Age of Empathy April 2021 Prompt — Intimacy
How have intimate relationships influenced the person you are today?
I’ve enjoyed having Bingz Huang and Shanna Loga take over writing the Age of Empathy prompts for the last couple of months. When I realized April is happening this week, I put on my procrastination hat and pushed it out of my mind. As I was driving to school pickup, I started brainstorming out loud: April Showers Bring May Flowers? April Fools? These didn’t sit right with me…Then, I thought of intimacy and it’s multi-layeredness and ability to apply to different relationships.
So, for April 2021, Age of Empathy invites you to reflect on intimate relationships in your life. Are they talking about sex?! you may be wondering. Not necessarily although we aren’t discouraging it exactly. If you do write about that kind of intimacy, we ask that you keep it in the realm of PG13. Basically, don’t be overly explicit.
When I think of Intimacy, I think of many different relationships. Sure, there’s the relationship with my husband, which is one of personal intimacy. There’s also my relationship with myself — I’d argue that it’s good for us to get to know ourselves in a kind and loving way. Julia Cameron suggests taking ourselves out on Artist’s Dates. I’ve done this before. It’s great advice.
Intimate relationships can cross over into every aspect of our lives. Here are a few quotes to consider. I’ll be dropping more quotes on Intimacy daily on the AoE Facebook Page.
Communication is a continual balancing act, juggling the conflicting needs for intimacy and independence. To survive in the world, we have to act in concert with others, but to survive as ourselves, rather than simply as cogs in a wheel, we have to act alone. Deborah Tannen
If fear is the great enemy of intimacy, love is its true friend. — Henri Nouwen
There’s something so great about platonic intimacy. Noah Centineo
Aly Walanski of Goalcast.com describes Intimacy in three categories and then explains subcategories that fall under each heading. This is an excellent article to refer to when considering what you’d like to write about.
The 3 Levels of Intimacy
Level 1: Circumstantial intimacy “is the most spontaneous form of intimacy. You don’t have to work at being intimate, it just happens through a set of circumstances that force you to develop intimacy with others.”
Subcategories: Recreational Intimacy, Work Intimacy, Conflict Intimacy, and Crisis Intimacy.
Level 2: Shared Intimacy: “This next level is a bit more intricate but than the first one. Your bond develops over a shared interest and in that sense, is easily entered into. However, it’ll stay superficial if you don’t take action to deepen it. Your shared interest may be intellectual, aesthetic, spiritual or creative.”
Subcategories: Intellectual Intimacy, Aesthetic Intimacy, Spiritual Intimacy, and Creative Intimacy.
Level 3: Personal Intimacy: “These intimacy types have the possibility of becoming long-lasting and deeply engaging, but you have to be willing to extend yourself beyond circumstance or shared interest.
To become truly intimate with another, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. Most blocks occur at this final layer of intimacy as being vulnerable is scary. “— Aly Walanski
Subcategories: Communication Intimacy, Sexual Intimacy, Commitment Intimacy, and Emotional Intimacy.
Intimacy Prompt Questions for Inspiration
For this month’s prompt, please write a creative nonfiction essay or a poem to reflect the theme of intimacy. Here are some questions to get the creative juices flowing:
- In what areas of your life do you experience intimacy? How have these relationships helped you and/or others grow?
- Do you feel you lack intimacy or it’s difficult to access that side of yourself? Why?
- Is Intimacy in relationships important to you? How do your nurture that intimacy? The relationships could be with a partner/s, your self, workmates, children, parents, friends, and others.
- Do you think there are ways to nurture a more kind and caring community that would result in deeper, more intimate relationships? Or have you seen this in action?
- How have intimate relationships influenced the person you are today? What have you learned from them? What can you teach us from your experience/s?
The prompt runs from April 1 through April 30. To be considered for the competition, you must tag your prompt “Aoe Prompt” and publish it with Age of Empathy. One submission per category per writer, please. The categories to enter are Creative Nonfiction and Poetry.
Poetry is limited to a maximum of 50 lines or 250 words, whichever is highest. Please no haiku, tanka, or very short poetry. Creative nonfiction is limited to a maximum of 1400 words.
Please use your subtitle as you would on any other story or poem. In other words, you do not need to put “Age of Empathy Prompt” in your title or subtitle.
We will promote all submissions on Twitter and in the Age of Empathy Facebook group. A story announcing the winners and runners-up will be published and included in a Growing in Empathy newsletter. This is a good way for writers to gain more visibility.
Good luck and happy writing!
From our hearts to yours,
Aimée, Shanna, and Bingz