Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Christmas and New Year’s actually fell on a Wednesday this year, so the prompts this week, and next, will come on Thursday until we get back into our “normal” routines. Since it’s the end of another year it is a good time to reflect on what’s past, whether we like to or not…nevertheless, there’s still five more days in 2013 and we can’t count out that a lot of things can happen before 2014 comes knocking on our door.

With that said, 2013 has been an interesting year, and in many ways a hard one – not only for me but for a lot of others as well. It’s not been as catastrophic as some years can be…with the death of a loved one (or two), or a major crisis…like a divorce, or a job loss; although, a few of my friends have suffered these hardships and my heart goes out to all of them, as I know they’ve struggled and some are struggling still.

For myself, it’s been a year where I’ve struggled with money – a lot. It started out with having my gallbladder removed on the 3rd of January – and with no health insurance. Which means that I’m still paying, and will be paying, for some time to come. Also, adjunct hours got reduced and even though I was blessed with enough classes to keep the money coming in – it’s not enough to ever get ahead. And for whatever reason, one of my schools “overpaid” me during one pay period and then had to take it back over four more this Fall…so it’s an ongoing cycle of being in the working poor and that is a real hard thing to accept. I love teaching, and plan to continue, but it sure would be nice if teachers got paid better – and got more respect from the general public.

And, if it’s not money…it’s love. Another of life’s pleasures that I’m not always on the “lucky” side of. Let’s just say in 2013, I put myself back out there, and I’m not giving up…. 🙂

On the positive side of things, I’ve had a few poems published that I’m really proud of – especially “The Art of Seeing Value” that appeared in New Verse News in June and then again in Great Writers Steal. In March, Company of Women: New and Selected Poems, that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson was published by Chatter House Press. We had a great book launch in Indianapolis, and had some wonderful readings in Chicago, Toledo, Three Oaks, MI. We also had a book signing at Indy Authors Fair in October, as well as a reading at Big Hat Books in Indy the night before. If that weren’t enough – all three of us were nominated twice for Pushcarts from Chatter House Press and from Cincinnati Writer’s Project.

I’ve had a couple of one-person art shows – one at Starbucks in Perrysburg, OH, in February and one at Downtown Latte in Toledo, in October – and from that show I got to be the featured artist of the month for Where’s the Cat.

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I got nominated for a Circle of Excellence teaching award at Terra, and have enjoyed a year full of friends, old and new, and of good times with my family – like going to see New Kids on the Block with my daughters and granddaughter and then really liking the concert too.

And, oh yeah, my gallbladder surgery was successful and I’ve felt great afterwards. I’ve had good health, my cats, family, and friends have been well this year – so when all is said and done, 2013 hasn’t been all bad at all…

So what does my ups and downs, wins and losses, happy times and sad times mean for your writing prompts? Well, I’m glad you asked – because just as I did you need to take some time and reflect on 2013. Here’s your twenty-sixth prompt:

“Oh, What a Year it’s Been!”

1) In your daybook write a list of all the highlights of 2013, then make a list of all the low points of the year. If you make these lists into columns you can also get a “feel” of whether 2013 fits into a great year, or one of those years you’d rather forget. We’ve all had a few of those, and thankfully the latter happens a lot less than the former…at least I hope it does for you too.

2) Once you have your lists, pick something and expand on it. Write for ten minutes or until you can’t think of anything more to write about that topic. If you have some time, pick one from the opposite column and do the same.

3) I mentioned having a year that you’d rather forget. I’ve got a few that stick out in my mind for various reasons: 1983, 1998, and 2010. I’m hoping I don’t see anything like any of those again. If you’ve had one of those years where everything goes wrong: a bad break-up, your car gets totaled, your grandmother dies, various other relatives die…you get the picture, take that year and give it the once over. It’s not always easy, but sometimes you need to write about it just to get past it.

4) By the same token, you may have a year that stands out like no other – one where you got married, a birth of a child, a new job, a major award, you fell in love, you went on a trip of a lifetime, by all means write about that year and hope that you have more just like it!

5) Any of these prompts will lend themselves nicely to any of the genres of writing: poems, fiction, memoir, plays. So, choose your favorite and tailor your stories from the prompts into any form that you feel fits. Once you choose, write to that genre – and then always revise until you are happy with your work. If you’ve never sent anything out to try to get published – maybe do that before the end of 2013 – or make it a goal for 2014.

