Non-Fiction Prompt #22

April 4, 2016 at 9:48 am  •  Posted in Articles, Blogs, Contest, Home Page, Non-Fiction, Welcome by

In her short non-fiction piece, “What You Learn in College,” Karen Donley-Hayes writes about a personal experience playing strip spin-the-bottle in college, where events escalate dramatically to a moment of regret–though not the kind one might expect. She’s chosen an incident that’s intimate and revealing, but writes the narrative using the 2nd person point of view:

You learn you are having fun, and you revel in your bravery and the way you’re unperturbed by the first round or two of the game, during which you peel off your sweatshirt and toss it over your shoulder. The bottle spins. You learn you are perhaps not so intrepid as your beer-bravado led you to believe. A few more spins, the last of the beer-foam winging away from the lip of the bottle, and this strip-spin-the-bottle game is requiring more stripping than you expected. (What did you expect?).

This has the effect of distancing the story from the writer, and pulling the reader closer to it. Something about this seems to suggest that the experience described is both personal and universal, that this experience didn’t just happen to the writer; it happened to you, to anyone (or at least in this section of North America).

For this prompt, use the 2nd person perspective to write about an incident from your life. The challenge is to make this experience feel universal while still including specific details from your experience.