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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 MJ Lemire’s essay "Good Words."


Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

In her essay, MJ writes about sharing a love of homophones with her children. Throughout the years her children were growing up, they collected pairs of sound-alikes. Together, they explored the world of spelling, knowing each other to be fellow Wordies. She writes:

In middle school, when the list topped 400 homophone pairs, the single syllable words made room for words like "gorilla/guerilla," "discussed/disgust," and "addition/edition."  Light-hearted squabbles started whenever one of us balked at the suggestion of a questionable word pair. This prompted negotiations like, "I'll let you add 'axes' and 'axis' if you let me add 'court' and 'quart.'" Debates still take place between us today regarding the proper pronunciation of "qu."

But the conversation soon shifted, slightly at first and then more dramatically. Her children began to show more interest in science and engineering and their language, in turn, changed. But sometimes the word game continues: “There aren't many days now that I receive texts like my son's "taught" and "taut." But when I do, I feel a bridge across the miles connecting me to my kids. I open the pantry door, find the list and pencil in their additions.”

How do you and your children speak the same language, either in everyday conversation or in the vocabulary of interests and passions? If a gap exists, how do you make a connection?


Read Lemire’s essay and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by March 22, 2017, for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note “February 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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