Writing Prompt Pit Stop: PoMoSco Challenge #1 Pick & Mix

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! So, here we are in April, and that means it’s National Poetry Month! If you followed along with me last year, you will remember that I participated in The Found Poetry Review‘s Oulipost Project – where I posted a poem here a day for all 30 days of April. Well, I will be posting a poem a day all month again for a The Found Poetry Review Project 2015. This time it is PoMoSco, which stands for Poetry Month Scout, but you will have to read my poems on the official PoMoSco site, and while you’re there, maybe you can check out some of my fellow Poetry Scouts. With this project I will be writing along with 213 other “scouts” representing 43 states and 12 countries to earn digital merit badges for completing experimental and found poetry prompts.

If you care to follow along, or at least find easy access to which badge I’m attempting, this will be an easy place to keep track as you can click on my PoMoSco and read the poem after seeing what the prompt was here on my blog. In addition, it will make it easy for those of you who want to try some of these prompts on your own, just as you could last year.

So Day 1 PoMoSco Prompt is Pick & Mix:

To earn the Pick & Mix badge, begin by selecting a source text of your choice.  Browse through a selection of your text, copying down words and phrases that interest you. Craft a poem using only words you found in the text, arranging them in any order you choose.

Credit your source text at the bottom of your post.

The Found Poetry Review. PoMoSco. Prompt 1. 1 Apr 2015.

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: A Fresh Start, A Big Challenge

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! Here we are at the beginning of a new year. I was going to write a send-off to 2014 last week, but decided against it, as I felt that during my blogging during that topsy-turvy year left not too much more to be said. All I can say is I’m thrilled to be in 2015 with a clean slate and a fresh start for all endeavors…including my writing.

As I’ve written here in years past, I’m not one that makes New Year’s resolutions, instead I like to set goals. I have many goals for this year, among them to get more poems published, get my full-length poetry manuscript sent out, get some of my plays staged, etc. But another goal I have is actually a challenge that I share with one of my dear poet friends, Mary Sexson, and that is to write a poem every day…yes, that’s right…365 poems. Not just one a month, which can produce a lot in itself, but this is a daily endeavor. It is a huge commitment, but in sharing it with others it holds one more accountable, much like doing Weight Watchers or some such thing.

Mary and I completed this challenge in 2012 and we both did really well and had so many good poems that came out of it – some that were included in our poetry book, along with Jayne Marek: Company of Women: New and Selected Poems (Chatter House Press, 2013), and many were also accepted by a variety of literary journals. During 2013, we were more involved with promoting the book, even though we still wrote poems often. In 2014, we both completed the Found Poetry Review’s Oulipost project during April: National Poetry Month. That project was a poem a day from a provided prompt, it was a fun and rewarding challenge – and one I wasn’t sure I could complete in 30 days, only because of my teaching and other various commitments, but I did and it felt good.

After Oulipost was over, I know I planned to keep writing a poem a day…but it didn’t happen…and during the last four months of 2014 I became more involved with theatre again – I was selected to be a director at the Canton One Acts Play Festival in January 2015 (my directing debut!) and that has taken up time, and I also committed to the 365 Women A Year: A Playwriting Project where I wrote two short plays, one featuring Frida Kahlo, the other Alice Neel.  I absolutely love theatre and want more of it in my life, but I still love writing poems and my poetry writing friends.

Over Christmas I visited with Mary in Indianapolis and we decided we would make 2015 a year we write a poem a day – just like in 2012. Mary says, it makes her “scared and happy all at the same time.” I understand her sentiments. When you think of it as writing a poem a day for 365 days it seems like an overwhelming undertaking, but I can tell you when you get something written it feels good…and when you get to the end of the year and see what you’ve accomplished – it’s a wonderful feeling! I decided there might be others out there that might like our challenge, posted it on Facebook, and we’ve already got another poet from Indy that has joined in…welcome Dawn! It would be cool if others from WordPress joined in this challenge with us this year…

So, here’s the 58th edition of prompts for Writing Prompt Pit Stop to kick off 2015:

“A Fresh Start, A Big Challenge”

1) In your daybook write a rough draft of a poem…each and every day of 2015. It doesn’t mean that it has to be a complete poem, or one that is a masterpiece. In fact, it’s good to just have starts and duds; these can be catalysts into a new, better poem the next day (or someday when you feel tapped out). The point is – you’re attempting a poem a day...and from my experience, you can salvage quite a bit of the ones that you thought were awful at first. It just takes a lot of revising and playing around with word/line arrangements.

