Mom story

MOTHER STORIES: STORY SAMPLES AND PROMPTS

In this workshop we will be writing 4 total stories. They can be fiction or Creative Non-Fiction or memoir straight-up, it’s completely up to you… You can use this workshop in any way that works for you! 400 words max. 

I hope you will feel creatively inspired and will explore and take creative risks.  

If you are stuck getting the material out, I find these unblockers to be helpful:

-Begin freewriting with the phrase “It had something to do with…” or “It had nothing to do with…” or “I remember…”  or “That was the year we…”

and let your pen take over from there.

-Alternatively, begin writing about a character by using a slanted point of view, for example, writing in negation.. this can work very well:

i.e.

“Her mother was not a girl scout and her mother was not a nun and her mother was not a simple person and her mother was not a dog lover…”

See if these simple techniques can help you unlock your stories..

Below are story samples and some open-ended prompts created from them.  Only use the prompts if you feel they are helpful. The prompt words are optional but they can be very helpful for writers. If you’d like to give them a try, see if you can incorporate one or all of the optional prompt words in your first drafts.. They often take us to unexpected places. Another way to work with prompt words is to ‘borrow’ 5 words from a sample story. 

“The Bug Man” by Meg Pokrass

published in The Best Small Fictions 2018, also appears in “The Loss Detector” (Bamboo Dart Press 2021)

 

(Author note) This is my story and it is a CNF piece. This situation really happened, although I did not have a brother.We did have a “Bug Man” in our lives, a handsome and kind man who came out to our house and sprayed for spiders. My mother was a realtor, and she recommended him for all of her clients. When he died, my mother and I were heartbroken. My romantic fantasy (as a child) about the bug man marrying my mother was real, and it lived in my mind… What the reader learns from the story, without saying so directly, is that there the child has no father, and the mother is lonely and stressed. If I had come out and said that the children had no father, that the mother was lonely, etc., I believe the story would have lost its pull.

Prompt: Write a story involving a young or teenage character and their relationship with their mother. Bring a feeling of loss into the story. The loss can be subtle or enormous. Let the feeling of loss invade the story like a disease.

Optional prompt words: tuck, coffee, rust, window, fur

“Mother” by Grace Paley

I can’t read this story without crying. How Paley captures these moments that are so ‘normal’ with a parent, memorable in that they will never happen again, everyday mother moments that later in life, feel priceless and haunting. I admire the way the mother dies smack in the middle of the story, but instead of ending it there, Paley haunts us with the final memory that feels as if it hangs in the air like smoke.

Prompt: Give a mother character a thing to do that they always do, such as standing in a doorway or putzing in the kitchen. Show us the mother character in this place or doing this thing. See what evolves. Optional prompt words: trash, ride, mess, promise

Why I Love Penguins” by MFC Curry Feeley from Ghost Parachute

Write a story about a quirky and memorable mother character who defies convention. Write the story through the eyes of the child. Show us a defining moment for this character. You can take this into surreal or fantasy territory.

Be sure to highlight their oddities and show us a luminous or ‘classic’ moment in which one or more characters are the most themselves. Optional prompt words: hook, walk-in, sheer, burlap, string

My Mother’s Dress Shop by Jeff Friedman

this is interesting because the mother never actually appears in the piece…just the dress shop and what’s in it…

Optional prompt words: cutting, grade, red, chest, bang

This is How I Remember It by Betsey Kemper

Write a story about a memory a character has of their mother during a difficult or traumatic moment in life. Optional prompt words: bruise, shape, blossom, mingle

“Mother’s Mating Call” by Meg Pokrass from Atticus Review

The vulnerable mother or the unwise mother

Write a story about a character who is trying to deal with a vulnerable mother who is in a new phase of her life. Themother may be ill, or may be divorced and joining a dating site, etc. Alternatively, write a story about a mother who is experiencing an interesting “new life chapter”. Make room for humor in this story. Optional prompt words: stick-on, pencil, open, picnic

“Lemons” by Francine Witte from Emerge Lit Journal.

