Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
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 Josie Glausiusz's essay, Ned the Noodle-Eating Knight and Other Tales.

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Photo by Literary Mama photo editor, Heather Vrattos

Josie Glausiusz describes her habit of making up "ad-lib tales with multiple chapters and alternative endings" as bedtime stories for her young children or to entertain them during their walks to school. Glausiusz has come to understand that the strange, fantastical stories she makes up, often with her children's help, are part of an oral tradition thousands of years old. They are a way of "transmitting moral and cultural wisdom to the next generation through spontaneous storytelling." She writes:

In my tales, good always triumphs over evil, love over hate, liberty over tyranny. I also try to convey my own personal vision of a harmonious world, where a stick insect can be friends with a jellyfish and Queen Unicara, the queen of the unicorns, is revered for her ability to bring peace to warring neighbors. While I don't tell overtly moral tales, in my narratives no person or animal is excluded from the story because they look or act differently, or because they are in a wheelchair, or because they have a different color skin or a different religion.

Glausiusz understands her storytelling, besides being great fun, helps shape her children's character and worldview. She tries to relate the implications of her stories to real life situations, whether that's extending courtesy and kindness to Muslims in the Israeli city where her family lives, or treating small creatures like snails and lizards with care and wonder.

Do you have a favorite story—perhaps your own or one written by someone else—that helps teach your children about the kind of people you want them to become or the kind of world you wish for them? How has the story shaped them? How do you know?

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Read Glausiusz's essay and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by December 1, 2017, for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note "November Prompt" in your subject line. Please do not attach the essay but paste the response in the body of the email.


Susan Bruns Rowe lives in Boise, Idaho, and has a child in college and one in high school. She has an MFA in creative writing from Boise State University and teaches memoir for The Cabin and The Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning. Her writing has appeared in Creative Nonfiction, The American Oxonian, Penny, and the book, Fighting the World’s Fight: Rhodes Scholars in Oxford and Beyond.


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