quaranTEEN voices Writing Prompt: 'Last Times'

News —— April 27, 2020

For this week’s quaranTEEN voices, special guest author, Amanda Gorman, joins us to help write and revise our stories through the prompts exploring “Last Times” below! Gorman is a poet and activist from LA. She’s known for her work on the issues of oppression, feminism, race, and marginalization. She’s also the first ever person to be named National Youth Poet Laureate!

Prompt 1: Write about the last time you were angry
This is a prompt to get you to dig into your emotions, and to let them flow rapidly onto the paper. As you write, recall not only why you were angry, but how it felt to have that anger inside you. There are a variety of ways to experience rage–not just emotionally, but physiologically/physically (did your blood feel hot? Was your throat tight? Did your fingers twitch as if playing keys). Fully allow yourself to remember the sensations, and put them to pressure. Just as a forewarning, this exercise tends to get people to tap into some deep emotions.

If you need a cool-down session after letting yourself go red with fury, look no further than the exercise below!

Prompt 2: Write about the last time you were dead wrong
This is a similar exercise, yet it draws on a few different dimensions of emotions. As you write, think about your mistake, and the journey, process, or moment that brought you to realize that you were wrong. When was the moment when your mind-light switched on, enabling you to see things in a new way? What do you think you could’ve done differently? And what are some reasons you have for forgiving yourself for your error, even now? This exercise isn’t about blaming yourself, but revisiting a memory (even if painful) to reflect on how it has taught you something new and expanded your thinking.

Be sure to sign up for our newsletter HERE to receive weekly prompts and other virtual youth writing opportunities right to your inbox! On Wednesday we’ll send out a few ideas to help you revise your pieces. Sign up to talk to Amanda Gorman and share your writing with other quaranTEEN’s on Friday HERE!