Write a mother story, involving a surreal “lesson” a mother tries to teach her offspring. Go crazy with metaphor here! Let this one grow out of a dreamy feeling about a mother character, and don’t plan where it will go. It may be helpful to write this one when you first wake up or when you are tired at night, when your inner critic has gone to sleep… 

Optional prompt words: hiss, sign, palm, joke, flick

Deleuze is my boyfriend – Failure Forthcoming

Failure Forthcoming
— Read on deleuzeismyboyfriend.com/

M Kitchell

Heaven by the talking heads

Everyone is trying to get to the bar

The name of the bar, the bar is called Heaven

The band in Heaven, they play my favorite song

They play it once again, they play it all night long

Heaven (Heaven) is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happens

Heaven (Heaven)

Heaven is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happens

There is a party, everyone is there

Everyone will leave at exactly the same time

It’s hard to imagine that nothing at all

Could be so exciting, could be so much fun

Yeah, Heaven

Heaven is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happens

Yeah, Heaven

Heaven is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happens

When this kiss is over, it will start again

It will not be any different, it will be exactly the same

It’s hard to imagine that nothing at all

Could be so exciting, could be this much fun

Heaven (Heaven) is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happens

Heaven

Heaven is a place

A place where nothing

Nothing ever happen

If I die, I hope I get to see Myrna Loy andDoris Day and Judy Garland in heaven. I love Garland doing you will never walk alone and I don’t Care. And Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. I love the Thin Man films.

Life′s like that, delicious with clause

You never get the truth, just promises galore

Fool at the heart, don’t look down

Everybody loves you when you′re playing the clown

Oh, oh, mother dear

Don’t let them shoot your kite down

Oh, oh, mother dear

Don’t let them shoot your kite down

Don’t let them shoot your kite

Out of the sky

Another year came, glorious sun

I tried to be an acrobat before I could run

The afternoon came, trumpets play

Oh, oh, maybe I′ll get outta here one day

Father, oh, father

Everybody′s young and far too serious

Oh, oh, mother dear

Don’t let them shoot my kite down

Oh, oh, father, yeah

You′d let them shoot me down for sure

Another year

Don’t let them shoot my kite

Out of the sky

Life′s like that

Oh, oh, mother dear

Don’t let them shoot my kite down

Oh, oh, mother dear

Don′t let them shoot me out of the sky

Oh, mother dear

Don’t let them shoot your kite down

Out of the sky

Don’t let them shoot your kite down

Out of the sky

Don′t let them shoot your kite

Out of the sky

Don′t let them shoot your kite

Life’s like that, delicious with clause (Out of the sky)

I bought four miniature kites. I keep buying three or four of things. Books mostly.

Not Waving but Drowning

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BY STEVIE SMITH

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Nobody heard him, the dead man,   

But still he lay moaning:

I was much further out than you thought   

And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking

And now he’s dead

It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,   

They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always   

(Still the dead one lay moaning)   

I was much too far out all my life   

And not waving but drowning.

I’m dying—and not waving. Drowning mostly. Dying at the beach seems good. I wish I could have the oak tree—that deborah bought me. It’s my favorite tree.

With my hair grown long

And my face turning ashen

A sudden downpour

Basho

“The present extends between two eruptions and of need, coincides with a duration of contemplation.”(Deleuze).

1)Nancy Greewald, the first girl I fell in love with in elementary school. When we moved away, Nancy came to visit me.

2) Lyrics

*Bells*

[Verse 1]

Mother, you had me but I never had you

I wanted you, you didn’t want me

[Refrain]

So I, I just got to tell you

Goodbye, goodbye

[Verse 2]

Father, you left me but I never left you

I needed you, you didn’t need me

[Refrain]

So I, I just got to tell you (Mmm)

Goodbye, goodbye

Giveon ‘Lie Again’ Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified

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Giveon ‘Lie Again’ Official Lyrics & Meaning | Verified

FEATURED VIDEOS

[Verse 3]

Children, don’t do what I have done

I couldn’t walk and I tried to run

[Refrain]

So I, I just got to tell you

Goodbye, goodbye

[Outro]

Mama don’t go, Daddy come home

Mama don’t go, Daddy come home

Mama don’t go, Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

Mama don’t go! Daddy come home

3)

4)

5)

6)

7)

8)

9)

10)

“The rule is that one cannot go faster than one’s present.” (Deleuze)

I try to do Everything too fast. I need to slow down. Everything must be slower. Slowness should be my jam. Slow jam. From M. Kitchell below.

