Word Prompt: Forget | Story Prompt: from the book “The Heart of a Woman” by Maya Angelou

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“I said, “I’m getting a little bored sitting at home. I’ve worked all my life. So really, I thought maybe you might know how I could get a job. Just to have something to do.”

He relaxed and grinned. “You want a job? Nice women don’t work in Cairo. I thought you knew that. Why don’t you join one of the women’s organizations? Or set up a club among the wives of African diplomats. You could write some articles for black American newspapers. The Amsterdam News or something. Nothing to do?” He laughed. “Girl, I though you were serious.”

I was more than serious, I was desperate. And putting on silly airs, I had appeared to David like the frivolous women I scorned.

“David, I’m broke. Every piece of furniture in the house was bought on installment, the rent is past due, and Guy’s school fees are in arrears. I don’t have enough money to go back home and I can’t stay here unless I get a job.” The smile faded from his face and he nodded. “O.K., O.K. I figured it was something like that. Maybe. Maybe, I can get something for you. I’ll do what I can. What about Vus? Will he let you work?”

“If I can get a job, I’ll handle the rest of it. I’ve been through too much to turn back now. I’ve been a frycook, a waitress, a strip dancer, a fund-raiser. I had a job once taking the paint off cars with my hands. And that’s just part of it.”

David shook his head. “Black women. Huh, huh. O.K. Let’s have another drink. I’ll call somebody I know this afternoon.”


I used to think that simply forgetting about things would make them go away. Someone said something nasty to me? Forget about it, they probably were just having a bad day. I screwed up and embarrassed myself? The sooner I could forget about it, the better.

What I didn’t realize (for a very long time) was that simply forgetting about things doesn’t work.

Things I’d tried to forget kept appearing in my writing. Maybe just in glimpses, and maybe apparent only to me, but they kept coming back, and persistently. What I finally came to realize through my writing was that sometimes, the only way to get PAST something is to go THROUGH it. By avoiding things, I wasn’t dealing with them. So they were bound to keep repeating – because I didn’t know any better. I didn’t know how (or wasn’t ready) to move through and past the experience. Writing helped me to face things I’d tried to forget, and in the process to learn about myself, and to grow.

Now if I could only remember where I put my pen.

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2 thoughts on “Word Prompt: Forget | Story Prompt: from the book “The Heart of a Woman” by Maya Angelou”

  1. I always enjoy reading the new weekly prompts. I find they are carefully selected and are thought provoking. These prompts allow you to dig deep into your thoughts and feelings. Thank you Monique

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