Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Re-surfacing

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Last week I shared how low I’d been feeling, how it was even affecting my dreams – metaphorically and physically, and I gave a few prompts to write about what you do, or have done, when you’ve felt that way. This week, as promised, I’m going to share a few of the ways that I’ve found my way out of my slump, and a few prompts to write on as well.

I mentioned that I’d taken steps to make some changes in my life to help alleviate the things that I felt were getting out of my control. For one thing, when it comes to the water here in Toledo, Ohio, it’s supposed to be safe to drink now. Nevertheless, when possible, I’m still drinking bottled water and giving my kitties only bottled water, and I’ve found that writing a few poems about that water crisis, and Lake Erie, has helped in two ways – it’s gotten my creative juices flowing again, and it’s helped me to put down on paper how I really feel about the entire situation – instead of keeping it all bottled (ha!) up inside. Speaking of poetry, about the same time this water crisis had come along, I’d already signed up to do the August Poetry Postcard Project, Year 8. I’d never participated in this project before, but thought it sounded fun, and if you followed along with my Oulipost 2014 posts during National Poetry Month, you know I love poetry challenges. Doing this poem a day, on a postcard, and sending it out to a stranger (and sometimes to someone I know!) on the list per directions of the project, has given me a real boost.

Next, I mentioned how money has been an issue – well, that’s probably not going to stop anytime soon, but I do have renewed hope as I’d been sending out resumes and I was recently hired at a new college that pays a bit more (even though it’s still part-time) and it’s in Ann Arbor, MI which is a still a drive, but not quite as far as I was driving before. I’m excited at the new prospects for opportunity, and a new adventure, so that again, boosts my spirits. In the meantime, I’m still looking for freelance writing gigs, or another part-time college gig that can help get me way out of my money slump. At least, I feel that there’s hope again!

Then, there was that break-in. Well, there’s not a lot I can do about that – except to be vigilant and set the alarm whenever I leave the house, never leave any windows open when I’m not home (and actually I’ve been opening only a couple that I can see when I am home – luckily, it’s been a cooler than usual summer here!), and I just don’t allow myself to dwell on that it happened; by doing that, I’m certainly not worried about being at the house, or that it’ll happen again. I just have to take one day at a time.

During this trying summer, I have found (and I already knew) what great friends and family that I have. If it had not been for them, I might not have found my way out of this slump and for their time spent with me, & on the phone; their actual help when needed (laptop, $, a dinner, or margarita, out now and then), and just for the moral support – I’m grateful.

Oh, yes, and I’ve been back out in the nature that I love, taking walks, writing in my daybook, snapping photos, and that does a lot to lift the spirits as well. In fact, yesterday on one of these walks, I overheard a young woman, walking past me on one of the trails, talking on her cell phone. She was saying,“Who knew? This place is actually beautiful! Toledo, Ohio! It’s prettier than back home, except for the mountains…” That made me smile. Toledo is a beautiful place, with beautiful people. Sometimes you just have to re-open your eyes and look around…and listen.

So, here’s hoping that we all have a good end to this summer, and a great fall season (my favorite time of year!). With that in mind, here’s your Writing Prompt Pit Stop 52nd prompt(s):

“Re-surfacing”

1) In your daybook, write down a list of all of the people, things, and places that you are grateful for. Express why. Out of that list, pick one and write for ten minutes or until you exhaust the subject. You can return to this list throughout the year when you’re perusing for something to write about.

2) Join some sort of writing challenge, or create one yourself! There are tons out there all year – check out The Found Poetry Review for some of their challenges, in November, Nanowrimo comes back around (novel writing in a month); so just look, you may be amazed at what you discover – and you will find that you can make new friends, and “meet” others from all over the world by doing these activities.

3) Remember last week that I asked you to write about a stretch of time when it seemed that everything was going against you. This week, either flip that around and write about a time that everything seemed to go your way, or take that time that you wrote about and express how you came out of your slump, write what happened, who helped – and remember, you can use these prompts to write for one of your characters, it doesn’t always have to be a “memoir” per say…or it could but no one would need to know that.

