Guest contributor: Monica Wood

Writing from Inside: “Best Friends,” by W. Wrighter

categories: Cocktail Hour / Getting Outside



[This piece arrived from the following prompt: “Write about a person, an object, or a place over a period of years, landing briefly to examine it, then fast-forwarding a few years to see it afresh.” W. Wrighter chose to look at her changing “best friends” over the course of her life. It’s the story of a downward spiral that ends on a hopeful note, despite the final landing spot–MW.]


Best Friends, by W. Wrighter

She was younger by four years, my only playmate, the one who was spared from beatings by my back, shared secrets and whispers, the one I would die to protect, at age seven

…my sister

She was like me in many ways, laughed at my jokes, eased my pains, dried my tears, held my hand, we were to spend forever as pals, but ultimately she couldn’t save my soul, at age fourteen

…Stephanie Perry

Hopelessly in love with him, talked without words, had big plans, loved adventure, shared my passion for antiquing, laughter was everything, would grow old together, at age twenty-one

…my boyfriend.

Married six years now, not as close, subtle changes emerged, a baby between us–our common bond–too many words loudly spoken, at age twenty-eight

…my husband.

He passed away and left me alone, discovered a new friend, she laughed at my jokes, loved adventure, grounded me in my world, taught me how to treasure every day, at age thirty-five

…our daughter.

He pushed me to my limits, made me feel alive again, allowed me to love too much, showed me a dark place,  sent me so high that I forgot who I was, blackened my soul, at age forty-five

…my biggest mistake.

They helped me to move on, laughed at my jokes, shared my dreams, saw all the possibilities, changed my values, made me accept who I now am, have incredible insight, at age forty-nine

…all those around me.


[Today’s post is the second from a group of women inmates whom I work with in a program called “Meet the Authors.” (They don’t have internet access, but your comments will get back to them, through me, after being vetted through the chain of command.)  The program runs in 12-week rounds, two hours per week, with a different group of students for each round, always with a few repeaters. We read the work of Maine women writers, who come to discuss their work and offer a writing exercise in their respective genres. The women then write short pieces, using prompts from me or the guest writers, and revise them according to feedback from the group.

To read last week’s post from inside, click here.  To read my full introduction, click here.   –Monica Wood]



  1. Courtney writes:

    Very powerful and expressive. Made me cry. A great piece of writing. I’m glad to read that you continue to tell jokes and continue to find people to laugh at them.

  2. Debora writes:

    Lately, I’ve been kinda wrapped up in this essay of my own that took on this particular structure which I like, but I have to kind of see it through to the end (at least in this draft, right?), so it’s kind of a pain in the neck. Anyway, it was great to see the freedom this writer took over form as she took on the large task of covering so much content and passage of time. And this seems to be the agreement among the readers here! Well done, W! And great exercise, Monica (you’re making me a better teacher)!

  3. Kerry Headley writes:

    I wanted more!

  4. mary lello writes:

    More like reading a poem … intoxicating and rich. Loved it!

  5. Sarah Beliveau writes:

    So powerful. The heartbreaking image of her protecting her little sister will stay with me. Please let Ms. Wrighter know that there are people out here rooting for her.

  6. monica wood writes:

    To find comfort in the most uncomfortable place imaginable is a gift. Thank you, Ms. Wrighter.

  7. Beth Harpaz writes:

    I had to go back to the beginning to understand the structure, which was a little complex and not what I expected. It was like a poem, or a play, or a tree, almost, the way she gave us the relationships, the descriptions, who the person was and what they meant to her. Like one of the other posters, I immediately got chills and tears in my eyes, even before I quite was able to grasp what was happening. Incredible how much she evoked in such a few lines – a whole lifetime of experiences, relationships, sorrow, joy, up and down. I bow to this terrific writer.

  8. Sue Paradis writes:

    concise but with such feeling! well done, Ms Wrighter! I wish I could write like this!

  9. Jen Dupree writes:

    Beautiful. It gave me chills. So, so, well said in just a few words, with so much depth of feeling.

  10. Amy Chapman writes:

    Such a powerful piece of writing, with an economy of words, yet able to take the reader through so many emotions. Although it’s written as prose, reading it, I felt as if I were reading poetry. Heartbreaking and hopeful…really lovely. Thank you.