Reading & Writing

Writing Challenge: Micro Memoirs

Some of you know I’ve been posting writing prompts on Wednesdays for a while now; sometimes I post whatever I produced from that inspiration, as well. At this point, I’ve posted so many that it seems whatever I come up with is a variation on something we’ve done before.

Now, I present to you what I’ll call writing challenges.

Of course, you could say that a prompt and a challenge are one and the same. Some of the prompts have certainly been challenging.


We’ll begin this series of challenges with something I’ve been working on in my head but haven’t yet put down on paper. It’s part memoir, part poetry, part flash fiction. Like so:

writing venn diagram.png

It’s a pretty simple concept, and something I’ve been trying to add to my daily journaling. Focus on a small moment from your life–not an insignificant moment, but a brief one–and write it out in as few words as possible, with as much impact as possible. The idea is to focus sharply on one thing, to find the importance in small moments, and to work on distilling language.

An example of my own:

“What places are we going to?” she asks, first thing. I’m halfway sleeping, eyes crusted, nose chapped. She needed me last night. She needs me most nights: I am her teddy bear.

She crawls over me and slides out of her bed, over the mountain of piled-up tissues, to snap on the light. I close my eyes and focus, willing the allergy pills to work, my sinuses to clear.

She is two years old and relentless. “What places are we going to?” She’s worn that Moana nightdress three nights in a row. “What places are we going to?”

“Sleep,” I groan, turning over. “We’re going to sleep.”

The screams call her brother to us, the familiar rhythm of his footfalls pounding the carpet.

We are going nowhere. We are doing nothing. We will watch too much TV and eat too much junk and use too many tissues. We will fight and whine, beg for a trip to the candy store, the mall, put on our shoes and wait by the door, go to the garage and wait for something to change, come back inside, arrange chairs, create a car of our own if no car is coming for us, or a train, or a plane flying to Grandma’s house.


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