Description Challenge #1: Childhood Home

After ending my One Sentence Challenge, I had a hard time coming up with a new, literary-relevant challenge for the writers who read my blog to participate in. I first leaned on flash fiction. I’ve ran flash fiction challenges before and I thought, “why not do it again?” Then I had this feeling, a proto-emotion gut feeling that this was the wrong way to go. After thinking on paper about it for a while I came the challenge outlined in the title.

Description is something vital for writers of all varieties yet we take the act of describing anything for granted. It is also something writers hardly seek to practice, as if virtue of human lived-experience is enough to write description. The Description Challenge is my small way of trying to subvert this perceived condition, and it is my hope that other writers will enjoy participating. As for the prompts, I will keep them vague and have you, the reader seek out that general concept within your life. I will select the winners each week based on both the merit of craft and creativity/originality.

Your prompt today is to describe your childhood home. Feel free to leave out any geographically relevant information, the goal is to capture the unique essence of the object being described.

Leave a comment with your response to this prompt. Thanks for participating and have fun!

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3 thoughts on “Description Challenge #1: Childhood Home”

  1. A fire crackles in the old farmhouse family room. It’s snowing outside, but I am not cold. Perhaps its more than just the fire and the homemade blanket from Mom that keeps the cold out. The view out the window from where I sit on the couch faces the back yard and pasture where the horses are munching on the hay my Dad threw over the fence a few minutes ago. Now he’s off to the barn to finish the evening chores. Beyond the pasture lie the rolling wheatfields. No busy harvest days for now, for the cut wheat fields have been harvested and the wheat preserved. Soon, Mom calls us all to the table for a hot dinner of homemade taco soup. We enjoy catching up as a family on the day’s activities. After clearning off the table, all 5 of us kids curl up by the fire as Dad reads to us from “The Lord of the Rings.” Usually that’s Mom’s job, but Dad can conjure up a special “Gollum voice” that is essential for the passages we’re on tonight. Sooner than we’d like, (“please one more chapter?!”), it’s bedtime. My sister heads straight to our double bed where she checks to make sure no monsters are under the bed before getting in. My little brother and little sister share a room down the hallway and they amble toward it ever so slowly, hoping to stall bedtime just a little longer. Mom is carrying baby brother to her bedroom where he still shares a room with Mom and Dad…for just a little longer. Somehow I fly under the radar and before getting to bed, and “sneaky pete” (making good on my nickname) noiselessly opens the sliding door in the kitchen. I tiptoe out onto our covered front deck- just far enough to get a good view of those bright country stars (and not far enough to walk in the snow). I swear they’re the prettiest they’ve ever been. My toes are too cold to be out for long. I run in, quietly shut the door, and make a beeline for the bed. I’m lucky to not hit any of my sister’s appendages on the way in, and I pull up the covers just as Mom comes around the corner to tuck us in. “…when you’re not near me, I’m blue; oh Laura, I love you…” she sings quietly to me. It doesn’t take me long to slip into a deep peaceful sleep.

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