WRITING PROMPT FROM RUTH BEHAR
I love Margaret Atwood’s essay, “Nine Beginnings,” which is a piece she literally constructed from nine different beginnings in response to the question, “Why do you write?” She felt stuck that she couldn’t write a full-length essay on the topic, because she doesn’t like to write about writing, so she joined together her nine beginnings and that became the essay. Brilliant move! Here is a link to Atwood’s essay
For this prompt, I ask that you write an essay or poem in response to this question: “Why do you want to write about your ‘grabbed’ experience?”
Stitch the story together by connecting your different beginnings – they can be nine beginnings, as with Atwood, or fewer or more, as you wish.
Imagine you are writing a poem to a snail. The snail’s interest in your life is minimal, but it likes your voice, which echoes in its shell. And it savors the sound qualities of language: alliteration, assonance, rhythm. It doesn’t care what you tell it, just how you do. Tell it your experience in words that please you. Rhyme or don’t rhyme, as you like.
What words that have hurt you, or were meant to? List the ones you remember. How do they fit together? Do they represent a time in your life? A relationship? A place? Could any of them start a poem? Or end one?
Imagining you are writing a letter to one other person can be a good way to start sharing an experience, with an immediate feeling of intimacy and safety. Because “grabbed” experiences are universal in the world and history, these prompts also refer to time and space, which may help to frame the experience.
Imagine you are writing to a woman or man living 100 years from now. What do you want her/him to know about your “grabbed” experience?
Imagine you are writing to a suffragette or any other feminist who came before you.
How would you describe your “grabbed” experience to her?
Imagine you are writing about your experience to women or men in other countries.
Imagine you are writing to your younger self, who had the experience, or to your older self, who has healed from it.
GRABBED Writing Prompts
Writing Prompts to get your creativity flowing