Sunday, May 5, 2019

Wording Wednesday Writing Prompt: A Happy Life

I'm a fan of prompt writing. It keeps the playful part of a writing life alive for me, letting me write something new with no expectations for its future.

Sometimes a piece that began as a prompt turns into something that I can expand upon and publish, but most often, it's about keeping in touch with my creative joy.

I write every day, but when you're working on something large-scale, it can become a slog, and leave you struggling to remember why you love this.

All that is a longwinded introduction to this piece. Fellow author Andy Brokaw is the host of a writing prompt each week. She calls it "Wording Wednesday" because the prompts are released each Wednesday.  You can check it out and participate here if it catches your fancy, too.

Here's this week's prompt and my take on it: "A Happy Life."

"Graniaile" by Nicole Chartrand
"Motherhood looks good on you." Giovanni waggled his thick eyebrows, making the baby laugh, a wet, sputtery giggle that left Louisa's shirt further dampened.

She grimaced down at the infant in her arms. "How can something be so cute and so repulsive at the same time?"

"Are you going to keep it?" Angelo came up beside his brother, swinging an arm over his shoulders even though he had to tiptoe to do it. Louisa inhaled so sharply she choked on a strand of her long auburn hair. The two brothers looked at each other and shrugged. Angelo sounded disappointed when he said, "Guess that's a 'no,' then?"

Louisa held the child out at arm's length, noticing that it wasn't only her shirt he'd left dampened. A circular stain expanded across the thigh of her trousers and a sea breeze lifted the scent of fresh urine to her nose. A life at sea meant that she was never completely dry, but in the few days since they'd rescued this baby from the remains of a shipwreck, she'd found whole new worlds of damp and sticky and moist. She looked at her crew. "That's a no. Keep heading for the convent."

She leaned to set the child inside a woven basket on the deck, something Giovanni had found and cleaned out to serve as a holding pen and a bed for the little one. When she tried to straighten, she found that the little boy had grabbed the laces of her blouse. He looked into her face, his eyes wide and clear, free of malice or sadness, light blue as the sky above them. He was beautiful.

If life had gone differently, she might well have had a boy like this of her own. A strong boy clinging to her skirt while she kept a cottage in the mountain village where she'd been raised herself. It might have been a happy life.

The child's grip was strong. She had to pry the pudgy fingers apart to extract herself. Angelo squatted down to offer the baby his finger to hold, distracting him before he could start to wail. Louisa walked to the rail and lifted her head into the wind, closing her eyes to feel the caress of the sea air on her skin.

Yes, it might have been a happy life, but, then, so was this one.


  1. Thanks for that little jaunt! And also for the link. I can see where it is fun to just indulge a bit in writing without it having a specific purpose as mine usually does :-) I'll check out that link :-) Maude