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. Several times a month, we'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.

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When I was a pre-teen I would hide in my bedroom and read books for hours at a time. Hours. I’m talking whole days would go by as I poured through book after book. The two series that stand out in my memory are Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal, and Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene.

I remember vividly the blond hair of twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, their tall and beautiful family, and the uber-perfect life, though sometimes riddled with challenge, they all led at Sweet Valley High. Elizabeth was a quiet, A+ student and had a steady boyfriend, Todd.  Jessica was uninterested in school, and very interested in boys and cheerleading. The twins would fight over boys, challenge societal norms, find themselves growing apart from old friends, and even face serious accidents and sometimes the death of loved ones.

As a young reader, I felt that the things these girls faced seemed very real and true to life. As an adult thinking back, I see that the utopian aspect of Sweet Valley- everyone in the town was gorgeous and generally perfect- was what made me go back for more. The perfection of Sweet Valley was a place to escape to, a way to figure out the realities of life a little bit further, without yet having to live my own. I read all the books available in the series, and longed to be a twin, with a dear, and sometimes annoying, sister to share growing up with. I never got a twin, but I did get to escape the pressures of growing up. For a little while.

In your journal today, allow yourself to reminisce about a book or series of books that supported you in some way as a child or teen. What springs to mind? Can you describe the characters? The town they lived in? The plot of your favorite one? Can you recall how you felt when you were reading them? Or how this story helped you in your real life? Don’t edit yourself, just write stream-of-consciousness about whatever comes to your memory.


Amanda Jaros is a freelance writer and blogger, focusing on nature and science stories. Her work has appeared in numerous journals and magazines including Terrain.org, Newfound, Life in the Finger Lakes Magazine, Highlights for Children, and Cargo Literary. She holds an MFA in creative nonfiction from Chatham University.


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