Word Prompt: Swing | Story Prompt: from the book “The Orphan’s Tale” by Pam Jenoff

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“It is not quite dawn when I climb the ladder to the trapeze in near darkness, the entire chapiteau lit only by a single spluttering bulb that someone had forgotten to turn off. From the benches the big top appears magnificent, but up here the fabric is faded and around the edges the tassels frayed. Old music, tinny like that of the carousel at the end of the midway, plays in my mind. I see my brothers, teasing one another as they prepared to perform. The air seems to dance with the ghosts of my family.

I take hold of the bar and jump, flying through the air. I am ignoring my own admonishment to Noa never to fly alone. I have no choice, though. I can no longer perform, but I cannot stay on the ground. “You are addicted to the adrenaline,” Peter has accused me more than once. I want to argue, but it is true. There is a moment as I stare down from the board, the split second before I let go, where I am always certain I am going to die. That clarity – the focus of that moment – is what I miss most about not performing, more so than the adulation of the crowd or anything else.”


U-Turn – MEC 2017

She moved into the fast lane on the highway. There was no one behind when she checked her mirrors and she thought, there’s a sign. Signaling left, she moved the car into the exit lane, and then into the short turning strip between the southbound and northbound lanes. Coming to a full stop, she took a deep breath and checked in with her body. The tension she had felt was dissipating. Her shoulders were starting to relax and drop. Her stomach was settling, and her mind was growing calm and more quiet. Taking one last check for traffic, an errant motorcycle perhaps, and finding none, which she again took as a sign but really was not so odd for this quiet time of the morning, she slowly eased her vehicle into the northbound lanes and accelerated.

The sky on her right was lightening up, the white of the clouds were just beginning to reflect bits of golden sunlight from the sun which had not yet appeared over the horizon. She cruised along, tears streaming down her face, tears of relief. Tears of a decision finally made. As the first light from the sun appeared, like an eye blinking open for the first time, a new movement caught her attention. From the lake, a flock of Canada Geese lifted, honking, forming a big V for their own flight north, their V for her one last sign – V for Victory.


Can “swing” be about changing our minds? About changing direction? Or could it be about finding the balance between two places? Might it be about how we continually move in order to find a place where we feel most “at home” … and somehow that place moves and shifts as we change and move? We’re swinging into summer now, full speed ahead! Share your thoughts below!

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