Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, we’re here in the last week of November, and the day before Thanksgiving, Time sure flies past, fast, doesn’t it? All month we’ve been writing to prompts that are what we, as writers, are thankful for. I could not let the month go by without writing about family. After all, whether you come from a big, happy family, a crazy, small family, or a “normal,” dysfunctional family, we all have them…we all have parents, but we all don’t have siblings. I don’t. I’m an only child, so I’ll never know what it’s like to have fights with a sibling, to have that camaraderie of “we’re in this together,” or to have a sibling pitted against you by a parent. I will never be an aunt. By the same token, those of you that are not only children don’t know what it’s like to have all attention directed on you – good and bad – to learn that you don’t know how to argue/fight as an adult because you’ve never had to as a child, or how alone your childhood can feel. Of course, there are perks to be an only child as well – one of my favorite ones is that I never get bored because I learned to entertain myself, I developed a vivid imagination, and I don’t mind being alone – when others can’t stand to be alone for five minutes.
I always wanted children of my own, and not just one – so that’s why I have two daughters instead of one. I now have five grandchildren, so I definitely am not alone in this world, and both of my parents are still alive and I know a lot of people my age can’t say that. I love my family, and have good relationships with my daughters and grandchildren; although, I don’t see them often enough. My parents, well, they’re my parents – we’ve had a lot of water under the bridge…and they sure have given me plenty to write about. In fact, I believe I’ve mentioned it before – I’m compiling a poetry memoir of childhood poems, and I hope to have it ready to start submitting to publishers by the end of this year. I have a few more poems to add, and to come up with a good title and it’ll be ready! So, that’s something to be thankful for as well…progress…and survival of youth!
Here is a sample of one of my poems from that manuscript:
I wish I knew how to swim instead of walking
nowhere on treadmills or lifting dumbbells
inside a drab gym to tone my middle-
aged muscles and slim my widening hips.
Why did I listen to my overcautious mom
and grandma warn of drowning and
ingest their tales of never learning to let go,
never handing control over to water bodies?
You can view “No Swimming” in it’s entirety in the anthology, Backlit Barbell: An Anthology of Health and Fitness, compiled by A.J. Huffman, found on Amazon, or when my book gets published.
And, speaking of being published – I’d be remiss if I did not mention that my little poetry “family,” Company of Women – Jayne Marek, Mary Sexson, and I have all been nominated for a Pushcart by Chatter House Press for a poem each from our book Company of Women: New and Selected Poems. You can find the nominated poems from the book here.
Family, blood or chosen, is what makes life interesting as well as giving us reason for life. And, with that thought in mind, no matter what your relationship is with your “blood” relatives, you’ve many things to be thankful for – even if it’s that they’ve given you plenty to write about! With that in mind, here’s your twenty-second prompt:
1) In your daybook write down five things that you’re thankful for in your own family – maybe it’s that you have one, maybe it’s their health, maybe it’s wealth related; it’s going to be things that you can only know. Once you’ve got your five things, then go back to each and write a bit on the one that sticks out to you most – get in those particulars, why is this what you’re most thankful for? By the same token, you can always turn this prompt on its head and write the five things you’re least thankful for in your family…sometimes those things that keep us from enjoying a family get together can be a powerful thing to write about!!!
2) Think about what I was saying about being an only child at the beginning of this blog. Write about your own birth order, your siblings and how you relate, what was your biggest fight as a kid with your sibling(s)? What is it now? What’s the funniest thing that happened, that makes you still laugh today? If you’re an only child – what stands out to you about growing up a “lonely only?” You can expand this list as you keep writing down things you remember – and this prompt alone can give you a plethora of things to write about!!
3) Now find one of the most interesting things that you’ve written about in #1 or #2 and form it into a poem, an essay, a short story, or a play – family can certainly lend itself to being a catalyst of good literature…just think of the work that has been written involving family! I bet you can name at least 10 books, plays, or poems off the top of your head that involve family. You know, like Sylvia Plath‘s “Daddy?” Augusten Burroughs‘ Running WIth Scissors, you get the gist. If you can, write them down – those might remind you of a story in your own family.
4) As with all writing, this “Family Tales” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.
Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!