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.
And who knows? Maybe you’ll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you’ll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you’ll enjoy re-reading it months–and years–down the road.
Consider this from “Mother Goose Makeover: A Sign of the Times,” an essay written by Bruce Lansky in 2006:
I knew my children would love the charming names and language play—Peter Piper, Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary—and I knew the memorable rhythm and rhyme patterns would quickly find “parking places” in their brains, just as they had in mine.
But I couldn’t overlook the violent, scary, mean-spirited, or just plain weird aspects of many of the rhymes, so I eventually got out of the habit of reading Mother Goose to my children. When I talked to other parents about my experience with Mother Goose rhymes, I discovered I wasn’t alone. A few enjoyed passing on the traditional rhymes to their children, but a significant number either let their books gather dust on their bookshelves or revised the rhymes so their children would have positive bedtime-reading experiences.
For literature to live, it has to stand the test of time. Nursery rhymes have certainly been remembered and shared for generations, but I think they’re beginning to fall into disuse because parents are uncomfortable or bored with them.
Lansky also writes that he wanted “to give his children a world in which fairness, safety, and love were reliable undergirding.” In 2004 and 2006, he published two anthologies—Mary Had a Little Jam and Peter Peter Pizza-Eater— of rewritten nursery rhymes.
Read the entire essay here.
Journal Entry: What nursery rhymes did you chant as a child? Why have–or haven’t—you shared them with your child? Then, pick one Mother Goose nursery rhyme and rewrite it with your child.
Do YOU have a writing prompt to share with Literary Mama readers? Send your 150- to 300-word narrative and associated writing prompt to lmblogeditor (at) literarymama (dot) com. We’d love to read your ideas!