Post by Lynn
I’ve used maybe three hundred different prompts over the five years since starting the group. Some turn out to be weak or confusing. Others spark great writing and get recycled after there’s a complete turnover in the group. I’ve found that one of the most revealing and stimulating prompts is also one of the simplest:
“When I was a kid I loved to …”
I sneak peeks at the women as they write to this prompt and see a quiver of a smile or pursed lips. Eyes rolled up to catch a wisp of memory.
No matter how cynical or shutdown or angry a woman is acting when we start out, she becomes a little girl again when hit with this phrase. During the read-around the energy in the room rises. Heads nod. Laughter erupts.
Nobody has ever said “pass” on the read-around for this prompt.
Funny thing, in all the times I have written to this prompt (of course I write too – what do you think I started the group for?!) I always find a new memory. Many of them are things I hadn’t thought of for years.
“Loved to play with dogs…” yeah, that’s a given. But “hand-watering the lawn pretending to be a Rain God, bestowing life on parched lands”? I hadn’t remembered that. The memory turned into an essay, then morphed into a scene in a short story.
“Loved to design towns, peopled by my Liddle Kiddle dolls – each with their own passions and problems.” Well, I guess there was a fiction writer in me even then, huh?
So what I’m saying is that I think it’s important to remember what we loved as children. There’s a truth, an essence, in those memories that can serve us, whether we are trying to heal or trying to make worlds come alive on paper.
Try it now… “When I was a kid I loved to…”