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!


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!