Mom Swan Shop Story

“That feature s its woven structure.” (Cixous from Neutre)

Story mom swan: mom trying to hatch a way to support us after my dad on Christmas in1985. 

Antique shops with two antique malls—the Sherman Oaks Antique Mall and cranberry House. But we had our own store, King’s Cross. The walls were painted with metal gold paint and oxblood paint with gold fleur de les. It was super toxic. We opened the day of the big earthquake. Everything glass broke. It was a mess. There was a small plastic Christ outside the store on the ground. He was wearing a red and white robe.  We opened the store. We weirdly made sales. 

“Dear Sassafrasss, Of course you can come home! What do you think you could do to yourself that I wouldn’t love my girl? I believe in you and I could go into some kind of business…maybe go into some kind of business. Maybe, have some kind of boutique with your weavings that hang and mine that serve a useful purpose (smile). 
“Even if Jesus will never be a swan. Horror.

“The lady in blue. The ladies first to each other,then gradually to the audience.  After the song peaks, the ladies enter I to a closed tight circle.

Lady in brown, and this is for colored girls who have considered suicide/but are moving to the ends of their own rainbows.”(Shange). 

Rainbows.  When my other found out I was gay; she said “I would rather take you out into a field and shoot you in the head than you be gay.”

Once in our store, I made out with my big dyke girlfriend in the front window on a white iron garden lounge chair.



“This book was born, child, eldest of all my books, living rising me from all my ashes, from Pompeii to Orleansville, from Ornasbruck to Chile. It relinks—it rereads—literally, its poetic parents, mingled song that it is, made up Geologicals recited in voices of Kleist or Klee or Jensen. The subject, the heroine, always comes back after a long parting in death or oblivion, whether she is her or him self, Gradiva, Eve, or me, or Josepha. Sending my sheddings. Its strring kin back into the world.” (Cixous from Neutre).

Lemon Mom Story

Kate Bush Under the Ivy

It wouldn’t take me long

To tell you how to find it,

To tell you where we’ll meet.

This little girl inside me

Is retreating to her favourite place.

Go into the garden.

Go under the ivy,

Under the leaves,

Away from the party.

Go right to the rose.

Go right to the white rose

(For me.)

I sit here in the thunder,

The green on the grey.

I feel it all around me.

And it’s not easy for me

To give away a secret–

It’s not safe,

But go into the garden.

Go under the ivy,

Under the leaves,

Away from the party.

Go right to the rose.

Go right to the white rose

(For me.)

It wouldn’t take me long

To tell you how to find it

If I should fall

I’ll lie in fields of clover

Basho

Buried under moss

And ivy leaves

But within the tomb of first prayer

Basho

Lemon Mom

Lemon Mom Story

I planted a lemon tree at my old house. Now my mom lives in the house. The lemon tree is covered in lemons. I planted a lemon tree here at this house. But it’s small. It’s not growing. It’s a sad sack of a tree. It’s a myer lemon tree. My mom has to have lemon on her fish. I was in French club in high school. My teacher was Billie Ray Hughes. He was gay. We made chicken with lemon. He took us to see French films. He would cry. He let us make up French names. My brother called himself Renee Goulet. We went to see Diva. A film I love. It’s about opera and music recordings.

Story for mom’s day

I wish for deborah that the B52s would get any older. They deserve to be inducted. She loves them. I want this for her. I will write them. I begged them to put Linda Rondstadt in—-

“Strobe Light”

Where’s my telephone?
Is that you baby? Yeah!
Got something to tell ya. Oh, what?
I wanna see ya tonight.
I want you to walk in the door.
I want you to lay on the floor.
Cause tonight’s the night.
We make love under a strobe light.
Underneath the strobe light.

Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Strobe light, wooooooah, strobe light, wooooooah, yeah!

