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.


Father-Daughter/Mother-Son Activity

My husband and my daughter have a special relationship, due in part to our community’s annual Father Daughter Dance. They attended the special event—which included an appointment with the hairdresser, a “poufy” dress and sometimes a tuxedo, a corsage, and dinner—five times and when she was between ages 7 and 13.

She and I wrote about it and created a special birthday card for my husband and the essay was eventually published in a regional magazine. Here’s an excerpt:

Dad and I danced nearly every dance. He taught me how to swing, and I taught him the Macarena.

That line dance is easy, but most of the dads had trouble with it. I gave my dad an "A" for trying, but sometimes, he got his right and left hands mixed up. Other times, he was confused by the shoulder-to-head-to-hip sequence. But, he nearly always jumped and made the 90-degree turn on the correct beat, so at least he faced the same way as the rest of us.

I have to admit he's a great swing dancer. He spun me around so much I was afraid I'd fly off the dance floor, but he held my hand tight and always managed to pull me back to him. He even "dipped" me a couple of times, like the professional dancers do! At the beginning, we were the only ones swing-dancing. My friends thought we were pretty cool, and a couple of them told their dads to ask my dad how to do it.

I came home exhausted and with sore feet, even though I danced in my stocking feet for most of the evening. My stomach was sore too – that’s because Dad and I had laughed so much.

But the best thing? Not my pearl necklace or poufy dress. And not the fashion statement my dad made in his tuxedo. Nothing like that.

When we danced, Dad looked straight at me -- as if there wasn't anything else to look at or listen to in the whole room. He didn't talk about hunting, fishing, the boys or even Mom! We talked about what I wanted to talk about, and he listened to everything I said. He made me feel special.

Note: This is part of an essay which was first published in Our Iowa Magazine, 2011.

Journal Entry: Write an as-told-to story about a father-daughter or a mother-son activity. Interview your child and write it in the child’s voice. In addition to describing the activity, explain why it’s special and the impact it’s made on your child.

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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