Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Reader Response


We're pleased to feature this reader's response to one of our For Your Journal writing prompts.

Amanda King shares these thoughts about a picture she drew when she was in 5th grade:

Journal Entry: Write about the challenges of keeping a secret and the consequences of revealing it.


When I was in 5th grade, there was a boy named Jason who was wild and unpredictable. He had just moved to our town, but he had very quickly gathered a group of friends. I sat near them one day at the lunch table and listened uncomfortably to their conversation.

The group of boys were calling out the names of girls in our class, and Jason would say whether he'd like to a) Hold Hands with this girl, b) Kiss her or c) Have "bed sex" with her.

I was raised in a home dripping with, lathered, honey drenched, saturated with the wrath of the Lord. Although there were plenty of whispers about things happening in the dark corners of the sanctuary, (her uncle made her touch him during private guitar lessons... after his car accident he lost his impulse control and his daughter started peeing the bed... he gave the babysitter a ride home and she says he was drunk...) sex was not something to talk about, think about or even wonder about. If you wondered about naked bodies and what they did, exactly to make a baby, you were a sinner of the worst kind.

So, I was a fifth grade girl and we had started to learn about sex in school. They took all of the boys into another room and gave them pamphlets with blue covers, instead of pink. We learned about tampons and armpit hair, how to ease the pain of menstrual cramps. One day, the nurse put a condom on a banana.

I picked up little things about boy parts and girl parts, how the boy had a hotdog and the girl had a bun. I thought I had a pretty okay understanding of sex, especially since I spent the first few years of my formative life in a trailer park. The boy had a wiener that was pink and smooth and jiggly, and he would lay it in my bun, someday. Easy enough. And then somehow, magically, a baby was born.

I took some paper and markers upstairs to my room and I sat Indian-style on my bed with a hard backed book in my lap, and I drew a picture of a naked lady with boobs, and a naked man, with a hotdog. They were laying in bed together. I labeled their actions as "bed sex" like that bad boy at the lunch table had done. And then my mother threw open my bedroom door.

I freaked out and jammed the picture under my pillow. She asked me what I was doing, and I told her nothing. Nothing! She snooped and found the picture, and the holy wrath of God the Father was upon me. I was in SO MUCH TROUBLE.

Amanda can be reached at demandablue(at)hotmail(dot)com.

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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I loved this when I read it on the original blog. The style of writing keeps the reader enthralled and wanting more. So glad to see her words here.
Amanda King is an incredible writer with a very interesting past. Great mix! This full piece was an incredible read, thank you for sharing.
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