Pulsin’ light goes to my head!
Everything I see is red!
Baby, when I kiss your hair,
I feel electricity in the air.

I’m gonna kiss your eyes. (gasp)
Then I’m gonna kiss your neck. (groan)
Then I’m gonna kiss your tummy. (oooh!)
Then I’m gonna kiss your PINEAPPLE! (shriek!)

Tonight’s the night for love under the light.
Strobe light, strobe light.
Underneath the strobe light.

Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Strobe light, wooooooah, strobe light, wooooooah, yeah!

I just wanna make love to you.
I just wanna make love to you.
Underneath the strobe light.
Strobe light! Strobe light! Strobe light!
Strobe light! Strobe light!
Strobe strobe strobe strobe strobe light.

“the real originality of an author is revealed only once we position ourselves within the point of view she herself she invented and from which the work becomes easy to read. Leading the reader by the hand. This is the mystery. Every new true work is truthful, easy and joyful.” Deleuze from Writing in Strobe.

Opening poem
Hurricanes floods earthquakes &blackouts
Natural disasters make us stay by someone
Stay by someone
Festive occasions
Stay here
By Ntozake Shange

Edge of a Clamshell
May4th: Word of the day is Clamshell; it takes a longtime to make a pearl.
But I did my core exercises without the sea or ocean. I can’t wait to see the ocean again. I should be making dinner. ? Deborah and I are perched at the edge of death each day. Yesterday ay Physical therapy, I had to do clamshell exercises—I told the guy, it would take a longtime to make a pearl. The edge of the abyss and void. I don’t want to be a veggie. No Teri Shiva. Deborah and I loved doing home improvements together. I need to paint all the interior doors, bathroom cupboards, and finish putting the Christmas’ decorations down. So, we face death. I must die; it will be a painful horrible death—burgers, fries, hotdogs and salads? I am watching a lot of MOTU. I just took a shower. It was exhausting. We have been together almost 24 years.
RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T TELL WHAT TI ME IT IS. THERAPY? I HAVE AN on-line shopping addiction. I have broken us. I need help.

Breathing Fire
My friend, writer, Vanessa Place, who wrote episodes of Xenia Warrior Princess said Lucy Lawless would spit lighter fluid on fire, in her own dining room. Its boing to be a hot summer.

When
I was working at the antique mall, Catherine Deneuve compared me to Bluebeard because I had all of these keys. It was funny. She had just lost the best actress Oscar the day before. She loved my mom’s Victorian garnet jewelry. I grew up reading Deneuve magazine until she sued them to change the name as not to be associated with lesbians. It was changed to Curve.

Deborah will always be the best mom I will ever know. This mothers’ Day, I am. Grateful for her. What should I make for dinner? I need to make better dinners. I sucked today.

End poem
My dreams run to meet Aunt Marie
My dreams run to meet ole sores
These stains and scars are mine
This is my space
I’m not movin
By Ntozake Shange

Story for mom’s day

I wish for deborah that the B52s would get any older. They deserve to be inducted. She loves them. I want this for her. I will write them. I begged them to put Linda Rondstadt in—-

“Strobe Light”

Where’s my telephone?
Is that you baby? Yeah!
Got something to tell ya. Oh, what?
I wanna see ya tonight.
I want you to walk in the door.
I want you to lay on the floor.
Cause tonight’s the night.
We make love under a strobe light.
Underneath the strobe light.

Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Strobe light, wooooooah, strobe light, wooooooah, yeah!

Pulsin’ light goes to my head!
Everything I see is red!
Baby, when I kiss your hair,
I feel electricity in the air.

I’m gonna kiss your eyes. (gasp)
Then I’m gonna kiss your neck. (groan)
Then I’m gonna kiss your tummy. (oooh!)
Then I’m gonna kiss your PINEAPPLE! (shriek!)

Tonight’s the night for love under the light.
Strobe light, strobe light.
Underneath the strobe light.

Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Wanna make love to you under the strobe light.
Strobe light, wooooooah, strobe light, wooooooah, yeah!

