There have been notable protests happening in the world over the past week or so. Today’s writing prompt is prompted by those protests. Keep reading to see today’s full writing prompt, as well as my completed version of it: At the Town Square.
Today’s Writing Prompt: Protest
Today’s writing prompt is prompted by protests happening in the world right now. There are protests happening in Iran that were ignited after Mahsa Amini died in a hospital after being apprehended by the morality police for not abiding by the state’s hijab rules. And there are the protests happening in Russia that were ignited after Putin ordered the immediate call-up of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine.
Today, write about a character who reluctantly takes part in a protest. It can be any type of protest located anywhere in the world. It can be a protest from the past or one that will likely happen in the future. Try to keep what you write as historically accurate as possible and conduct a bit of research if needed. Just remember as you’re completing this writing prompt that your main character should be reluctant to take part in the protest.
Completed Version of Today’s Writing Prompt
At the Town Square, by K.E. Creighton
When I ran into Elizabeth yesterday she said to meet her in the town square this afternoon so that we could hand out pamphlets to passersby. My sister told her, on my behalf, that we would be there rain or shine. I was indifferent to coming because I should be busy with house chores. But in the end, I wanted to please my sister, and handing out pamphlets to people in town seemed more desirable than hemming my little brother’s pants again anyway.
I still wasn’t sure what women’s suffrage was or is and didn’t really care much to learn more. Elizabeth and my sister didn’t tell me anything about it at all, other than it was something all women needed and should protest for no matter what. But I was barely fifteen and didn’t need anything other than what I already had. To me, whenever women’s suffrage was discussed, it only seemed to make some women violent and scream and shout alone in the street before they were carted off somewhere anyway, while it made other women congregate more in taverns. And I had no interest in being carted away or spending what little spare time I had in a tavern.
When we arrived at the town square, Elizabeth handed me a stack of pamphlets and told me to stand on the northwest corner of the square to hand them out. Esther would be stationed on the southwest corner. My sister would be on the northeast corner. Jane would be on the southeast corner. And Elizabeth herself would be in the middle of the square giving a speech to whoever would stop to listen.
It was late in the afternoon and the square started quickly filling up with commuters and folks headed home or somewhere to eat or sleep. Nearly everyone read the pamphlet after I handed it to them, even if they threw it on the ground a few yards from me after walking away with it. Some declined to take one as they walked by but still smiled politely. And others avoided making eye contact with me altogether as they hurried along to get to where they were going.
Elizabeth’s voice didn’t carry that well so I couldn’t make out what she was saying in the middle of the square. But soon after she started speaking a lot of women began swarming around her. Nearly all pathways in and out of the square were blocked after she was speaking for a quarter-hour. The crowd was chanting phrases Elizabeth would shout aloud every few minutes. And there was a lot of whistling and clapping in between chants.
It never occurred to me to look at a copy of the pamphlet before handing it out. And it wasn’t until a man in battered tan trousers and boots with holes in their toes spit in my face when I attempted to hand him a copy that I realized my error.
After the man spat in my face, he started yelling obscenities at me only inches from my nose. He was yelling words I had never heard before in the midst of offensive words I knew all too well. I was paralyzed with terror and couldn’t move. How could someone get so angry with a stranger over a piece of paper?
The man’s yelling was so loud and violent that another man walking by slowed down to ask him to stop yelling and was soon accompanied by a few more passersby. The yelling man, now more enraged, shoved the original man who stopped on the ground. In retaliation, another man punched the yelling man. Then in the blink of an eye, all I could see was a chaotic blur of fists and elbows covered in mud and blood.
I heard the shrill police whistle behind me as I started walking away from my assigned corner in the square toward my sister. In my periphery, I could see women being pushed and punched and dragged away. But their crowd was still thick.
[All Rights Reserved by K.E. Creighton and Creighton’s Compositions LLC. The above work is a piece of fiction. All names and locations referred to are the product of the author’s imagination and are used entirely for fictional purposes. Any similarities to real-life persons or places are purely coincidental.]
Notes on Completing this Writing Prompt
I recently finished reading The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams which mentions some of the protests in England during the women’s suffrage movement at the turn of the twentieth century. I suppose my writing today was inspired by that.