I just stumbled across a website called Grasping for Objectivity, written by a 34 year old Mom in Birmingham, Alabama. She works from home as an accountant, blogs on three different sites and (as far as I can see) home-schools her children. She published a list of simple writing prompts she had made for her daughter Ali. A lot of them begin with ‘If…’

There are around 80 prompts, together with Ali’s answers. I thought I would reproduce just a few at a time (otherwise I’ll still be writing the post on Saturday midnight) and append answers of my own.

If I could go anywhere in space I would…

Ali: Go back to irth

Me: Me too. Hopefully there would be breathing apparatus wherever I got sent to, otherwise it would be more a case of floating round and round, forever and somewhat dead.

One day, I want to name my daughter…

Ali: Bela

Me: I always imagined my daughter would be called Jessica, although sometimes I thought Amelia, after a favourite Joni Mitchell song about the aviatrix Amelia Earhart. I could even imagine what she would look like.

One day, I want to name my son…

Ali: Danyl

Me: I never imagined a son, but I think that’s having grown up in a family of three girls. Maybe there is a tendency to imagine your imaginary children as the same gender as yourself, I don’t know.

Next time we go on vacation I hope to get to..

Ali: Swim

Me: I’d just like to go on vacation! With thirteen cats (who would all need to go into a cattery for however long) and no spare pennies, I can’t see a vacation happening anytime soon. However, where I am (fingers crossed) moving to, I shall be within a short bus ride of a good old-fashioned ‘bucket and spade’ seaside resort. I do believe I will make that bus journey and buy myself a bucket and spade, pretending it is for a hypothetical grandchild. When I was a child I had a particular yen for one of those brightly coloured tin buckets you could make sandcastles out of… (second childhood in the offing, obviously).

If I could fly I would fly to…

Ali: The oshin

Me: I think that’s the ocean. Me too, I think – though I’d also like to fly to India, and to  jungle ruins of Aztec civilisations, and to Norway. That might be a bit chilly, though. The old wings might ice up.

I think the world would be a better place if…

Ali: it wod have no bad gis in it

Me: …there were no motor cars and we were all forced to stay put and grow vegetables.

If I were president, I would…

Ali: do wut I’m told

Me: … hide under the duvet and never come out.

If I could have any pet in the world I would get…

Ali: a elafint

Me: A elafint would be a possibility, but what about all those gigantic wees ‘n poos? I mean, one would be forever a-shovelling. Cats aside, what pet? A mynah bird, possibly – something I could pretend was talking to me. My friend Daisy has a parrot and he makes the most apt comments. Sometimes, when unobserved, he laughs exactly like her husband, a big, deep, booming laugh. That parrot actually inspired me to write a short story called Wordsworth’s Little Holiday, which is on this site somewhere. It’s in four parts. I tried linking to the first part, but it caused nasty red writing all over my screen. There’s probably a more technical term for it.

If I had been on Noah’s Ark with all those animals, I would have…

Ali: Fun

Me: …been wondering where the other human was.

If I designed clothes I would make them all…

Ali: Shirts

Me: …bigger than a size 8.

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