NaPoWriMo #26 – Call and Response

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s Day 26…hard to believe there’s only four more days of NaPoWriMo 2016! It’s going by fast…not to mention that its end coordinates with the end of the semester and the big grading frenzy grande finale! Nevertheless, to be able to take a  break and write some thoughts down and formulate them into a poem...well that saves the sanity. Today, the NaPoWriMo prompt was what I followed as it was different for me, and fun to do…a call and response. I didn’t keep with the exact response each time, but I’m the writer so I get to tinker. Does it work? We’ll see. The April PAD Challenge prompt is one that I’ve visited on both sides of the fence…love poems…so  I decided to give that a break! Here is my poem, “Making Healthy Choices, “ followed by the prompt used, and then the PAD prompt. Enjoy!

Making Healthy Choices

While all sweet pie types call my name,
pumpkin, cherry sugar cream, lemon meringue,

Eating raw veggies just isn’t the same

Carrot cake with butter crème icing I must refrain,
as too many pounds my hungry body will claim.

Eating broccoli and carrots just isn’t the same

My love of pepperoni pizza isn’t hard to explain,
when I have to go without is when I complain.

Eating unsalted rice cakes just isn’t the same

Cravings for ice cold Coca-Cola – are hard to tame,
but drinking too many I blame for my weight gain,

Eating healthy and drinking water just isn’t the same

It’s comfort foods in life that can ease life’s pain,
but too many donuts and cookies can kill…such a shame.

Eating even more raw veggies just isn’t the same

Day 26 NaPoWriMo prompt:

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates a call and response. Calls-and-responses are used in many sermons and hymns (and also in sea chanties!), in which the preacher or singer asks a question or makes an exclamation, and the audience responds with a specific, pre-determined response. (Think: Can I get an amen?, to which the response is AMEN!.). You might think of the response as a sort of refrain or chorus that comes up repeatedly, while the call can vary slightly each time it is used. Here’s a sea chanty example:

Haul on the bowline, our bully ship’s a rolling,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty is my darlin’,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

Haul on the bowline, Kitty lives in Liverpool,
Haul on the bowline, the bowline Haul!

The call can be longer than the response, or vice versa. But think of your poem as an interactive exchange between one main speaker and an audience.

Day 26 April PAD Challenge:

For today’s Two-for-Tuesday prompt:

  • Write a love poem. Or…
  • Write an anti-love poem.

If you get anything that you would like to share, put it comments below!

Keep writing!


NaPoWriMo #6 – Food

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Here we are at Day 6 of NaPoWriMo and the challenge today was to write a poem about food. Now, that’s a deep and tasty subject. I was going to write a lot longer poem, but again am running short on time. So, I liked writing the Lune form poem on Day 1 and decided to go with another here – using 5 words, 3 words, and 5 words again. I chose one of my all time favorite foods from childhood till now. So, following is my poem “My Favorite Food,” and then the prompt is directly after. Enjoy!

My Favorite Food

Aroma eats away my willpower,
entices with slices,
pepperoni, cheese: pizza, everyday please.

The Day 6 prompt:

Write a poem about food. This could be a poem about a particular food, or about your relationship to food in general. Or it could simply be a poem relating an incident that involves food, like David Ignatow’s “The Bagel”. Still not convinced? Perhaps these thirteen food poems will give you some inspiration.

If you get something that you want to share, feel free to post in comments below!

Keep writing!


Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! For the past three weeks we’ve been working with our senses, being more observant through sight, sound, and smell – which leaves us with two more: taste, and touch. This week we’re going to explore how our taste buds can help our writing become more vivid.

You might ask: how can I write about what I taste? A taste is sometimes so hard to describe…you know, that’s why we hear that so many new things we try “taste like chicken.” Have you ever given much thought as to what chicken truly tastes like? How do we know? Does each of us taste the same thing when we eat chicken? All good questions to ponder – and we probably have a variety of answers.

And what about texture? That seems like something that would fall under the touch category, yet when we eat something do we associate the texture along with the taste? Maybe you don’t. But I certainly do – a lot of my least favorite foods, like hominy or anchovies, are associated with their texture which makes me not like the taste…so if I try a new food and it tastes close to hominy or anchovies I won’t like it, even if the texture is totally different. I can attribute that dislike to a matter of “taste” even though it’s truly just my personal taste. Do you ever think about how we use the word “taste?” I guess this is my week to ask questions of you, huh? As long as the questions make you think and engage, it’s all good – so don’t hesitate to ask questions in your poems, stories, essays – and you don’t even have to answer those questions (which is actually okay in creative writing!) as long as it leaves your audience to ponder or engage with your work. I digress.

So back to taste. If you can describe in your poem how a prickly pear margarita tastes; in your short story how your character loves the taste of red hots and peanuts mixed together, or when writing an essay/review on a restaurant’s bacon and chocolate cheesecake or a recipe on some crock pot taco soup, you’re giving your audience something to connect with. In addition, because we’re all so in tune with food all you have to do is simply write the word “bacon” or “strawberry” and our taste buds are already right there – especially if it’s a food or a taste that we really enjoy.

By the same token, just like smell, some of the more sickening tastes are ones that leave a lasting impression. Maybe you were someone as a child that was made to eat soap, or had to take some nasty medicine: caster oil, Pepto-Bismol, or Declomycin; some hate the taste of coffee (although I can’t imagine it!) or can’t stand the taste of brussel sprouts. You can probably supply your own laundry list of foods you turn away because you hate the taste, or as I was saying before – because you love the taste. Again, any of these images can conjure up vivid images for your audiences (can you think of a favorite novel, short story, or poem that uses taste in this way?).

With these ideas in mind, get your taste buds working and use your eleventh prompt:

“Show ’em You’ve Got Taste!”

1) At your next meal, snack, or dessert make special notice of the way each food tastes. How can you describe what you’re tasting in your writing? Is something sweet, salty, tart, smoky, sour, etc.? Think about how foods are advertised to us, or what about how foods are targeted to millennials vs. baby boomers that identify with foods depicted in the show Mad Men? What word choices do they make that attract us to those foods? Make a list in your daybook of all tastes, and word choices that conjure up good (or bad) images in your mind. If they do that for you, they probably will for your audience.

2) Think of the best meal you’ve ever had, or the worst food you ever tasted. What about your favorite pizza? What makes it taste better than all of the other pizzas? How can you describe this to your audience? Take ten minutes and write about one of these ideas or write until your “taste” for the idea runs dry.

3) When you have a fair amount of writing generated by taste – mine through your work and decide how you can best use some of your descriptions or images. Do you have a poem about the best ice cream sundae you ever ate? Does it make sense that the character that you’ve been developing loves black licorice? Do you have an essay that revolves around that Thanksgiving when mom forgot to buy a turkey, there was no ham left at the grocery to buy, and you ended up having the best chili you ever tasted in your life? You see how once you get to writing, and have a list of things to work with you can come up with those “endless possibilities?”

4) As always, tweak your work, add/delete – keep your best stuff and then revise, revise, revise! Then when you think you’re done revising – revise again!!

As with all writing, this “taste test” 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!