Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
Writing Prompt: Going Back

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Do you regularly free write? Do you wish you did? Several times a month, we'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook or a blank page and keep your hand moving for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation – just write. 

Then, share a link to your free write in the comments section below. We’d love to see what you did with this week's prompt! 

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Photo by Dina Relles

Photo by Dina Relles

As our minivans sailed up and down the hills of Route 6, familiar landmarks took shape: The Salvation Army, where I'd bought a powder blue slip with lace trim that I thought could pass as a skirt, Archbald Pothole State Park, where, on blankets stretched across hard ground, we'd look up at blue sky and bare secrets, the Circle Drive-In, where we'd cap off the day sprawled along the fuzzy carpet of the hatchback. The Ruby Tuesday, the Wal-Mart, the long and winding way back to the camp's grounds, blissful and beat, sated and sun-weary.

These days off were sacred—an outlet to release the stress and steam that built up during a week as a counselor for kids not much younger than we were. Now, as an adult with my own children, I've returned to work at the same overnight camp, sharing a small, sweet bunk--and my days off--with my three sons.

I'm on the cusp of 35, and it feels as if a fair amount is behind me. Life, for the most part, is sorted and known. Traveling back in time across roads when it wasn't so is both exhilarating and sad. I'm nostalgic by nature. I hardly need the physical prompts to conjure images of what was.

Part of me feels silly, tracing these steps, returning. I'm too old for this, my back says. Or my feet. Or my heart. But then, what are we if not everywhere we've ever been? And isn't it sadder still to never see or sentimentalize these parts of our story?

Today, free write about going back. Have you visited a place that was once significant in your life? That brought memories flooding back—a younger self? A different time? What was it like? How did it feel? What did it tell you about where you've been, who you are, where you're going?

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Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogcontact (at) literarymama (dot) com. We'd like to hear your ideas!


Dina L. Relles is a writer with work in The Atlantic, Atticus Review, River TeethSTIR JournalBrain, Child Magazine, Full Grown People, The Manifest-Station, The Washington PostThe Huffington Post, and elsewhere. You can find more of her work on her own site, Commonplaceand you can connect with her on Twitter She lives in New York with her husband and children. Dina is a former blog editor for Literary Mama.


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