Welcome to Five Minute Friday! 

If you’re new here, we offer a weekly blog link-up where we invite writers and bloggers to free write for five minutes flat on a one-word prompt. 

Click here to learn more about the link-up and how it works. 

This week’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt is: DISTANT




I chose this writing prompt this week in celebration of the release of Shawn Smucker’s new book, Light from Distant Stars




I’ve had the privilege of meeting Shawn in person a few times, including the opportunity we shared on an author panel at Baker Book House in 2018: 




Shawn is the real deal. Sincere, genuine, down-to-earth, and a masterful writer. In fact, I just posted this recommendation for writers on Instagram this week: 


In my humble opinion, @shawnsmucker and @aliajoy are the King and Queen of metaphor. If you’ve read either of these books, you’ll know what I mean. If you haven’t, you’re missing out. I’ll be returning to both of these books throughout my writing life, simply to study the craft. I often recommend books about writing to fellow writers, but I personally more often turn to books that are written exceptionally well, and hope that a little bit of their excellence will somehow rub off on my own work someday. So if you’re looking for a book on how to write, start by studying these two.




We have the privilege of hearing from Shawn this week in a special edition FMF guest post on the prompt, DISTANT.

Ladies and gentlemen, Shawn Smucker: 


Distant. When I was young, we used to climb up onto the roof of my grandmother’s house to watch the distant fireworks on the 4th of July. There was an old, metal frame that rose up the side of the house, maybe used to hold up an antennae, and it served perfectly for a ladder. My cousins and I scampered up the frame to the asphalt roof, and crept along the peak, eventually lying down on our backs. I remember the feel of the gritty shingles on my arms and legs—so near. I remember the darkness, the smells of summer, the sound of cornfields rustling on the other side of the road.
And, just when we thought they would never, come, the fireworks. So much distance between us and them. The explosion. The brightness. The pounding against my tiny 9-year-old chest. The reflection of light in everyone’s eyes. The oohing and aahing. 
When the fireworks died off, there were the distant stars, tiny points of needlework in black cloth. Across the parking lot, the middle school I attended, eery and quiet on a summer night. 
Those days seem distant, too, when I was so young, so naive, so happy with the gifts a summer night could give me: fireworks and cousins and the roof of grandmother’s house. The sound of corn and the grit of shingles grounding me and the distant stars. 




Want to hear more from Shawn?

Be sure to catch my video interview with him here from earlier this year:

Influence Series





Shawn Smucker is the author of the award-winning young adult novel The Day the Angels Fell and its sequel, The Edge of Over There, as well as the memoir Once We Were Strangers. He lives with his wife and six children in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Find him online at www.shawnsmucker.com and on Twitter and Facebook.





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