4) Write about a job where you felt you’d come to the end of the road. Did you quit? Did you stay even though you didn’t want to? Did you search for another job while working there? Have you ever had a job that you loved, but paid so little that you had to give it up? Write about your feelings with the job you have now – good or bad.

5) Any of these prompts can lend themselves to a piece of poetry, an essay, part of a memoir, a short story, or a play. Once you’ve written and revised to your liking, be sure to send your work out in the world – or at least share here in comments if you’re so inclined.

See you again next week!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Crash & Burn

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, today is not Wednesday, it’s Saturday…so a bit later than usual with my post, but that’s okay because I’m here now, writing, and because sometimes change is good! So, if you’ve visited my blog much you’ve undoubtedly figured out that this summer (and this entire 2014) has been one of a lot of hurdles for me. We had that worst winter ever here in Toledo with more snow that one could have imagined, there’s been deaths of people that have meant a lot to me in the past, there’s been promise of a full-time position yanked (two years in a row) because of low funding, there’s been my own low funding because of my adjuncting circumstances, there’s been that break-in at my house just a month ago, and then this past weekend, we here in Toledo, OH, could not drink, bathe, etc., in our water because of toxins from Lake Erie...some of you may have been aware since it made national, and I hear international, news. I will say that is something I didn’t think I’d see…a city in America, one that I live in no less, that is not able to drink the water…. 

Hence, I’ve just needed some down time…and not to mention it was the end of the summer semester this week, so I’ve been grading as well…and that’s the scoop on how how I’ve been living lately. Then, the night before last I had another of my recurring dreams that I’ve had over the years…usually, it’s a plane crash. I see it from a distance, sometimes it’s a major jetliner, other times it’s a small plane…very rarely am I inside as the plane is going down, but that’s happened too. This time it was a new spin, so to speak…it was the Goodyear Blimp…it was off in the distance, and it was making some crazy dips in the sky, and I knew it was going to crash, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…then it would bounce back up high in the sky and dip again lower…and lower…until it went behind some trees…and then there was the plume of smoke and then the flames from behind the trees…in my dream I felt that helplessness and panic, and the crying. Then I woke up.

I used to think that those dreams meant I shouldn’t fly, but I’ve since learned that those plane crash (and now blimps of all things!) dreams mean that my life is out of control. I think that’s a pretty good explanation actually. However, I have been taking steps to make some changes in my life, and that helps give me hope…which is something I feel that I’d lost in the past month or so. Hope is an important thing! Next Wednesday, I will write about all of the good things that have happened this year, because out of all of these dismal events and occurrences of 2014, there has been a lot of good things happen and I’m well aware of those, plus of all the good things to come…which is my hope kicking in!

So in this 51st post here are the prompts for this week:

“Dream Weaving”

1) In your daybook write about a recurring dream that you have. What is the focus of that dream? When do you find that you have these dreams? What happens in your dream? Does it change from time to time? Have you read up on what the dreams mean?

2) Have you ever had a dream that came true? When was it? What was it about? How close to the actual dream did the events occur? Have you ever changed plans because of a dream you had? Have you ever tried something new because of a dream you had?

3) So, what would you do if you could not drink, bathe, brush your teeth, do laundry, with your city water/water source? It sounds like something out of a novel or a movie doesn’t it? Write about that or some other natural resource that we take for granted…and then it’s gone. It could be from your viewpoint, or from a character’s viewpoint that you’re working with.

4) Write about a stretch of time that it seemed that life was going against you. What happened? How did your circumstances change? Do you think these times occur naturally or do you think in some ways we bring them on ourselves? Write on that for a while and see what comes out for you or your character.

5) Take any of these prompts and write on them for at least 10 minutes or until you exhaust the topic. Any of the prompts can lend themselves to a piece of poetry, an essay, part of a memoir, a short story, or a play. Once you’ve written and revised to your liking, then be sure to send your work out in the world – or at least share in comments if you’re so inclined.

See you again Wednesday!