I usually have a good memory for dates, in particular birthdays, and I can readily recall anniversaries and special occasions.
It is a bit of a party trick to be able to go around the room and reel-off everyone’s birthday – although I rarely know how many candles should be on their cake.*
It’s a pretty useless skill to have, if I’m honest, because I can’t remember useful things such as car registrations, phone numbers or passwords, but no matter. A party piece doesn’t have to have anything more than entertainment value, right?
Do you have a special gift you can write about in an article? That’s where I’m taking you this week for your creative writing prompt/exercise. Have a go at a piece of creative non-fiction that involves describing your party piece. It could morph into a piece of memoir, of course. There may have been a time when it was wholly inappropriate to share your detailed knowledge of the Kings and Queens of England, for example. Or what about you being able to change a wheel with Brands Hatch speed? How about identifying all 50 different species of gull (what, they’re not all seagulls?).
You’d be surprised at some of the bizarre things people do when called upon to ‘do a turn’. A few years ago, Irish radio station Today FM asked their listeners what their party pieces were, inspired by how the Rose of Tralee entrants have two minutes to impress the judges with their special skill. Some of the Today FM replies were just bonkers! Check them out here. Of course, the famous festival hasn’t happened for two years because of Covid, but there’s still scope for would-be entrants to hone their skills for a future event!
For our writing exercise, you can be inspired by someone else’s unusual party piece if you don’t have one of your own. Or use your imagination to devise something thought-provoking, inspiring, entertaining, or just plain daft! Give it 500 words.
And if you are wondering about the picture (of course you are!), this is my daughter’s party piece. She can rattle off the name of this, ‘Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch’, the world’s longest railway station name in Wales – from memory. Of course, she’s half Welsh, so she had a head-start learning it!
*I am mortified to admit to having missed a friend’s milestone birthday recently, but that’s another story. Perhaps I need to develop a new party piece?
Meanwhile, if you are new here and wondering what this is all about, checkout the backstory here, or just call back next week for another creative writing prompt/exercise – there’s a new one posted every Wednesday at 5pm Dublin time.