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 Deborah Serra’s Bouncing Off Rock Bottom.
“My software didn’t work with this culture’s hard drive,” writes Deborah Serra in her Literary Reflections essay “Bouncing Off Rock Bottom.” Serra elaborates with a stark comparison of her path to that of her sister, who adhered closely to the “American Program”: college, graduate school, corporate career. Serra’s lifestyle, in contrast, was “unruly, relatively dangerous, and blindly nomadic.” After attending no fewer than six different colleges, she collected a bachelor’s degree and blew through a string of jobs, eventually ending up in the unemployment line and back at home with her parents.
Recalling her childhood dreams, Serra turned to writing as respite from her feelings of failure, finding comfort in her own imagination. Then, in true Frost-like, road less-traveled fashion, Serra became savvy about the workings of the television industry, temped at studios and networks, and mastered the art of writing screenplays through informal yet intense study. Twenty-five years later, she has the privilege of looking back on a successful, lucrative career in the film industry that allowed her the flexibility to prioritize motherhood and be present for precious family moments. What’s more, her sister still doesn’t understand how she did it.
In what way have you, either voluntarily or involuntarily, abandoned or diverged from a prescribed or preapproved path in favor of a journey into uncertainty? How has this departure from the norm informed and impacted who you are as a mother?
Read Serra’s essay and submit a 500-word response to this writing prompt by June 30, 2020, for feedback from our editors. Email it to LMreflections (at) literarymama (dot) com and note “June Prompt” in your subject line. Please do not attach the essay; rather, paste the response in the body of the email.