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Writing Prompt: Literary Reflections

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For each issue of Literary Mama, Literary Reflections shares a writing prompt, inviting our readers to respond. Our editors provide feedback on the responses we receive and we post our favorites on the blog. This month’s writing prompt is inspired by Hannah Baker Saltmarsh’s essay, “Family Lore, Baby Lore.”


Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

In this essay, Hannah Baker Saltmarsh writes of the family lore that her parents told about her childhood. Likewise, she describes how her writing explains her own children's childhood to them. “When we become parents, we enter a childhood that we can remember—that of our kids—and it triggers our own never-accessed trinkets of childhood: stories, lore, games, and even language. When I talk to my mom about my daughter, she tells me about myself; we are tradition-bearers of this nebulous thing called childhood.”

How has being the tradition-bearer in your family shaped the stories you tell? How does being the “critical witness, folklorist, teacher, and listener to the story a child is telling about herself” illuminate the stories you write?


Read Saltmarsh’s essay and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by November 9, 2016, for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note “October Prompt” in your subject line. Please do not attach the essay, but paste the response in the body of the email.

Whitney Archer is a writer, librarian, and a mother living in northern Virginia. Her work has been published in The Washington Post, AOL, and Salvo Magazine.

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