To the holiday of “Thanksgivukkah” I juxtaposed another, seemingly incompatible element– the LEGO City Advent Calendar. This calendar has individual doors for a tiny build corresponding to each day in December from the 1st to the 24th — a minifigure, a toy, a fireplace, a Christmas tree, or some other holiday-related (but not specifically religious) theme. However, there is one way in which the Advent Calendar, the countdown to Christmas, is well-suited to Hanukkah. The calendar has 24 days. Hanukkah has eight days. Twenty-four divided by eight equals three. No remainder.
So this year, I decided to give myself the Thanksgivukkah Advent Calendar Challenge. Each night of Hanukkah I opened three little doors at random and created a vignette from whatever little builds were there. I posted each of the vignettes on Instagram, where they were quite well received in terms of likes and comments. (Thanks guys!) Whether or not these vignettes lead to a full-fledged picture book, short story, or novel in the future, or they have merely served to entertain my Instagram followers for a week, they illustrate the idea of juxtaposition that can inspire a new writing project.
The fact that you were able to come up with a holiday scenario for three little random advent calendar doors is perfect. Love it. The perfect writing prompt, it’s even tactile.
Thank you, Nicole. I also have a piece coming out on the Through the Tollbooth blog on Monday about using tangible objects to generate stories, because I was one of those girls who played with dolls well into my teens.
I’m with Nicole–brilliant and so creative, Lyn!
Thank you, Sandra! I tried to do the challenge vignettes on the blog as a slide show, but the captions turned out to be more readable this way.
Oh Lyn!!! I love these scenes, especially the Black Friday scenes. 😀
Yes, and when the kids get older, sometimes they need MORE supervision than when they’re young.