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What stories do you think you will remember most vividly? Why do you think these stand out?
After reading, do you think about menstruation differently? And if so, in what ways?
Did you notice any patterns across stories that intrigued you? Any tensions or dissonances?
Was there a story you related to? Was there any story that pushed you or expanded your understanding?
Did you learn anything practical from these personal accounts? What did you learn in a more poetic sense? How
did you read the book? Did you go in order? Did you put it down between stories? What prompted you to read the book the way that you did? (There is no right way!)
I’ve noticed, in gathering stories, that hearing one person’s personal testimony often opens the door for someone else to share their story. After reading, is there a memory related to menstruation that emerged for you? Have you ever written about this memory or shared it before?
Is there anyone in your life who you’d like to interview or ask about their memories?
What stories still feel under-discussed or unspeakable? And what would it take for this to change? Writing & reflection prompt
This is a prompt that Rachel used in gathering stories and while visiting classrooms. You are welcome to adapt it for your classroom or the group you are a part of. Today, we’re going to reflect as a group about periods and our memories related to menstruation. Everyone has a story, whether or not you think you do. This can be a totally private and personal reflection, but we’ll also end with the option to share our accounts. It can be surprising what happens when we share our words out loud. But let’s not worry about that yet! Here is our question: Do you have a first period story or related story about coming-of-age you could share, in the spirit of a hand reaching out to young readers? It could be a story about your first period. Or learning about periods. For example, learning about your mother or parent’s period, a sibling’s period, a girlfriend’s period. It could be about a missing period, or an irregular period, or any moment that a period marked a transition in your life. Pick one story that
, when you remember it, sparks a feeling in you. In a moment, we will write down our memories. But first, let’s go back to this moment and reflect by taking some notes: What do you remember about this period (no pun intended) in your life? What did you care about? Where does this story take place? In what kinds of rooms or setting? Who else was there? What dialogue or language do you remember being said? Was there anything you said, or didn’t say? What objects stand out in this memory? What do you remember feeling and feeling in your body? Let’s begin now by writing about what you remember. (If you feel stuck, it can be helpful to start with the sentence “I remember.”)
[After 10 or so minutes] What surprises you about this story now? How do you feel, reflecting on it? What does this story tell you about who you were then and who you are now? Is there anything you wish you could have known or heard as a younger person? Or that you would like to tell your younger self? Let’s take another few minutes to write about those questions.
[Give another few minutes before concluding.] Thank you all. How was the writing experience?
[Ask a few volunteers to share what they’ve written out loud – or an excerpt of what they’ve written] Thank you for going to this intimate, vulnerable place with us all today.