Prose, Writers' Conferences, Writing prompts

The Birth Occurred – Writing prompt from the Muse 2022 conference

I’m excited to be virtually attending the Muse & the Marketplace 2022 national writing conference.

Another great session just ended…

On Beginning (Again) with Chen Chen


How did you come to writing? Or, how did writing come to you? And why do you continue to write? During this time of great collective uncertainty and upheaval, it may be difficult to know what role writing has, for those of us starting out on this path as well as for those of us who have been writers for many years. In this generative session, we’ll explore some ways to re-entangle with our boldest, unruliest writing dreams/hungers/questions. Work by Jennifer S. Cheng, Aracelis Girmay, Hélène Cixous, Sean Thomas Dougherty, and Bhanu Kapil will be our guides as we dive into short experiments in language and aliveness. All genres welcome.

During the session, we were asked to write for 12 minutes using a choice of prompts. One choice was “write about a birth.” Well, it just happens to be two days before the day commemorating my own son’s birth 41 years ago. I started to write and it all came back to me with a bang!


The birth occurred, but it had never been intended. Children were nice, but I certainly wasn’t ready to have one. I needed to grow up. I needed to get my head together before bringing another head into this world.

The birth occurred, but I wasn’t ready. I had a minimum-wage job, no high school diploma, no father for the child.

The birth occurred, but I had no partner, so my life-long best friend attended Lamaze classes with me and whooped and panted his way through the sessions by my side.

The birth occurred despite all these obstacles and issues.
The belly grew.
The ankles swelled.
The fetus became viable.
The baby emerged into the world with a squirt of urine that doused the doctor.

The birth occurred after a short and exciting delivery. My father, drunk and snoring after bowling night. My mother, panicked and frantically watching the door. My Lamaze coach/best friend swooping in the door to the rescue, his tiny Honda Civic on the lawn directly below the porch steps awaiting my lumbering walk to the passenger seat. The ride to the hospital jostling and bumpy. Arriving only 40 minutes before…

The birth occurred.

The birth occurred and all life changed. And my heart exploded with joy and love and tenderness and indescribable emotions that I will never be able to put words to.

The birth occurred and nothing else mattered but this boy. 

And it all fell into place.