Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Literary Reflections Writing Prompt


Literary Reflections is pleased to present our featured writing prompt response from January. Earlier this month, we asked "How public or private is your journal? Is it record of events, a list of secret desires, an inventory of frustrations? Describe your process and the audience for whom you write."

Brenda Granger wrote:

The Exercise of Writing

I have few passions, one is writing, and the other is thinking about writing. When I am not writing, I think about it, and when I am not thinking about it, I'm writing. I am in love with the idea of writing, and if you came to my house for wine and brie, I'd show you my Smithsonian-worthy journal collection. It is lovely. There is a tan-soft-leather-bound variety, ones bought in India with thick, textured paper, a Moleskin, and the type sold for pennies on the dollar in discount bins at Target. I have a brand new one that I bought last week in a boutique that sells homemade soap, artist made jewelry, linens from Ireland, made to look like vintage furniture, and books on obscure subjects like the Zen of Me. Pretty little things that I've needed all my life. (I also have an obsession for pens; you would never see a BIC in my hand. I cringe when I have to use pens that come in boxes of twelve.)

I have journals and pens, all the makings for a perfect romance. But we don't get along so well, and usually bicker about which topics to write about, love letters, what I did today, the color of the sky, how I feel, did I really, etc. What to journal about is a subject that has plagued me since reading Why I Write, by Joan Didion. I don't write about what I do during the day, rather where my head and heart are sitting on the subject of me (the written journal). The e-journal is different. It's my writer's journal. I frolic. I play with voice and topics, usually the mystery of life. I keep a blog for this journal. It's not tied to my name because of the frolicking.

I arrange my primary life around my passions. I've responsibilities that pull at my hem, and often unravel me row by row. These obligations, like my passions are not disposable. My writing self I carry with me, but the room where the passion and I unite, my bedroom, pulls at me the moment I walk through the door at the end of the workday. She says to me, at last you are home. I drop my bags on the tile floor in the kitchen waiting for the flock to hover and pour out the events of their day. I operate on two levels,

  • Listen attentively and speak when it's appropriate to interject;
  • Listen to the murmur of the words in my head, 'do you think she will pick me tonight, or will she pick you, will she write about him again, or will she work on our book;

From the kitchen where I chop onions, heat olive oil, uncork wine, and grill asparagus, I feel the passion to write heat my skin. Writing is what keeps my heart pumping. The gym takes care of the outside, but it's the exercise of writing that centers me emotionally.


Brenda can be reached at emmarose2(at)gmail(dot)com.

A new Literary Reflections writing prompt is published the first weekend of every month. Responses are accepted until the 15th, and I promise to comment shortly after that. Look for it - we'd love to hear from you.

Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She and her husband are parents to three young adults. Karna is a former blog editor, senior editor, managing editor, and editor-in-chief of Literary Mama.

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