As with all writing, this Oh, What a Year it’s Been!writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

 

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Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! So, here we are in December already…the last month to close out another year. When we get to this point in the year we have a good sense of where we’ve been, what we wished we’d done, and what we want to do in a new year. It’s also at this time of year, if you’re like me, that we’re coming to an end of another semester. As an instructor that means many things, especially as a writing instructor: mounds of papers to grade, panicky students, grateful students, elation that you’ve made it through another semester, and sadness that you’ll miss some students or a special class dynamic.

If you’re a student (or ever have been a student, you’ll remember) it means crunch time, late nights, all-nighters, elation that you made it through another semester, and sadness that you will miss a favorite teacher, a favorite class, or friends that will go in different directions in the coming year.

Because of the craziness at this time of year, especially this week and next (right on the heels of a late Thanksgiving!) I will be making my intro into my prompts a bit shorter…some of you will like that, I imagine! LOL!

Without further ado, here is your twenty-third prompt:

School’s Out…for the Semester!”

(And, yes, I do hear Alice Cooper‘s song in my head as I’m writing this…)

1) In your daybook write a list of some of your favorite memories of a school year ending (or a particular semester). You can start with kindergarten and go up through the grades if you like. As with some of my other prompts, this will give you a plethora of things to work with later when you feel that you’re having a writer’s dry spell.

2) On the flip side write a list of some of your worst end of school/semester endings. Was it a missed project? Was it the year you got strep throat and missed the last few weeks? Maybe it was a car accident that left you without a car for two weeks to get back and forth to school…right at finals (that happened to me during undergrad!). Maybe it was a break-up with your boyfriend/girlfriend…or maybe you just hated the class and plain bombed it. Write about it now…with some distance…find the humor, or really let the ill-feelings come out…it can make for some good writing!

3) Write about your favorite teacher. It could be a teacher from elementary, junior high, high school, or college – or a teacher from every year. Some are lucky to have one teacher that changed their life. I’m one of those people. I’ve written about mine several times, Ann Johnson, my high school art teacher, who is still one of my dearest friends. In fact, in the book Company of Women: New and Selected Poems, (Chatter House Press, 2013) that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson, my poem “What She Taught Me” is the title of my section in the book. It is a poem that I wrote in honor of Ann. So, write a poem about your most influential teacher. If you’re lucky enough to still be in contact – send the poem to them!

Here’s a recent photo of me and Ann:

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4) Take any of the writings that you got from the prompts above and then hone in on one for 10 minutes or until you can’t write any longer. You should be able to come up with a poem, essay, short story, or a play from utilizing any of these prompts. Once you do that and you’ve written a decent draft, revise! And, then revise again!

5) As with all writing, this “School’s Out…” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, we’re here in the last week of November, and the day before Thanksgiving, Time sure flies past, fast, doesn’t it? All month we’ve been writing to prompts that are what we, as writers, are thankful for. I could not let the month go by without writing about family. After all, whether you come from a big, happy family, a crazy, small family, or a “normal,” dysfunctional family, we all have them…we all have parents, but we all don’t have siblings. I don’t. I’m an only child, so I’ll never know what it’s like to have fights with a sibling, to have that camaraderie of “we’re in this together,” or to have a sibling pitted against you by a parent. I will never be an aunt.  By the same token, those of you that are not only children don’t know what it’s like to have all attention directed on you – good and bad – to learn that you don’t know how to argue/fight  as an adult because you’ve never had to as a child, or how alone your childhood can feel. Of course, there are perks to be an only child as well – one of my favorite ones is that I never get bored because I learned to entertain myself, I developed a vivid imagination, and I don’t mind being alone – when others can’t stand to be alone for five minutes.

I always wanted children of my own, and not just one – so that’s why I have two daughters instead of one. I now have five grandchildren, so I definitely am not alone in this world, and both of my parents are still alive and I know a lot of people my age can’t say that. I love my family, and have good relationships with my daughters and grandchildren; although, I don’t see them often enough. My parents, well, they’re my parents – we’ve had a lot of water under the bridge…and they sure have given me plenty to write about. In fact, I believe I’ve mentioned it before – I’m compiling a poetry memoir of childhood poems, and I hope to have it ready to start submitting to publishers by the end of this year. I have a few more poems to add, and to come up with a good title and it’ll be ready! So, that’s something to be thankful for as well…progress…and survival of youth!

