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A Story About the Worst Dinner Ever: Writing Prompts with Cheyla Reyna at Zibby's Bookshop

The other night I attended Chela Reyna's IGNITE workshop at Zibby's Bookshop in Santa Monica. I went for a fun evening of play with writing prompts and left with a micro story about the worst dinner ever. It was fabulous!

During one of the activities, we wrote lists of things that evoke emotion. "Family" was on my list of things that might make someone fearful. We also listed things we wish for.

Since we were in a bookstore, the group shouted out book titles that caught our attention. They were:

I Cheerfully Refuse

Dusk, Night, Dawn

Slow Noodles

Come and Get It

It's Not You

Sleeping Giant

The Last Love Note

Winter Garden

Part of the challenge was to free write and include emotions, as many of the book titles as we could, and a wish from our wish list.

It was so much fun! Some writers created new fantasy worlds in just a few minutes. Others wrote love stories that made some of us teary.

I wrote this:

We ate in silence. Eyes on our food. Four people eating alone.

I knew this was going to happen. I was so mad at myself for coming.

Why didn't I just say “no”? Why didn't everyone say, “no”?

“You need a haircut,” my father said to Ty.

Ty’s hair had been shoulder length since high school. He was 33 now. 

“Dad, my hair has been the same for decades. Like you, it's not changing.”

“This is my house!” My father slammed his fist on the table. 

“William, please don't,” my mother said. Then she turned to Ty and said, “Sweetheart, it's not you.”

“Oh, I know,” Ty said.

“Does everyone like the slow noodles?” my mother asked hopefully.

I wanted to hug her and shake her at the same time.  

Why did she stay with him all these years?

“Mom, the slow noodles are delicious.” I put my hand over hers.

“Would you like some more?” Her face brightened. 

“I'm full. Thank you. But I actually have great news.” 

My mom looked at me, her eyes eyebrows raised. 

“Oh?” she said. 

“I got a two book deal at auction.” 

Ty looked up. “That's amazing, sis!”


“How much are they paying you?” my dad grumbled.

“I cheerfully refuse to answer that.”


Big shoutout to Chela Reyna for hosting such a fun workshop and to Zibby's Bookshop for providing the perfect setting! I'm excited for the next one.

Be sure to check out Chela's beautiful book IGNITE, full of writing prompts and inspiration. You too, might be inspired to write about a family dinner you'd never want to attend! 🤣

Book shelves filled with colorful books at Zibby's Bookshop

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