“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.” –Saul Bellow –>click to tweet.

On Fridays around these parts we like to write. Not for comments or traffic or anyone else’s agenda. But for pure love of the written word. For joy at the sound of syllables, sentences and paragraphs all strung together by the voice of the speaker.

We love to just write without worrying if it’s just right or not. For five minutes flat.

Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat on the prompt “After” with no editing, tweaking or self critiquing.

2. Link back here and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in my blog’s footer}.

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard.

OK, are you ready? Give me your best five minutes for the prompt:



I read something someone wrote and it reminded me. It took me deep down a rabbit trail I haven’t visited in a while. My mom died when I was 18. When I turned 36 it felt like there was a big black line painted in tar across my before and after. 18 years with her and 18 without her. I have a daughter now – I named her Zoe, which means “life” – because that’s what I want these next 18 to be about. I’m counting them with her. And holes that joy used to slip through are slowly closing over.

I’m a survivor of the after.

This hurt place that left a scar that pulled deep across my ribcage is healed now. I cover it up with clothes and most days I don’t even feel it itch. But it’s there. It’s there waiting for the woman who sits down next to me or writes up her words on a screen. The hard song of the motherless daughter. When I hear it my scar throbs. It throbs hard through my clothes and I have to stop everything and just let myself remember. These are the things we can’t heal. These are the necessary bridges. Our scars. And how they illustrate something we share in common with strangers better than any words.

I never say it will be OK. I always agree that it is terrible and hard and lots more awkward than you can imagine. It’s never easy to explain what you’ve lost to someone who hasn’t lost it. Pity and embarrassment get in the way. But when you spot someone else’s scar, you can just say it without worrying about how it sounds. Because they already know. They’re living in the after too.