Here is a sample of one of my poems from that manuscript:

No Swimming

I wish I knew how to swim instead of walking

nowhere on treadmills or lifting dumbbells

 

inside a drab gym to tone my middle-

aged muscles and slim my widening hips.

 

Why did I listen to my overcautious mom

and grandma warn of drowning and

 

ingest their tales of never learning to let go,

never handing control over to water bodies?

You can view “No Swimming” in it’s entirety in the anthology, Backlit Barbell: An Anthology of Health and Fitness,  compiled by A.J. Huffman, found on Amazon, or when my book gets published.

And, speaking of being published – I’d be remiss if I did not mention that my little poetry “family,” Company of WomenJayne Marek, Mary Sexson, and I have all been nominated for a Pushcart by Chatter House Press for a poem each from our book Company of Women: New and Selected Poems. You can find the nominated poems from the book here.

Family, blood or chosen, is what makes life interesting as well as giving us reason for life. And, with that thought in mind, no matter what your relationship is with your “blood” relatives, you’ve many things to be thankful for – even if it’s that they’ve given you plenty to write about! With that in mind, here’s your twenty-second prompt:

“Family Tales”

1) In your daybook write down five things that you’re thankful for in your own family – maybe it’s that you have one, maybe it’s their health, maybe it’s wealth related; it’s going to be things that you can only know. Once you’ve got your five things, then go back to each and write a bit on the one that sticks out to you most – get in those particulars, why is this what you’re most thankful for? By the same token, you can always turn this prompt on its head and write the five things you’re least thankful for in your family…sometimes those things that keep us from enjoying a family get together can be a powerful thing to write about!!!

2) Think about what I was saying about being an only child at the beginning of this blog. Write about your own birth order, your siblings and how you relate, what was your biggest fight as a kid with your sibling(s)? What is it now? What’s the funniest thing that happened, that makes you still laugh today? If you’re an only child – what stands out to you about growing up a “lonely only?” You can expand this list as you keep writing down things you remember  – and this prompt alone can give you a plethora of things to write about!!

3) Now find one of the most interesting things that you’ve written about in #1 or #2 and form it into a poem, an essay, a short story, or a play – family can certainly lend itself to being a catalyst of good literature…just think of the work that has been written involving family! I bet you can name at least 10 books, plays, or poems off the top of your head that involve family. You know, like Sylvia Plath‘s “Daddy?” Augusten BurroughsRunning WIth Scissors, you get the gist. If you can, write them down – those might remind you of a story in your own family.

4) As with all writing, this “Family Tales” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

 

 

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! We’re two weeks into November, and this is our second week of writing about something that we can be thankful for since it is the season! Last week’s prompt asked you to think about your friends and how thankful you are for them, whether they are old friends, new friends, close friends, lost friends, etc. Last week’s prompt didn’t include one group of friends that I’m certainly thankful for: the four-legged friends. In my case it’s cats, but I’ve had dogs in the past and am certainly a fan of giving pets a good home.

I’ve always been cat crazy, even as a child – yet, I wasn’t allowed to have a cat (or any pet for that matter) until I was nearly ten years old. So, it was a dream come true to have a cat of my own, and my first one was named, Kitti Tom. As an adult, I didn’t own a cat for many years (exes that hated cats…and they’re long gone…the exes that is!), then the first one, Scribbles, came to me when I was thirty-one. Scribbles was with me for eighteen years, and she had many other cat siblings along the way. I’ve not been without a cat since, and never will. My cats (right now I have Graham, Tink, and Fiyero) give unconditional love, and are a great comfort to come home to after a long day at school.  I’ve written about various cats in my life, but “Unexpected Visitor” was published in the book that I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and was about one of my favorite cats of all time, Jonathon. He was another that lived to be eighteen years old! Here is that poem:

Unexpected Visitor

Lovers came and went,

but for eighteen years you graced my lap,

you slept next to me, and followed me

around the house. You didn’t care

if the dishes were done, or if

I gained a few pounds, or shed a few tears.

