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.


From the American Folklife Center --

Folklife is the everyday and intimate creativity that all of us share and pass on to the next generation including:

  • The traditional songs we sing, listen and dance to
  • Fairy tales, stories, ghost tales and personal histories
  • Riddles, proverbs, figures of speech, jokes and special ways of speaking
  • Our childhood games and rhymes
  • The way we celebrate life
    – from birthing our babies to honoring our dead
  • The entire range of our personal and collective beliefs
    – religious, medical, magical, and social
  • Our handed-down recipes and everyday mealtime traditions
  • The way we decorate our world
    - from patchwork patterns on our quilts to plastic flamingoes in our yards, to tattoos on
  • our bodies
  • The crafts we create by hand
    – crocheted afghans, wooden spoons, cane bottoms on chairs
  • Patterns and traditions of work
    – from factory to office cubicle
  • The many creative ways we express ourselves as members of our family, our community, our geographical region, our ethnic group, our religious congregation, or our occupational group


Folklife is part of everyone's life. It is as constant as a ballad, as changeable as fashion trends. It is as intimate as a lullaby, and as public as a parade.


Journal Entry:  What do you want your children to know about your life, your culture, your philosophy of living? What advice do you want to share?  List 10 songs, stories, celebrations, recipes, or hobbies you want to pass on to your children. Then, list 10 pieces of advice specific to your son and/or 10 pieces of advice specific to your daughter.

Karna Converse 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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