Memories: Good for the Soul

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve blogged and posted some writing prompts, but I’m hoping with the summer months upon me that I can get some more prompts posted and get back into the swing of blogging again. I’ve got a lot of good things going on, with my full-length poetry collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, coming soon from Chatter House Press, and more good poetry publication news coming soon.

Just this past Monday, my prose poem, “Sunday Drive” appeared at Flying Island…and since it’s a poem about a childhood memory, I thought this might be a good time to revisit some memories for writing. No matter how old we are (or young), we have memories of summers past, with the 4th of July fast approaching, of Independence Day’s past, or of how different America is from years past. We also have special memories of family, friends, pets, etc.

So, it’s good to be back…even with a brief intro – but with some new prompts! Let’s get started:

  1. In your daybook, write a memory from a specific time you, as a child, were in the car with your parents…where were you going? What was on the radio, tape deck, or CD? Who else was with you, or were you by yourself with them. What were the smells, sights, sounds, all around you? Once you have a few things jotted down, formulate your memory into a poem, prose or verse, an essay, or a story.
  2. Write a memory from a time you were in a classroom. It could be from your elementary years, junior high or high school years, or college. It could be that you were the teacher, or the student. It could even be from Sunday School. Again, think about who was there, what made this time stand out to you? Was it a humorous, sad, or scary time? Once you have exhausted the memory, see if it could make a good story or essay, maybe a 10 minute play or a poem…
  3. Write about your first kiss. Use all of the senses and just go until you can’t keep writing. When you look at what you’ve written, could you use that incident with a character you’re developing? Can you write a romantic story of some kind, or a poem?
  4. Use these words in what you write: Sunglasses, bonfire, walking, sour.

As always, if you get anything that you want to share – post it below or you can always contact me at

Keep writing!


My Poem “February 9, 1964”

As promised, if you read my blog Writing Prompt Pit Stop from February 5, 2014, here is the poem I mentioned about the first appearance of The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show 50 years ago tonight. My poem, “February 9, 1964” appears in Flying Island, a fine literary journal published by The Writers Center of Indiana. If you live in Indiana, or have any strong Indiana connections, you should submit some writing to Flying Island. Enjoy!

See you Wednesday with another Writing Prompt Pit Stop!


Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This winter weather is like a broken record and frankly it’s beginning to get a bit stifling! I guess you can tell that when something is on my mind or bothering me I write about it; hence, at least three posts this month alone that have mentioned winter weather in them or included photos of snow in my yard…and everywhere else piling up. We’ve had a record breaking 3′ of snow here in Toledo just in January. Now we’re on target to break the all-time snowfall in a winter…and it sounds like that could happen within the first week of February…and we still have to mid-March to go! Well, just how much can you milk winter for things to write about? A lot. In fact, just driving in the icy tundra to school today I had a couple of new ideas as I saw the interesting sculptures that the wind has made with the drifts. And, there’s been sightings of something new to me: Snow Rollers. Lake Erie ice balls. Thundersnow. All something that could be written about, and I’m sure something that will now be added to my vocabulary.

Speaking of winter and writing, my poem “Winter Noise” which I wrote after our New Year’s Day snow storm a few weeks ago, was accepted and published in Flying Island! I suggest that if you live or have ties to Indiana that you submit to this journal. It has a long, good history. Check it out!

Finally, I do find that I write about weather a lot. I’ve penned many a poem on tornadoes and heat (although, at this moment I don’t think I’ll be complaining about heat anymore…but don’t hold me to that!) and rain…humidity…and have had success with them. I guess I could attribute my fascination with writing about weather because of the imagery it lends, but in reality it goes a lot deeper than that. I wanted to be a meteorologist for a time in my life. As a child I loved science and was fascinated with the clouds, formation and the like. I read up on it, and when I went to Ball State University the first time around I even considered majoring, or at least minoring in it. There was only one problem with that idea…I needed to be good at math. Math, the bain of many of my dreams!!! Have you ever had something in your life that kept you from fulfilling a plan or a dream? Or at least was a detriment? Weather, math, there’s all a connection and I bet you can see where this is leading…into your thirty-first prompt:

“What’s Holding You Back?”

1) In your daybook write about a plan, a dream, a job, or some goal that you’ve had but couldn’t follow through because of some obstacle. What was that obstacle? Is it something you still struggle with or is it something that you might be able to overcome? Why or why not? Did you overcome it? If so, how? A writing like this can lead you into something nice for an essay or a memoir. It also can certainly lend itself to conflict for one of your characters in a story or a play.

2) While you’re thinking about that dream, plan, job, etc., and have written what obstacles have been in your way – why not write how you feel your life has changed because of not fulfilling that particular dream, etc.? Maybe your life took a turn that you never expected because of that, write about that for a while. It will lead to some interesting discoveries.

3) Okay, yes, you can’t let all of this winter weather, cabin fever, snow rollers, etc., pass you by without writing about it! If you have already, write some more! It really does relieve some of the misery…for the time you’re writing. If you just can’t write about winter anymore (it could be holding you back!!), why not muse about spring – write about your dreams of spring…what’s underneath this frozen tundra waiting to get out?

4) After you’ve spent a good 10 minutes writing on any or these prompts, or until you’ve exhausted yourself, then put your work aside for a while. Then come back and re-read it, revamp it into the genre of your choice, and then as always, revise, revise, revise!!! And then send it off if you feel good about it. Don’t hold back!

As with all writing, this “What’s Holding You Back?” 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!