You were there, a purring anchor –

even as your spirit was leaving me.

 

Jonathon, you came to me

in a dream last night, strong,

healthy and handsome. You

ascended the wooden stairs

coming up out of the basement,

ran into my open arms.

You reveled in my touch,

I cried your name –

my one constant. (47)

My pastel portrait of Jonathon:

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With your four-legged friend in mind, whether it be cat, dog, ferret, horse, rat, etc, here is your twentieth prompt:

“Fur-ever Friends”

1) In your daybook write down a list of every pet you can remember from your childhood until the present day. After you have your list, some will have pages, others will just have a few, write down the descriptions and some memories of each one. This will give you tons of writing to work with. You will also see that as you start working with your memories of your pets, other memories of that time period will come rushing back as well – write it all down. Then the next time you think you have a “writer’s block” (of which I don’t believe in as long as you write SOMETHING every day) then you’ll have a list of memories and subject matter to use anytime.

2) You should have a list of pets…even if it’s two or three, that’s enough. Now take that list and concentrate on writing about your favorite pet, the funniest pet, the pet with the best personality…or the worst, and as you write down certain traits other ideas about your four-legged friends will come to you, and jot those down as well. One of the hardest things to write about, yet is very rewarding, is writing about a beloved pet that has crossed over (like Jonathon). You will find a lot of tears while writing, but it’s nice to have a tangible memory of your pet when you’re finished.

3) Find photos of your pets, write to those photos. Who is in the photo with the pet? Where was the picture taken? What year? How old were you? Your pet(s)?

4) With your favorite genre in mind, take any of these prompts and write as much as you can for as long as the material is coming. When done, take your work and revise it – cut out unneeded words or memories that don’t fit in this particular piece (but make sure to save those memories somewhere as they might fit in some other future piece!) By the same token, add material/images, if needed. And just revise, revise, revise!

As with all writing, this “Fur-ever Friends” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Since it’s November and Thanksgiving is this month, it seems like a good time to write about what we’re thankful for. As writers we may do this in many ways already: maybe we honor a grandparent or a family member with a poem, or maybe we write about our hometown, or where we’ve spent a lot of time, as a setting in a novel, short story, or an essay. We may be thankful for that love of our life, that special person who broke through our defenses, and pour our hearts out in a sonnet or a prose poem. Or we may be thankful that we escaped a rotten relationship and write the next big drama for the stage…the things we’re thankful for should be endless, and should give us endless possibilities to write about.

So, I’m going to guide us through four Wednesdays to touch on a few of those possibilities and as you write and read the prompts, you may come up with so many more of your own. With this week’s prompt we will explore the idea of being thankful for our friends. If you’re lucky you have more than you can count, but inevitably you have your closest friends, those friends that you would confide anything to and never worry that they’ll betray you, you have those friends that are ones that make you laugh and that you enjoy going out with and letting your hair down, you have friends that are your office or work buddies, friends that are ones you’ve made through mutual interests such as clubs, hobbies, church, or activism, and sometimes if you’re lucky enough you have lifelong friends that have known you since childhood. No matter what type of friendship(s) you have, or have had throughout your life…they are something to be thankful for as they get us through the highs and lows of our lives – and those friendships are all just waiting to be mined for stories or poetic moments. I have written many a poem involving my friends, and a few of them appear in the book I co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson, Company of Women:New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013). I’ll share one poem and an excerpt from my section of the book What She Taught Me:

Our Night Out

In a dark bar on a Toledo Saturday,

too early for the happening crowd,

too late for two friends who decide to stay

in a place that pulls our memories

from “far-out” places – the music patronizes

our middle-age while still flirting with youth –

swigging liquid courage, musing over Dancing

in the Dark, and “Who’s going to drive you home,

tonight?” Remembering loud nights

that didn’t seem too long, way back when,

when we were not paying attention to time,

tick, tick, tocking forward. Our minds reflecting

refracting pieces of our disco selves unraveling

like an off track 8 track tape and when we twirl

around we see each other in the bar mirror –

cynical and dark. (51)

And, here’s an excerpt from the title poem “What She Taught Me” which is dedicated to my former high school art teacher, mentor, and one of my dearest friends, Ann Johnson:

                     I

If she hadn’t been that teacher

who pushed me past my limits,

made me give a voice to purple,

in front of the class, who praised

my Polka Horse block print and

asked to keep it for her own,

 

who gave me unlimited hall passes

signed AJ, to ditch my dreaded Home Ec

at the end of the school day to come

to the art room, where no one cared

if I could sew a stitch, or sauté an onion.

