A Teen & Adult Creative Writing Topic written by Selene Castrovilla
I was reading about Thanksgiving in the early years of our country, and I learned that George Washington made his first proclamation to declare a National Thanksgiving Day. The surprising part was that no pilgrims or Indians are mentioned in the decree. The holiday was strictly to thank God.
This is peculiar because there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in our country. Did Washington think this was okay because he didn’t mention a specific religion? After all, the Pledge of Allegiance mentions “under God” (despite being challenged numerous times.) Perhaps he could not conceive of someone not worshipping God at all. Or, perhaps he didn’t care. Washington was quite religious. Although the specifics of his beliefs are up for debate. He did mention “Providence” often – which is an old-fashioned way to describe good fortune through divine intervention. And there’s no doubt when we read this proclamation that God was very much in the forefront of Washington’s mind.
How did this national holiday morph from a strict celebration of the Almighty into a tribute of a feast between pilgrims and Indians? Is it our society’s desire to turn things into Disneyesque stories? Did someone purposely change the tone? Is it because of our country’s religious diversity? (If so, why has “under God” remained in the Pledge?)
I invite you to mull all this:
I do not offer an opinion of what is right or wrong, but rather, I open the floor to you. What do you think of Washington’s proclamation? Why do you think the holiday changed? What do you think Washington would make of all this talk of pilgrims, Indians and turkey?
If you’re the nonfiction research type, delve into history. Write a piece about what you find. Keep your opinion out.
Or, write an opinion piece about what you think – considering one aspect of these facts, or all, if you prefer. You’ll be amazed by the options you have!
For you dystopian fans, write a piece as though we live in a Puritan society as the pilgrims did. What would our lives be like? Would they be better or worse? Be as specific as possible.
Finally, or fantasy people, write a story about George Washington teleporting to Thanksgiving 2015. What happens next? Your tone is optional.
As you can see, I’m trying to flex your brains into thinking of all the options when you write about a subject. Yes, in school you’re bound to the perimeters of the assignment, but in your everyday life the creative choices are up to you. Have fun!
I’d love to see your work! Please send it to me through my website, SeleneCastrovilla.com. I’ll always write back!
Enjoy writing inspired by Selene!