Prompts: A New, Interactive Feature

the word prompts inside bracketsEveryone can get involved with Hippocampus Magazine with {prompts}! Each month, we’ll post a new creative nonfiction prompt, inspired by a real-life event. Fact is stranger than fiction–if we experience something unbelievable, others must have a similar story.

Submit your response to the {prompt} below; submissions should be 300 words or less and submitted by the 15th of the month. A selection of the best submissions will be published in the next issue. Note that your submission doesn’t have to include the {prompt} verbatim. Remember–it must be true! And, if you are too shy to share, feel free to use this activity as a writing exercise for yourself!


This month’s {prompt}:

“you’ll never believe why I was late…”

What prompted this {prompt}?

I rarely arrive on time, no matter how early I leave. There was the time a random tree fell into the roadway, causing a huge back-up on a rural Northeast Pennsylvania road. Another time I forgot to put a shirt over my cami–in January. I had been in such a rush that I threw on my peacoat over the tank top; I had to turn around several miles into my trip so I could finish getting dressed. Once (actually, more than once!), my decade-old Neon nearly ran out of gas; it had been on E since I arrived home the night before. I debated for several miles whether I should stop for gas, or risk it, ignore the gas light and try to make it 20 more miles—in the tight 25 minutes I had budgeted to get from Luzerne to Scranton. I had run out of gas twice before on the way to this particular job and I didn’t want to be ridiculed—or wave down a trucker—again. I erred on the side of caution for once and stopped at a local Turkey Hill to fill up. Stopping for gas may make me late, but not as late as I could have been if I had found myself stuck on the shoulder of Route 81, I finally reasoned.

In the frantic rush of fueling up, I locked my keys inside my car. At the gas pump. — DT

Submit your {prompt} now

By submitting your {prompt} you agree to have your submission, first name and location published in Hippocampus magazine. We reserve the right to edit submissions. There is no guarantee your submission will be used. Due to volume, we cannot respond to individual entries. If you prefer, you can also email your submission to info[at] with the subject line “prompts”.