Welcoming 2019, Bidding 2018 Farewell

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, it’s been a while since I posted and I don’t have any super excuses, except being busy: teaching, writing, and drawing. In addition, since my dad died in 2017, I’ve been my mom’s caregiver…which since she has dementia, is time-consuming and oftentimes, frustrating. So, I gave myself permission to miss a few months of posting blogs and now I’m re-surfacing. However, I know that is not a good commitment to this blog spot, so one of my goals this year is to post at least one blog every month, if not more, throughout 2019.

As has been noted, 2017 was an awful year, but 2018 was a bit of a relief. It wasn’t nearly as traumatic, even though I lost an aunt, and several cousins…which is something that some of us of a certain age, unfortunately, have to grow accustom to. Nevertheless, loss is never easy whether expected or not. On the other hand, I have much to be thankful for in 2018. I had my first trip to Arizona, with my friend, Ann. I had never been to New Mexico or Arizona, so by driving out there in January I was able to cross two more states off my “been to” list. Now, California is the lone state out west (and Hawaii and Alaska) that I’ve not ventured to. I’m only missing New Hampshire and Maine out east – so goals! I don’t know whether I’ll make those this year, but I’m always open to travel when it presents itself. In addition, speaking of traveling, I spent a week in Florida and one in Atlantic City with my daughters and grandchildren, so I loved 2018 just for those trips, if nothing else! But there was something else. My creative ventures saw a good year as well. I ended up having my visual art accepted into 11 juried shows, and winning an HM at Art Association of Madison County’s show at the Anderson Museum of Art and a Judge’s Choice at the Northern Indiana Pastel Society’s Annual Exhibit. I also exhibited at other venues throughout the year, was the Muncie Artist’s Guild Artist of the Month in July; I took part in the 31 pastels in 31 day challenge in October (and successfully completed 31), and I had some nice sales of my work throughout the year. In 2019, I’d love to double those juried shows, sales, and maybe shoot for getting some art published in some lit journals. I’ll never know until I try!

I took part in the 365 Women a Year Playwrights Project again – my 3rd time in the 4 years it’s existed. So, by the end of 2018, I wrote three new plays, and two monologues. Also, one of my plays, “Frida Kahlo: Heartbreaker,” from a previous year was produced at NoPlays’ Herstory 3: Journeywomen in New Haven, CT in March (of which I was able to attend!), and that same play was produced at the 365 Women a Year Play Festival at FSU, produced by White Mouse Theatre Productions in November. So, I keep on keeping on with my playwriting goals in 2019. I hope to get more productions, and be even more prolific in writing plays.

Finally, poetry is where a lot of my writing flows and I guess there must be something about the number 11, because I was published 11 times (which for me is not a good average…meaning I didn’t write as much or submit as much to up my odds), but the major news: two books! My full-length collection, It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, was published in July by Chatter House Press, and Red Mare 16, my chapbook collection of Paparazzi for the Birds was published by Red Mare Press in November. I had several opportunities to read poetry this year, twice as a featured reader, once in Fishers and once in Toledo, OH. And, towards the end of 2018, my friend, Mary Sexson and I, formed Poetry Sisters…which you’ll hear more about during 2019. So, my goals for poetry in 2019: write more and submit more. I will also be officially launching It’s Not Love, Unfortunately, at Poetry on Brick Street in February. So, along with my books, and Poetry Sisters, I hope to be reading a lot more across the region in the coming year.

If that were not enough for 2018. I did become a great-grandma again in May, and I was selected to be on the board of the Midwest Writers Workshop, of which I’m quite honored. So, 2018 was a darn good year for me, personally. You notice I didn’t mention politics…all these good things happened despite what is playing constantly in the background.

So, I call this blog Writing Prompt Pit Stop, so I guess I should post a few prompts!

  1. In your daybook, write about a time that you’ve given yourself permission to take a break from something important to you, perhaps a blog, writing, painting, family, a person, and then picked up later better (or worse) than before. Take about 10 minutes and see what surfaces.
  2. Unfortunately,  a lot of us don’t get through any year without suffering some loss of some kind. It might be a loss of a loved one, a job, a friendship, a dream… So, make a list of losses – maybe from one year, or maybe a compilation. Then from that list pick the one that is either the hardest, or that comes easiest…and write. Maybe, have one of your characters suffer the loss(es), if that makes it easier.
  3. Write about traveling someplace that you’ve never been. Maybe you finally got to go, when you never thought you would. Was it as wonderful as you hoped? What was the most surprising thing about the destination? What is something that happened on this trip that you will never forget? Is it memoir worthy?
  4. Use these words in what you write: Fresh start, trigger warnings, Cactus.

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

Bring on 2019, and keep writing!

Lylanne

 

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

Writing Prompt Pit Stop

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s exactly one week before Christmas, and as a writing instructor I just recently got all of my grading completed and can finally relax for a few weeks before another new semester begins. So this week with the holidays on my mind, there’s always a couple of other things as well – one, I have free time so I can catch up on even more writing and maybe finish a full-length play or novel that I’ve been working on for years and, two, that it never goes unnoticed that two days before Christmas, when I was twelve years old, my paternal grandma died. This year will mark the 45th anniversary of her death, and that doesn’t seem possible that it’s been that long, or that I’m so old! If that wasn’t enough, in 2007, on that same date (December 23) my beloved cat, Jonathon, who I had in my life for eighteen years, took ill and had to be put down.

Image     Image

Jonathon pics circa early 2007 – one with a wink and one helping me write on my laptop.

Loss is hard to take at anytime of year, but it does seem like it happens quite often near holidays – be it Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc. And, if it’s not loss – there’s always plenty of illnesses to around at this time of year. I was just telling a friend of mine last weekend that as a child I was sick nearly every Christmas with strep throat and a 102 degree fever, and I bet a lot of you had experiences like that as well.

So I was thinking that for this week’s prompt we’ll focus on loss/illness/disappointment…give the holidays a little twist instead of the happy, happy that we always idealize this time of year to be. Here’s your twenty-fifth prompt:

“Melancholy Holidays”

1) In your daybook write about someone close to you that you’ve lost near the holidays. It doesn’t have to be Christmas, it could be the 4th of July, or even your own birthday. If you’ve not lost someone near any holiday, write about someone that you’ve lost that you especially miss during one of these special days. Write about a memory that you have of them at the holidays, did you have any special traditions? Write down anything that you can remember.

2) Write about a Christmas/Winter break when you were sick. Did you miss something you’d been looking forward to? Did you get special treatment? Did you get left behind with a babysitter, or by yourself?

3) If you don’t want to write about loss or illness, why don’t you write about your biggest disappointment during the holidays. Was it something you asked Santa for and didn’t get? A Christmas or New Year’s Eve spent alone?  Flip that and write about the best gift Santa brought you, or the best Christmas or New Year’s Eve ever!

4) Write on any of these prompts for 10 minutes or until you run out of steam. After you get to that point, work your writing into your favorite genre: a poem, a play, an essay/memoir, or a short story. Then, as always, revise – cut/add – give your writing plenty of energy and imagery!

As with all writing, this Melancholy Holidayswriting 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