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 Lania Knight’s essay, “Drink Me,” and Christie Megill’s essay, “Books Bind Us.”
In both Lania Knight’s essay, “Drink Me,” and Christie Megill’s essay, “Books Bind Us,” the authors write of gifts their children have given them. Knight’s daughter releases her from a lifelong sense of shaming—from her own mother, from new acquaintances, from writers of plays and literature—over her femaleness, her desire to be pretty. “She offered a gift—we want to be pretty, and that’s okay,” Knight writes. “Or we want to be strong. Or we want to have sex, and that’s okay. It doesn’t matter all that much what anyone else thinks. What questions they ask.”
Megill’s son gifts her the opportunity to relive her own childhood experiences, particularly those of venturing into new literary territory. “I see so much of myself in him,” she writes, “so much of the child I once was. As he grows up, I relive elements of my own childhood. There is mourning there, a sadness at having moved on, perhaps even a sadness at knowing that his childhood will all too soon come to an end as well. Yet the books we read together keep us both tethered to the realm of magical childhood.”
Often as parents we feel like vending machines, giving and giving and giving to our children. But it is the gifts our children give to us—an insight into ourselves or the world, an opportunity to see the things from a child’s perspective, a pebble from the beach—that are often the most poignant and valuable. Write about a gift you have received from your child—whether it’s a tangible object or a new way of seeing things. What does this gift mean to you? How did it alter or reinforce your relationship with your child?
Read Knight’s and Megill’s essays and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by March 29, 2016 for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note “March Prompt” in your subject line.