So, I got the prompt from Jess’s blog followthevoid, which you guys should check out if you haven’t already. She runs writing workshops and her posts are always an interesting read.
She spoke about writer’s block in the particular post with this prompt…those days where you just can’t seem to put anything that seems of note onto paper…I think we all have them!
Anyway, I didn’t set myself any rules for this one, it’s ended up about 500 words and was untimed. I’m not sure where the ideas came from, this isn’t part of a bigger story or anything at present, but I feel perhaps this short piece could turn into something bigger? See what you think!
When she thought of home, she thought not of her mother’s beautiful suburban mansion or her father’s cluttered apartment, where her younger brother still lived. Nor did Harriet think of her own tiny studio flat, from where she was desperately trying to carve out a living from selling her artwork.
She thought, instead, of the tumbledown cottage in the countryside where all four of them had been happy. Despite her mother’s claim that she hadn’t ‘been happy in a long time’, when she was trying to justify her stupid affair, Harriet did not think this was true, unless ‘long time’ meant ‘a few months’. Her mother wasn’t a good enough actress to fake joy for years. That was why she had been found out only weeks after starting the affair.
At least the divorce had been an amicable one. This was, Harriet knew, due to her father’s impossibly calm personality. Normally, she admired this quality, but was very annoyed when it led to his offer of moving out, because she knew what would happen shortly afterwards – and it did. Her mother sold the cottage, which fetched a pretty price thanks to its location.
Harriet was heartbroken when she saw the ‘sold’ sign, when she realised she would never again be able to call the cottage home, and still felt as though she was grieving for a lost family member four weeks on. She had been refusing to answer all calls from her mother since. She loved her mother dearly, but she couldn’t forgive her mistakes just yet. Harriet’s father, of course, understood this feeling completely but encouraged her to let go of her anger, as he had done. Her brother, at sixteen, didn’t entirely understand but had kindly provided her a shoulder to cry on.
Home is supposed to be where the heart is, and she knew it was silly to have been so attached to the cottage, but she couldn’t help it. It held so many memories; she had helped her brother learn to walk in that living room, painted her first watercolour on an easel in that kitchen (it had the best light), been tucked into bed by each of her parents countless times in her bedroom…her mother didn’t think the same way. To her, there was a profit to be had and a new purchase to be made, and that was it.
On a day during the fifth week after seeing the ‘sold’ sign, after a notable absence of calls from her mother (she had been calling daily up until three days prior), Harriet decided to take her father’s advice and ring her. She had not been a bad mother by any means, and the fact that her marriage had failed and that she thought quite differently to her daughter about the cottage didn’t mean that all bridges needed to be set alight. It was time for Harriet to hear her mother’s side of the story, and maybe start on a path to reconciliation.
All constructive/polite feedback welcome, as always 🙂
Thanks for stopping by!
8 thoughts on “Writing Prompt Exercise: ‘Home’”
I wonder if the mother sold the cottage for purely financial gain. I would think that the cottage harbors a lot of emotions and memories that are painful now that her marriage is over. If I were in the mother’s position, I might want to start my new single life in a new place, one that isn’t haunted by the memories of my former husband. Of course, since this is from the perspective of the daughter who is upset, I can understand why the mother is painted in a more selfish light.
LikeLiked by 2 people
Ooh, I like that! Thanks for the insightful comments 🙂 This might be a good one to develop further looking at the mother’s PoV too. I might do a future piece during same time frame but from mum’s perspective 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
That would be super interesting!
LikeLiked by 1 person
I agree with Jess – I love reading flawed, human characters so it would be really interesting to see how the mum is feeling after her affair as she witnesses the effect on her home and family. Could turn out quite dark though, by in fiction that’s fine by me! 🙂
LikeLiked by 1 person
*but in fiction that’s fine by me 🙂
Thanks Yusra 🙂 I’m glad this piece is sparking curiosity – will definitely do a follow up from mum’s perspective 😀