Watershed moment . . . Prompt #57

This prompt is inspired by Ianthe Brautigan from her Writers Forum workshop.

Draw a circle with radiating arms, ending in circles (see below).

In the center circle, write a note about a watershed moment where nothing was the same after that: A pivotal moment.

Write details on the radiating circles. Include as many circles as you want for details.

Write into the questions  . . . how did this moment shape me? How did this affect the rest of my life?

Use this prompt to spark a freewrite.

When you are finished with freewriting on this prompt, if you keep a journal, use that for details to flesh out the story.

water circles new

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  1. mgilles

    It was the night of January 12, 2014. Just over three months had passed since I moved back to Sacramento from Santa Rosa for my new finance job. Still full of naiveté and the rambunctious youth of a man in his mid-twenties, my most common concern was finding some existentialist answer to my life. People might be surprised, though my few friends weren’t, to find out that just a week before, I was about to punch a train ticket to Portland but I got cold feet and backed out because of the price. All day I’d been sitting around my apartment, nothing accomplished aside from watching a soccer game and the NFL football playoffs. Instead of going out to get some bread for lunch the next day, I decided to walk down the street and take up a post at my new favorite coffee shop around the corner. I hadn’t even eaten dinner yet, but the microwavable macaroni from a late lunch was still digesting, so I wasn’t necessarily hungry anyway. On my way, as I walked down the alley between P and Q, I looked up at the sky and began to dream as I always do and let my thoughts wander as they so often tend to. The moon was brilliant, not quite full, but brilliant like a porcelain button on some black blanket covering the night sky. It was precisely at that moment, rapt in simple awe, that I suspected the moon’s beauty was some sort of ulterior motive. Something is behind the moon, something unknown and ever-present. The watchful eye in the sky holds a constant gaze on our world, making sure the people do exactly as they’re supposed to, or at least waiver just enough to stay inside the realm of acceptability. The moon keeps watch on us for the night shift, and as the earth warms and awakens each day, the sun takes over and keeps the same constant gaze. Always we are in-check, the sun and moon never breaking from their reports on the happenings of humanity. But whose eyes are these? Answering this question is my new concern. I am no longer searching for my individual answer, because that is selfish. I am now concentrating on this effort; to find an answer much broader, much fuller, and much deeper. Though I have a feeling it may be a fruitless, endless journey it is my journey nonetheless. Thus, existentialism still rules my life, which may less of mine and more of something else’s after all.

  2. Kathy Myers

    “a porcelain button on some black blanket” Oh my, you can certainly turn a phrase. You describe in this piece the “existential” angst that troubles everyone at some point when we seek to answer the unanswerable philosophic questions. You give us a setting that is very concrete and down to earth (watching the playoffs, need to get bread) that contrasts well with the abstract “big questions” that the narrator contemplates. There is a mindful observation expressed here as the awareness of the moon is keeping watch. With the last line “less of mine and more of someone else’s” you could relate to the fact that the only light that the moon has is reflected off the sun. And it does all right I’d say. Good job.

  3. Pat Tyler

    When I was a teenager in the 1950’s I wore Pendleton plaid skirts and short-sleeved pullover sweaters or long-sleeved button-down-the-front sweaters in matching cashmere, with brown and white saddle oxfords and white bobby sox. You can see from the pictures in my old year books from the early 1950’s that this was the outfit of choice at Petaluma High School.
    I remember working all summer at Vonsen Hay and Grain in the office and in the retail store so that I could buy at least two skirts and two sweater sets for the fall semester. Everyone wore them despite the September heat. Three outfits would have been even better. The rich kids had at least five varieties – a different outfit for each day of the week. But two was the absolute minimum requirement – everyone needed one outfit to wear while their other one was at the cleaners.
    My parents encouraged me to work for what I wanted or needed. All my friends had part-time jobs that kept them busy after school and on weekends. When I purchased what I wanted I don’t remember my parents questioning my taste. Counter-culture clothing, including wearing less and less of it, hadn’t become popular yet. And by the time the 1960’s rolled around I was a stay-at-home wife and mother, which most women were in that era. I wore jeans and tee shirts at home and slacks and sweaters when I went to town. Our 1950’s bodies were tastefully covered at all times. This was not true for the girls of my daughters’ generation.
    Barb would often have her turtle neck removed from beneath her tank top and her skirt rolled up at the waist till the hem nearly reached her crotch before she reached the school bus stop. Today she spends her life in uniform as an international flight attendant. Whodathunk?
    Marg, who came along later in my life was my first child inspired by the counter-culture trends.
    One early morning I arrived home following my night shift at the Sebastopol group home at the moment she began descending our back stairs. Obviously my Dad (and night-shift babysitter) had either been oblivious to her fashion-statement of the day or simply had not seen it at all.
    I wasn’t surprised by the mismatched clothing, the weird hairdo, or the army boots – but my father’s long-johns, peeking out from beneath her skirt and reaching to her boot tops was more than I could tolerate.
    “What are you doing?” I pleaded. “You’re going to be late for the school bus. Get dressed!”
    “I am dressed,” she replied. “This is what everybody’s wearing.” And off she trotted up the driveway. My heart sank.
    That’s the day her unique fashion trend (and my fight against it) began for real.
    Thank God, when she grew up, she became so fashionable she was more than acceptable – even in her home city, the fashion capital of the USA – Hollywood.
    Another life lesson learned – who we are as adolescents is not always who we become as adults.
    So, mothers of the world … relax!

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