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.



Silly me. I told my teenage sons about the liquidation sale at our local movie rental store.

I saw it as an opportunity to purchase a childhood favorite or two; they took it as an invitation to load up on their favorite action-packed thrillers.

Upon their return, my younger son showed me the receipt--$80 for seven movies—and launched into a logical explanation about how movies were bundled into different price packages, how their top choices were in different packages, and therefore, the need to purchase seven movies.

“Yeah, these movies were $15 each,” he conceded, “but these were only about $6 each, so it averages out. And they’re the BEST! Especially this one – it won lots of awards. You gotta watch it with us!”

When the kids were young, my husband and I set aside Friday nights as Family Movie Night, and each of us took a turn choosing the movie. Some movies were award winners, some had a message we wanted the kids to hear, and some were chosen simply because they made us happy.

But a five-year age difference between the oldest and youngest child meant our family movie eventually transitioned into two. My husband introduced the boys to his favorite movies about the Civil War and World War II while my daughter and I sang along with Disney’s animated classics. The boys migrated toward action-packed crime and sci-fi thrillers, the girls to musicals and dramas.

“You know,” my son said later that evening, shortly after the opening scene, “Avatar is a metaphor about what we did to the Native Americans. Dad told me that when we watched it in the theatre. Just watch--it’s pretty obvious--and wait till you see the special effects. They’re incredible.”

Before I knew it, I had spent nearly two hours sitting beside him on the couch, engrossed in the story and mesmerized by the special effects. I could have passed on some of the warfare, crude language, and profanity but his interpretation of the storyline made sense, and he was right about the special effects; they were spectacular.

But I’ll go to the next movie store liquidation sale. The silly songs, belly laughs, and wide-eyed statements of innocence in movies like Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Secret Garden, Swiss Family Robinson, and Willie Wonka can’t be replaced with fantastic storylines and flashy special effects.


Journal Entry: Write about the movies you watch with your children. What makes a movie a childhood favorite: the message, the filming, or the script?

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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