I just wanna make love to you.
I just wanna make love to you.
Underneath the strobe light.
Strobe light! Strobe light! Strobe light!
Strobe light! Strobe light!
Strobe strobe strobe strobe strobe light.

“the real originality of an author is revealed only once we position ourselves within the point of view she herself she invented and from which the work becomes easy to read. Leading the reader by the hand. This is the mystery. Every new true work is truthful, easy and joyful.” Deleuze from Writing in Strobe.

Opening poem
Hurricanes floods earthquakes &blackouts
Natural disasters make us stay by someone
Stay by someone
Festive occasions
Stay here
By Ntozake Shange

Edge of a Clamshell
May4th: Word of the day is Clamshell; it takes a longtime to make a pearl.
But I did my core exercises without the sea or ocean. I can’t wait to see the ocean again. I should be making dinner. ? Deborah and I are perched at the edge of death each day. Yesterday ay Physical therapy, I had to do clamshell exercises—I told the guy, it would take a longtime to make a pearl. The edge of the abyss and void. I don’t want to be a veggie. No Teri Shiva. Deborah and I loved doing home improvements together. I need to paint all the interior doors, bathroom cupboards, and finish putting the Christmas’ decorations down. So, we face death. I must die; it will be a painful horrible death—burgers, fries, hotdogs and salads? I am watching a lot of MOTU. I just took a shower. It was exhausting. We have been together almost 24 years.
RIGHT NOW, I CAN’T TELL WHAT TI ME IT IS. THERAPY? I HAVE AN on-line shopping addiction. I have broken us. I need help.

Breathing Fire
My friend, writer, Vanessa Place, who wrote episodes of Xenia Warrior Princess said Lucy Lawless would spit lighter fluid on fire, in her own dining room. Its boing to be a hot summer.

When
I was working at the antique mall, Catherine Deneuve compared me to Bluebeard because I had all of these keys. It was funny. She had just lost the best actress Oscar the day before. She loved my mom’s Victorian garnet jewelry. I grew up reading Deneuve magazine until she sued them to change the name as not to be associated with lesbians. It was changed to Curve.

Deborah will always be the best mom I will ever know. This mothers’ Day, I am. Grateful for her. What should I make for dinner? I need to make better dinners. I sucked today.

End poem
My dreams run to meet Aunt Marie
My dreams run to meet ole sores
These stains and scars are mine
This is my space
I’m not movin
By Ntozake Shange

Brain Tumor Nightmare

So I have always suffered migraines. But I had a toothache. I made a dental appointment. I went to work in the morning at kind of the wrong time. There was some lady in my classroom with my students. It was odd. I wasn’t feeling well. I called my family. They took me to the hospital. I waited for anMRI and other tests. They said I had to have brain surgery. I waited all day for surgery. I had a late night brain surgery. They took one giant tumor out. But one had to stay inside. I am doing radiation and chemo to kill the tumor. I don’t want to die. I’m only 55. I’m positive that they can kill it. The radiation is a burning white light. My head is bolted in a mask on a table. Each treatment is ten minutes. I’m taking a ton of meds. I exercise everyday and do my regular stuff. I have no memory loss. I feel good. Love, Tracy

Dream

Dream. With Oprah. Talking about the zombie apocalypse. Eating cookies that Susan Sarandon brought in-a layered drop cookie. Gail eating alone. Going to Germany. Bombings. The best SUV to get through the apocalypse. Yellow cheese on the middle of a bed. A hunk. Benicio Del Toro. A very high bed. Laundry room near. Washing bedding. Gail eating after Oprah. Oprah makes joke about driving into a ditch. You drive the car you desire into the medium ditch you deserve. It was something like that. No one caught it on the video phone. Anxiety about Gail eating without Oprah.

October Books and Reading

71728F64-EB45-4AF2-AE1C-713E66B64523Well I spent the summer trying to get rid of hundreds of books. And then I bought more books. I no longer understand anything. I love books. I read constantly. It’s all I care about—mostly. At the same time—so many books are garbage. Have no idea why we are here. There is only nothing—no point to anything. Creating something to gain immortality—seems okay. A book. More garbage. Nothing in life inspires me to keep on keeping on—