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Community Writing Project - Best of Week 1 and Next Week's Prompt


Every Monday, Waring’s Writing Department invites you to participate in its weekly writing project. 

Last week the prompt was: “It's likely we are all seeing much more of our family than we are used to. Think about a time during the past week when you interacted with someone at home in a way that was surprising, funny, or interesting. Describe that interaction. You might want to include details of setting, timing, or dialogue.”

At the bottom of this blogpost, you will find this week’s new prompt. Everyone is encouraged to participate alongside our students. Please submit your responses to Jill Sullivan (no more than 250 words) by each Friday.

Below are three of our favorite responses from last week.

Karin von Trotha (Grandmother of Jaolija von Trotha ’22)

First week of online school - all is new and we have to figure out how to find some routine - I am tense with all kinds of thoughts: what has to be done, what should, could, must be started or finished? We talk and somehow share some memories - I am tired, I have my to do list in my head - then Jaolija starts to hum - to sing, soft - remembering one song after the other from her childhood - and I just sit there and watch her - a beautiful inner smile on her face, peaceful and all in her own world - I am still and so grateful that our long and quiet hours at home give me this gift of listening - understanding.

And then she shows me a picture of herself as a little girl with blond braids, singing for her father. 

Alma Power ’23

We cruise down the highway; only occasionally we see another car coming down the other side. The GPS is shut off and I lean back in my seat. My mom driving, me next to her, and finally my dad behind me. He let me sit up front for once to see the views. The sun falls back behind the line of trees creating rays of golden light. My parents’ favorite old music plays softly, just loud enough to hear over the gentle hum of the engine. At some point we steer off the highway and onto the coastal road. All the little shops are closed but people wander the streets. The waves crash violently over the rocks and I spot a single surfer out at sea. He’s breaking the rules but at least he’s social distancing unlike the group of surfers another couple miles down. We continue on the windy road ten mph less than the speed limit. We have to pull over to let the annoyed cars behind us go ahead. Around every turn is another beautiful view. My mom’s favorite song comes on and I turn the volume up. She sings along with my dad who's off key as always but no one cares. I’m more happy than I have been in days. At some point we get hungry, which is the only thing that keeps us from driving to Canada, so we turn back. We get back onto the highway. The sun makes the tops of the trees glow red and I have to pull the visor down to shield my eyes. Birds soar overhead alone or in flocks. The steady movement of the highway makes me sleepy, so I rest my head against the cool windowsill. I can’t help but smile as I doze off. The familiar sound of my rocky driveway awakens me, the sun has just set. I wish I could stay in this car forever. It feels almost normal.

Lola Prendergast ’25

My father called me over to the benches, where the ground was covered in brick, where all of the parents sat. He said it was time to go home, for I had been playing back in the forests with my friends after school for too long. I was reluctant, but something caught my eye and distracted me from my argument. Behind my father and I, a group of mums sat, singing while strumming a small guitar like instrument. I had seen them before; these mothers often brought them to play together, but it wasn’t until that moment that I had recognised the desire within myself to play one of them. I turned to my father and said, “Can we get one of those?”

It was less of a question and more of a pitiful remark, for I doubted that I would receive a reply other than, “No.” However, to my suprise my father looked back at me and perhaps out of his own desire said, “Sure,” The shock of his answer was elating. I smiled, and we agreed to go and get one on the way home. I practically jumped into the car and together, we picked out one ukulele. 

It took me a while to learn how to play, but I never lost interest. A few years later, we decided it would be nice to get another one, so that he and I could play together, and after lots of convincing my mother, who had no say in the last purchase, agreed. However then there was a pause in our ukulele playing, for we all found that there wasn’t time in the day to sit together and sing.

During the first few weeks of quarantine, my family was searching for ways to keep each other busy, in particular things to do at night when we are all too exhausted to do something like play a board game. I came downstairs one evening, after finishing all of the things I had to do for school, to listen to my father play a song. A joy that had lain dormant for so long swelled up and filled the room, and so long as my father was strumming it remained there. I sat quietly next to him on the sofa, listening to the sounds, staring into the void, mumbling along to the words of each song silently. It has become routine now for my father to play, me to listen, then my mother to tell me to go to bed.

Community Writing Prompt - Week of April 6, 2020

The old saying goes, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining.’ What silver linings have you discovered over the past few weeks? Have you finally read Ulysses? Learned to knit? Solved your first Rubik’s Cube? Or learned something new about yourself? In 250 words or less, tell us your silver lining stories. In case you were wondering, both prose and poetry are eagerly accepted by the Writing Department.

Graham Pearsall
Written by Graham Pearsall

Waring School's Communications Manager