 

If she hadn’t been that teacher

who flunked me for not painting

by deadline, who teased me

out of my shell, who didn’t turn me away

when I dropped by her house to say “hi,”

dressing so funky that

she didn’t care who stared.

 

If she hadn’t been that teacher

who was vibrant and different,

in school convocations, who dared

to show vulnerability, I would not have

kept going back to school,

each day a new reason to live. (61)

This poem continues on and has a second part to it as well – you can see how in both poems that I was writing about specific incidents…reflecting on my feelings and the friends that I was writing about.

So let’s get to it! Here is your nineteenth prompt:

“Forever Friends”

1) In your daybook write down a list of friends, you can start as far back as you can remember and list as many as you can all the way up to present day. Some of you will have pages and pages, and others will have an intimate few. Then with that list go back and write down a few memories that you have of each. You can see how this can explode into so many ideas that you could spend months just writing down memories and incidents, let alone picking one or two to really concentrate on. Be as detailed as you can with your lists and memories because that will help you when you go to write the specific story, essay, or poem about the friend(s) that you select.

2) You have a ton of friends to choose from on your list, now write about the friend you’ve had the longest. Write about a friend you lost and never thought you would. Write about a friend that betrayed you. Write about a friend that was so generous you don’t know how you’ll ever repay them. How about those Facebook friends? Friends or not…that is the question…now write!

3) Write a thank-you letter, note, poem to a friend and really send it.

4) Take any of your prompts and write until you have something you’re happy with in your genre of choice…and then as always, revise, revise, revise!!

As with all writing, this “Forever Friends” writing should be fun! And I remind you that if you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

 

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week we’re staying in tune with our keen sense of observation. Last week we looked at the advantages of seeing what is around us; this week we’re going to listen a little harder to the sounds going on around us.

It’s true, sometimes we can’t (or don’t) really listen because there is too much noise. Noise from external sources, such as phones, people’s voices, traffic, TVs, and so on.  Besides all of that, our internal noise can drown out a lot of things too – such as our creativity (when we allow our inner critics to get too loud). We do hear a lot of things going on all around us,  but we don’t always listen and there is a difference.

Sound is one of those senses that many of us take for granted. It would be hard to imagine not hearing a loved one’s voice, a favorite song, a purring cat, birdsong, waves of the ocean – you know the things that we really long to hear, especially if it’s been a while since we last heard them, but don’t always think much about. We need to remember that like sight, sound can really lend itself to getting into our writing. Here are a few examples:

When I was in high school, my English teacher brought in Carole King‘s album Tapestry for us to listen to, and as we listened to the songs we were encouraged to write what we felt. All these years later, I’ve never forgotten that exercise because it left an impact, not only because of my love of King’s songs but because of the imagery her words conjured up as I listened. My poem, “Our New English Teacher” reflects on this memory:

               by studying the lyrics of Carole King, / we unraveled the canonized poets,

               / and with each unfamiliar assignment / we wrote our way out of ordinary.

The poem can be found in its entirety in the book: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013).

Another example is something that inspired a freewrite, and then found it’s way into a new poem that I’m writing. Not far from my house is a lot of road construction; sitting in my home one day, with the windows open, I heard a constant clanking sound…for whatever reason that sound took me back to Eaton Elementary School where the chains from the Maypole rattled and clanked in the wind…or when played on at recess. I had not thought of recess, or that weird piece of playground equipment in years – and probably wouldn’t have if a simple sound hadn’t returned that memory to me.

So with this week’s prompt I’m asking you to take the time to really listen to what’s going on around you. What sound brings a memory from your past back into focus? What sound inspires you to write a poem, or takes you right into a new short story? Could it be a song that comes on the radio – “an oldie but goodie?” Could it be some unexpected noise that unlocks an unrelated memory like happened to me? The possibilities, again, are endless – it just hinges on how hard you want to listen. With that in mind, here’s your ninth prompt:

“Did You Hear That? Write!”

