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.