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This was written for The Red Dress Club, a virtual writer's society.
Concrit is always welcomed and appreciated! This is a work of pseudo-non-fiction, in that Max really is afraid of stairs, but he isn't quite articulate enough to write this, so I did it on his behalf!

Write as non-fiction from your point of view or fiction from your character's point of view. Write a formal complaint letter to your deepest, darkest fear.
Word limit: 600 My count: 341

Dear Stairs,

You think I don't remember, but I totally do.

I might be barely three now, and I was not even two then, but I remember. It was Super Bowl Sunday, and I was just minding my own business, heading outside to see my Daddy and Papa.

You took the “heading” thing too literally, and made me fall. Right on my face!

I see you at home, all 11 of you, stacked up, looking all cushy and soft with the carpet on you, but I know better! I see you all alone, just one, painted red next to the sidewalk when Mommy and I walk to the doughnut shop. You're sneaky too, like in the middle of Nana and Papa's dining room.

You're practically everywhere I turn, and I can see you plotting against me, but you won't get me. I'm not taking ANY chances ever again!

Those big wide steps I have to climb to get to day care? I see you there, all rough and pebbly, just waiting to scrape my knees. Those open concrete ones to get to Mommy's office? Yeah, right! I'll probably fall right in between them and fall down to the lobby; I'll take the elevator, thanks.

Mommy and Daddy may try to get me to walk up and down them, but I won't fall for that… you're out to get me, and I'm not gonna let you win.

I've noticed something though… you seem to be shrinking! Every day, you're a little bit shorter, just a little less scary looking.

I'll win this battle eventually. You know it, and I know it.

You may still scare me, but I'm three now, a big boy. Big boys use the potty and don't drink from sippies and they walk on the stairs with their feet instead of their knees. That may be what Mommy and Daddy say, but I'll have to decide that on my own.

In the meantime, Stairs, we'll just agree to disagree. You stay right where you are, and I'll do what I need to pass you by.

Your power over me is limited, Stairs.


The fateful injury that created the fear of stairs. February 2010

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  1. Oh that picture- that kills me!

    love the angle and the real fear- as Mamas WOW can we relate! Sometimes I show more fear for my kid than they do!

    My favorite parts were the descriptions of the stairs being EVERYWHERE- sweet, funny, and sadly- so true for little ones!

  2. That poor baby! I would be afraid of steps too. And you know to this day I still hate those concrete stairs with the openings in them that you mentioned.

    My youngest doesn't like the moving stairs and the mall!

  3. I have to agree with Galit: I loved the aspect of stairs being everywhere. When you don't have that fear, it's not an issue but if you do? Torture!

    Poor little guy. I hope he gets over the fear

  4. That was great! I love your approach to this. And your little boy is so cute, despite the facial injury there thanks to those damn stairs.

  5. What a great letter…I think you captured the feelings very well. Hope Max takes his power back soon and shows those stairs who's boss!

  6. I love the way you approached this prompt! Very scary moments. My grandson fell down the stairs last year and it is not something we will soon forget.

  7. Love this! Love that you shared a picture, too, but from your blog I could picture him in my head. Tentatively and timidly taking them on. Grasping Mommy's hand, asking to be picked up, stuff like that that our kids do. Soon these Stairs will be teeny and tiny and easily ignored and tripped over in haste!

  8. I love the view on this prompt.

    I agree above: the view of the stairs/steps EVERYWHERE, out to get him, is perfect. That is how things we fear are – we cannot escape them.

    This sentence "That may be what Mommy and Daddy say, but I'll have to decide that on my own." was a bit confusing. It may be what they say, or is? and what does he have to decide? Is he walking up the stairs now, just with help?

    I'd like to see more the "big boy" conquering moment toward the end, instead of him just saying he'll win in the end. I'd like the journey.

    Well done, my dear.

  9. I LOVE this post. You did a fantastic job of writing in the child's voice. This was a very unique piece and I really enjoyed it.

  10. Oh, poor Max! I wish my Dylan had a bit of a healthy fear of stairs (NOT that I am hoping for a stair injury, but he is not cautious at all.)

  11. I love the POV of a toddler about the stairs. I love that the stairs are shrinking. I love all the visuals here. Great job showing me the world of stairs from his POV.

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