Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Writing Prompt for Algernon

"Flowers for Algernon" by Daniel Keys was given to me for the first time as a preteen girl by a parent who was exasperated and at a loss.  I had devoured the local children's library, and had been found reading a V.C. Andrews book that I had nicked from my step-monster's bookshelf because the color looked pretty.  I needed something more than what my school had to offer, but Andrews was simply not acceptable for a child my age.  She handed me two musty smelling books out of a box in our basement, and both changed my life.  The first was "Watership Down," the second was "Flowers for Algernon."  The novel, a first person piece is written as a diary by Charlie, a mentally impaired young man who volunteers to be the subject of an experimental surgery which will increase his IQ.  We travel with him as he becomes first intelligent and then a genius before discovering the flaw in his own surgery which will lead to an inevitable regression.  We struggle with him as his social skills develop far more slowly than his intellect, as he tries to come to terms with elements of his past, deals with his sexuality, and finally as he experiences the heartwrenching return to his original state of being.  This book has been challenged for nearly as long as it has been released, with instances of drunkenness and sexuality cited as the reason. 

Your writing prompt today - We all remember the hormone soup that was our brain and body as we began to reach our sexual maturity.  Write a short story that includes that awkward and exciting time. 

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