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 lylanne@lylanne.com

Keep writing!

Lylanne

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NaPoWriMo #29 – I Remember

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! One more day left of NaPoWriMo after this is posted. It is hard to believe! On this next to the last day, I used the prompt from NaPoWriMo, but I didn’t end up sticking with the “I remember” format – instead I just delved into one of the memories and used that. It’s funny, the memory I chose, because it’s not near Christmas, yet today’s weather still feels a bit like December! For some reason the April PAD Challenge site is not opening for me tonight…maybe everyone is hurrying and posting 29 poems there at once! Anyway, here is a snippet of a memory in my poem, “I (used to) Believe in Santa Claus,” and the prompt used.

 
I (used to) Believe in Santa Claus

I rue the day when I heard
Santa Claus was not really real – and
my parents didn’t stick up for my dreams;

crushed were the reasons to watch
for Santa’s sleigh with Rudolph
heading up the herd of reindeers

kick gliding through the air among the stars,
as I sat in the backseat of a warm car on a
dark country road, in PJs, head against the back window

while on a thirty minute ride to celebrate
Christmas Eve with family; dashed was
the wish for snow each year so Santa

could land softly on our roof, even though we
had no chimney to shimmy down
because he was smart enough to find a way

to leave unwrapped gifts near the tree just for me;
with Santa Claus, anything was possible,
until the fateful day Santa became fiction in my eyes.

The Day 29 NaPoWriMo prompt:

Poet and artist Joe Brainard is probably best remembers for his book-length poem/memoir, I Remember. The book consists of a series of statements, all beginning with the phrase “I remember.” Here are a few examples:

I remember the only time I ever saw my mother cry. I was eating apricot pie.

I remember how much I cried seeing South Pacific (the movie) three times.

I remember how good a glass of water can taste after a dish of ice cream.

The specific, sometimes mundane and sometimes zany details of the things Brainard remembers builds up over the course of the book, until you have a good deal of empathy and sympathy for this somewhat odd person that you really feel you’ve gotten to know.

Today, I’d like to challenge you to write a poem based on things you remember. Try to focus on specific details, and don’t worry about whether the memories are of important events, or are connected to each other. You could start by adopting Brainard’s uniform habit of starting every line with “I remember,” and then you could either cut out all the instances of “I remember,” or leave them all in, or leave just a few in. At any rate, hopefully you’ll wind up with a poem that is heavy on concrete detail, and which uses that detail as its connective tissue.

If you get anything that you’d like to share, post it below in comments!

Keep writing!

Lylanne

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Week 2 of No NaNoWriMo

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s been one week since I posted my plans for attempting to get some good writing done this month even though I know I have too much going on to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. I feel good that I have actually kept up with writing this week in my daybook, and that I have revised several poems that I’d written and now officially have five new ones to send out somewhere in the world…when I have a chance to peruse some good fits to submit. I feel bad that I haven’t had a chance to write one word of any of the three short plays that I’ve committed to writing by Dec. 31st; however, I do have had some ideas rumbling around…so that means that somethings going to happen soon, right? This week is another full week of commitments in & out of the classroom, grading, an evening meeting, and another visit with a friend out of town – but I’m adamant that I will get writing done each day, at least a couple of those poems submitted somewhere, and at least one of those three plays started, if not finished, by the time I check back in here a week from today. What writing will you get done? Not sure what to write about? Here are a few more writing prompts this week:

  1. Choose a song from your childhood – if possible play it as you write – and allow the memories to flow. In your daybook, write down everything you can remember in a stream of consciousness. Don’t worry about grammar at this point. Stop writing when the memories begin to feel forced. After you’ve drained the memories dry, take 10 minutes (or longer if you need) and write on the best imagery, feelings, etc. If you’re ever at a loss for something to write about, come back to this exercise – but utilize a different time in your life, and repeat the drill.
  2. My favorite author, Kurt Vonnegut, once said “find your tribe.” Write for 10 minutes about “your tribe.” Who are they? How did you come together? What keeps you with this “tribe?” Have you ever left, or been left, by those whom you thought were your tribe?
  3. Speaking of favorite authors (or poets or playwrights) – take an obscure character from one of their stories/poems/plays and make them your own. Of course, if you get anything published using this character, give your favorite original writer a nod.
  4. Use these three words in what you write: Bomb/Petunia/Preacher

Remember, it’s better to steal a few minutes here or there to write a little than not to write at all!

If you get anything that you want to share, you can always share it in comments below, or contact me: lylanne[at]lylanne.com

See you in a week! Don’t forget to keep writing!

Lylanne