Today’s Writing Prompt #1

Hi All,

Our workshop includes writing prompts. Today’s prompt is to write a story about a bittersweet memory.

Here is a picture of a beach where many of my childhood memories were formed.

Use this for inspiration. Post your results here for feedback.

Don’t think or edit. Just write.  Best… Susan


One thought on “Today’s Writing Prompt #1

  1. Here is my response to today’s writing prompt. Feedback welcome.

    When my family visited Lake Michigan, it was typically sunny and hot. On this particular day, the clouds hung in the air filled with rain that refused to release and the wind blew in mild breezes.

    I was wearing a navy blue hooded sweatshirt, seersucker pedal pushers and canvas Keds without laces. My stringy brown hair blew in the wind. I brought my little brother to play in the beach while I sketched on my writing pad. Dad was on the beach with us filming with his camera. The overcast was perfect to create a melancholy scene. His own recovery loomed along with his tenuous mood. Every interaction was a struggle. I can understand this now as I reflect on my own recovery and how sometimes, my moods took away from truly enjoying beautiful family moments.

    The air was chilly. It had an edge, but the water was downright cold. My older brother thrashed and swam in the waves while my younger brother and I sat in the sand and the reeds peacefully sketching. As a child, I looked like one of those sixties’ portraits of the young girls with stingy hair and huge disproportionate eyes.

    Dad moved across the beach with his camera in an uncharacteristic state of bliss. These fleeting moments only happened when he was engaged in artistic pursuits. The light cast a perfect, melancholy stage for today’s events. Dad’s writing was his focus, but he was also a photographer, painter, musician and actor. He was in his very early days of sobriety and needed anything to keep his mind occupied.

    Unfortunately, his sadness pervaded the smiles of his children. Dad became very animated when talking about art. He wanted desperately to raise culturally aware, open-minded children. I could see this in his eyes even though I was too young to understand it. Another unfortunate trait that I had was my sensitivity to others’ emotions. I was an emotional sponge. I absorbed sadness, excitement, melancholy and fear that day on the beach.

    The memory is permanently recorded in my mind like a 35 mm reel-to-reel film complete with cinematic images and burned frames. Innocently, I mouthed, “I am sketching you” to my filming father. I had no understanding that I too would battle alcoholic demons, or that my older brother’s thrashing in the surf would become his battle and he would lose it before he was 25 or that my younger brother would always seek the love and guidance of his sister and absent father.

    The clouds shadowed the waves and the sand that day. My dad, brothers and I played peacefully, each in our own artistic fashion. Our moods and demons loomed, but each found a way to cope in our lives. It’s like the clouds knew of our sadness. The sun hid from our shared fate. Cloudy days make room for melancholy. They look into the future where we lose our tragically flawed heroes. They shelter us from too much happiness. They pave our roads to imaginative expression. The kind we can’t live with or live without.


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