1) Listen. Turn off the technology and sit in silence. What do you hear that you’ve not noticed before? Accidentally, on purpose, eavesdrop on conversations going on all around you. Jot down what you hear. Go out into nature, listen to the different sounds you haven’t paid attention to – what does wind really sound like? Can you tell the difference in the sounds of a Northern Cardinal and a Blue Jay? In your daybook write down all sounds that you hear. Do they remind you of anything? Write that down too.

2) Select a favorite CD or an oldies station and listen to the music as you write in your daybook. What feelings do these songs, or this artist, conjure up? What images do you see when you really pay attention to the lyrics? What memories do you have when a song comes on that you haven’t heard in a while? Write it all down.

3) After you’ve selected what you’d really like to listen to from the above suggestions, and have written your observations – now go back in and add in more detail. Do you see a poem possibility? Have you given yourself an idea for a story? A character? A setting? Write for 10 minutes or until you exhaust your images/energy of the piece.

4) Revise, revise, and then revise again. I know of what I speak. It works.

Again, I feel that this exercise will lend itself well to any of the writing genres; simple everyday active listening will lead to a good poem, or an interesting essay as long as you interject the details, share good imagery, and take time to revise. By the same token, writing what you hear will give you great ideas for a piece of flash fiction, a short story, or even a 10 minute play. Listening to what’s going on around you can help you create a plot, a character’s personality or attire, a charming setting, and so on. Once you get writing you’ll see the possibilities.

As with all writing, it should be fun! If you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to another Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week’s writing prompt asks “What is Your Nature?” Some people walk through life never noticing the pleasures that nature has to offer. I was one of those people for a long while; always too busy with life to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

The funny thing is as I’ve gotten older, life hasn’t become any less busy – in fact, in today’s world it’s actually busier with the added distractions of non-stop emails, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets and re-tweets, and catching up on the latest blogs on top of everything else. Nevertheless, I’ve found that I take solace in nature. One of my favorite things to do (now that I make sure I make time to do it) is go to the Metropark, the river, or the lake, and take pictures of various birds.

Image

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Inevitably, these feathered friends have found homes in my poems in the last few years. In fact, my most recent chapbook, Winged Graffiti (Finishing Line Press, 2011), is filled with flights of fancy – both literally and metaphorically. I have several bird-related poems in my new book (co-authored with Jayne Marek and Mary Sexson): Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013). In addition, I just recently received word that my poems, “Bossy Blues,” and “Turkey Vultures of Thorntown,” will be included in the August bird-themed issue of Cyclamens and Swords. So, it may not come as a big surprise that I’m now working on a full-length manuscript that includes a lot of wings and beaks.

As might be expected then, this week’s prompt is encouraging you to explore your own attraction(s) in nature. You might be attracted to birds, as I am, or maybe you prefer flowers or trees. You may be attracted to mountains, lakes, oceans, or maybe it’s a summer thunderstorm, or a fresh snow in winter. With that idea in mind, here’s your fourth prompt:

“What is Your Nature?”

1) Think about your favorite attraction, and then write in detail everything you can about it – maybe a specific bird or flower – for 10 minutes or until you exhaust your subject.

You may end up with one page or more of information.

2) Mine your work for good imagery or an interesting turn of words or a phrase. Sometimes when we write fast (almost in auto-pilot) we unintentionally come up with some gems. That’s the fun of writing isn’t it!

3) Pull those images, words, and phrases out. Now shape them into your poem or essay. You also might be able to give your love in nature a place in a piece of flash fiction.

4) If you have a hard time narrowing your favorites in nature down to just one attraction, by all means write on each of them, but do so separately first so that you can pay attention to those important details.

Obviously the more you write about nature – the longer your poems or essays may be, and the more likely you will be able to see a series develop! Who doesn’t love that?

As with all writing, it should be fun! If you ever want to share any successes or attempts that you get from these prompts, don’t hesitate to let me know. You can contact me here.

Look for another prompt next Wednesday! Until then, keep writing!

Lylanne