Throw me Thursday: What they didn’t say

I spread creamy peanut butter and bumbleberry jam on whole wheat tortillas to toast on the griddle; shred carrots, slice and steam them; core apples–sometimes red, sometimes green– and pour small cups of milk. Tomorrow, I will make stacks of pancakes from a store of flour, a teaspoon of sugar, a dash of salt. I am proud of my pancakes, they rise and puff flecked blue and red or spread into an indelible pumpkin orange. We eat them late in the morning. I drink hot, black coffee.

What they did not tell me about growing up is that it doesn’t really happen, that playing house and make-believe and doing craft projects is another way of going on. I pull weeds and feel dirt squish, crumble, fall; rake leaves into a mound of whisper and hush.

If I haven’t grown up yet, I never will.

What they did not tell me about writing is its intrinsic need to be understood, to be specific, clear. I never chose writing, it’s the simplest thing I know to do. I’d rather be a carpenter, a plumber, an ant. I don’t seek out story. I seek release.

What they did not tell me about wearing black is that it’s safe to be dark. And it’s warm. That on some strange day mid-morning, I would be caught in a parking lot with a plastic bag of colored chalk and a man would approach, “Excuse me,” he would say, “I find you very attractive, is there any chance you’re single?” I’d laugh then, still walking, certain he’d lost a bet. “No. I’m engaged,” I’d say and flash an emerald ring. They did not tell me I’d remember this later while hunched at the dining room table gorged on coffee an hour after we’d eaten all the tortillas from the plate.

From Shawna Kenney (@shawnajkenney ) “@PennyJars My fave writing prompts to give students are: ‘I remember…’ & ‘What they don’t tell you about ___ is…'”  Both of these prompts are terrible fun. Care to take a stab in the comments section?


About E. Victoria Flynn

E. Victoria Flynn is a mother and a writer living in Southern Wisconsin. Published in a variety of venues, Victoria is currently writing the first in a series of three fantasy novels based on Cornish folklore. When not taking part in a shrieking dance party or engrossed in her own little fictions, Victoria is keen on art, the natural world and people unafraid to explore their own brilliance.
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8 Responses to Throw me Thursday: What they didn’t say

  1. Beth Hoffman says:

    This is wonderful! One of my favorites that you’ve written. Loved this line: “What they did not tell me about growing up is that it doesn’t really happen…”

    So true!

    • pennyjars says:

      This is such a great writing prompt. I spent a lot of time free writing the things they don’t tell you and just kept coming back to that line. It feels true to me!

  2. Lisa says:

    Oh, Victoria, just when I think I couldn’t like one of these TMT pieces any more than I already do, you write one like this! There is so much I like: the line that Beth quoted, the descriptions of food so real that my stomach is growling, but especially “What they did not tell me about growing up is that it doesn’t really happen…”

    Beautiful. Affirming.

  3. kario says:

    Lovely! I, too, am discovering that this whole “grown up” thing is a misnomer. I learn more now every day than I ever did when I was a kid (I think – sometimes I can’t remember that far back). 😉

    • pennyjars says:

      Kari, I sometimes think things are more fun than as a kid too, because we don’t have to ask permission for the ice cream sundaes and Ferris wheels. 🙂

  4. This line is a keeper as well “rake leaves into a mound of whisper and hush” – love it
    Your description of coffee makes us want to drink more, maybe we won’t quit afterall… 🙂

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