Playful writing 6: I can’t live without…

This is the latest in a series of posts inspired by Chuck Sandy’s iTDi blog post: Learning To Play: A Writing Lesson Learned Late. I have been using his playful writing prompts as free writing prompts for my students. And I have been writing them myself so that I don’t have to ask my students to do something without knowing what it might be like for them. So far this project has been quite interesting in a few ways – they’re writing a lot more in the time I give them and some of them are really going deep. It has been a pleasure for me to get to know my students in this way, and a slightly scary pleasure to share myself with my colleagues in the same way.

Regular readers might notice that I missed a topic. Playful writing 5 was “when was the last time you were (feeling).”  I stared at the blank piece of paper-shaped screen for hours, day after day, with nothing to say, knowing that I was going to have to ask my students to do something I currently couldn’t. And my students wrote it last week. They wrote brilliantly, beautifully, and openly. And they inspired me to try again and so later this week I will.

Today, however, the prompt reads:

Write about coffee, ice cream, peanut butter, cheese, or oranges. Feel free to start with “I’m thinking about” or “I remember” but if you’re tired of those prompts try “I’ll never forget …” or “I can’t live without …

I can’t live without… actually, I can live without all of those things. I don’t like ice cream, peanut butter is crazy expensive, I only sort of like cheese, and oranges are a pain to prepare. Coffee is a vice, I admit, but at least once a year I phase it out just to prove I can still do it. To prove I’m not addicted. Coffee headaches are awful, and I really think I feel better when I drink coffee than when I do n’t. But I don’t like the idea of being dependant on anyhting. Maybe this says more about me than if there is a thing.

I know what you’re thinking: “Did she just sway she doesn’t like ice cream?” Yes, I don’t like ice cream. Sometimes I’ll have mint chocolate chip ice cream in a cone and somtimes I throw most of it away. Sometimes I can’t get away with not having ice cream and I have to. But I would rather not if I have the choice. Not because of health, buty just because it’s not very yummy to me.

I don’t think there’s any food or drink that I can’t live without, emotionally. I like variety and  choice and independence from the sorts of claws that addictions can hold. I can give up anything I feel like I might be getting addicted to and I regularly do that . That was what my ramen ban this year was about. I was eating it way too often (according to me!) and needed to make sure I could take it out of my diet. I did it, for a year (except two cheats that I forgave myself for) and I’ll put it back again.

Coffee, let’s explore that. I can live without coffee, but i’d prefer not to. I am nicer, friendlier, and in a  better mood when I’ve had coffee. I smile more, have more energy, and fewer headaches. That’s true even after I’ve given it up for months. One coffee shows me why I should have just kept drinking it. I have a theory about coffee – it is that people who put cream, sugar, chocolate syrup, caramel, and all sorts of other gunk in it don’t actually like coffee. I can’t imagine why they’d spoil the taste of it otherwise.

I am running out of things to say on this topic. That doesn’t happen to me very often but it’s after 1am and I’m tired. I guess I can’t live without sleep (at least not for very long) and I can’t live without my nice warm heater on this cold cold December day. Well, I probably could if I had to.

i do miss things whenI go without them. But I have to prove to myself that  Ican doit. Life is weird and changeable and you never know  when something you couldn’t live without is suddenly six times the price you’re willing to pay for it. Or not available at all.

Free stock photo from

Free stock photo from


Okay, that sucked. Sorry for it, if you managed to read it all. Some notes to myself – I’ve gotta change the products for my students. Probably fried chicken, chocolate, rice, ice cream, and ? (for them to add their own idea). I have to tell them that I couldn’t think of anything I couldn’t live without so that they don’t feel bad if they draw a blank. I might even give them the option of writing about something they would like to give up instead.

Thanks for sticking with me so far.

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