Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.

I met Nick shortly after he'd been diagnosed with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also called Lou Gehrig's Disease), a progressive neuromuscular disease that weakens and eventually destroys motor neurons. He was only 23 years old, but he was determined not to waste a minute of the time he had left. He married his soul mate and enjoyed three years of fulltime work at his dream job as a university sports information director.

He turned to blogging when he was no longer able to keep up with the demands of fulltime work and often said that blogging made him feel normal while he fought this abnormally early onset of the disease. He wrote candidly about the disease, the frustrations it created and the procedures he endured, but he also had a little fun reminiscing about friends and family.

The excerpt, below, is from "Lifetime of Fridays," a piece he posted shortly before his 28th birthday and nine months before he died.

When I was 6, Friday meant playing Velcro carpet darts in Mrs. Schoppert's kindergarten class. But only if we behaved and there was time at the end of the day. Loved that game.

When I was seven, Friday meant spelling tests. Those continued for years, but first grade provided a great deal of amusement one week. Our teacher gave the words orally one at a time and we had to write them down. One Friday, she gave these three words in order. Make. My. Day. Man, I thought that was hilarious. Looking back, I find it a little odd that I was familiar with Dirty Harry as a seven year old.

When I was eight, Friday meant kick ball in PE. The world knows no better game. Period.

When I was nine, Friday meant begging my parents to take me to the high school basketball or football game, depending on the time of year. Home or away. I didn't care. And I was pretty lucky. Usually they did.

When I was ten, Friday meant sleepovers. Lots of them, including the one for my tenth birthday. I had seven other guys over and we played football, ate tacos, watched scary movies, and had a WWF style royal rumble around 4 am. Naturally, we never went to sleep so at the first sign of dawn we raced outside and played another football game. I scored the winning touchdown and can still remember the feeling of collapsing on the lightly frosted grass while my teammates and dog buried me. That my friend was a good day.

When I was 11, Friday meant art class. I loathed art. I was horrible at it and thought it a complete waste of time. In fifth grade, we had to make five wax dipped Christmas stars out of strips of construction paper. Problem was, I couldn't make one blessed wax dipped Christmas star. Didn't get it. After a couple of days, Mrs. Hertz said anyone who wasn't finished had to stay in from recess to finish. I didn't have a chance. One of my art-gifted friends offered to make mine for a quarter apiece. Best $1.25 I have ever spent.

Journal Entry: Describe four Fridays of your lifetime: at ages 10, 15, 25, and 40. Include as many details as you can about the people, the places, and the activities that filled your day. Then, write about a typical Friday you currently spend with your family.

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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