2) Don’t be hard on yourself if you miss a day…simply write two the next and so forth – the idea is just to get more poems written in 2015. If you end up with 52….one a week, isn’t that more than you have right now? Remember, you can get quite a lot written in just 10 minutes.

3) If you write plays too (as I do) or short stories – take some time and write five pages of dialogue a day. If you’re on a roll, map out dialogue for a 10 minute play. Flash fiction, flash creative nonfiction, and so forth can be written in the same way – just take 10 minutes every day and write as much prose as you can. If you’re working on a story already, great! If not, these writings could give you jump starts to ideas that you didn’t even know were there.

4) Find a writing buddy or two or three and take this challenge with them. It keeps you honest, and if you have the chance set aside a time once a month to share what you’ve written – it will really keep you going, believe me. Writing, as we know, is a solitary action…but we all need an audience and what better audience to try new work out on than writing friends that you trust? That means not someone that says “I like it,” and “that’s nice” all of the time, but who really tell you if they think something doesn’t work or you need to add/subtract more; or what it is about your poem/play/story that works for them.

5) As always, I wish for you a successful writing year! If you’re interested, you can always let me know if you’ve accepted the challenge and what you’re doing to keep yourself motivated; if you feel up to it, I’m always open to any sharing of your work, or comments on this blog…or you can contact me at lylanne@lylanne.com

Check back here weekly as I will be posting prompts to help give you ideas for your writing endeavors.

Writing Stop Pit Stop: Word Exchange Play

Welcome to Writing Stop Pit Stop! How time flies! I started blogging with WordPress two years ago today, but I’ve consistently posted every week or more starting a year ago with this format of fueling some ideas for writing. I know I’m always looking for prompts – in everyday life, or by seeing what other writers put out there that work for them. An unexpected “prompt” has developed from writing this blog, and by participating in Oulipost 2014 in April. Through that challenge a few of us Ouliposters began following one another on WordPress, and after our stint in April was over, Lewis Oakwood, from England, who writes the blog, The Thought-Sphere World, began posting quite regularly in my comment section. What he was posting was my own words from that particular week’s blog as a poem. What he was doing fascinated me, not because he was using “my words,” but because his poems really expressed in a really cool way what the blog had been about that week.

Naturally, I enjoy a challenge and went to his blog and tried my hand at reusing some of his words to see how that turned out. It was also interesting because he was posting his own short poems, or in one instance a twenty syllable two-line sonnet. Once I wrote my poems from his words, I posted my efforts for him to see on his blog and it has started a nice back and forth in our comments section.

Here are a couple of Lewis’ poems (you can peruse through past blogs to find more…or to see what he did) using my blog:

That $$ Thing
Come to terms with that $$ thing
you know what I’m talking about,
no money = money woes.
– How to get out of these money woes –
Don’t make money a taboo subject
talk openly about it, face it
that $$ thing.
– Don’t hesitate to develop the things that you truly love to do –
Put in the hours,
it make things a whole lot easier in the long run.
What’s the story there?

If Death Pulled Off A Surprise

At this point in life,
– at this moment –
what would you do
if death took a loved one?

ponder the relationships
of those nearest to you.

Here’s a couple of my poems using his blogs:

The Morning After

Slow half step, then another,

very slow another:


Here’s the twenty syllable two-line sonnet effort:

As I Sat, I Sang The Alone Song

Songbird fairyland sonnet in fair, stare

there watching the wildcats naked with care.

What we’re doing is a version of found poetry, but it also is a good exercise in word play. And, if you haven’t played with words (or don’t think of it in that way) that’s what I’m going to challenge you to do this week! So, for your 44th prompt try some word play:

“Stealing Words & Making Them Your Own”

Disclaimer: I’m not advocating plagiarism! You should always acknowledge who you took your words from…in an epigraph under the title, or somewhere if your work gets published. If you followed my stint as an Ouliposter, you know that I always gave credit to the Toledo Blade and any of the writers whose columns/articles I used. With that said, have some fun:

1) If you’ve not perused any other blogs, this might be a good time to do that. Find someone that speaks to you, someone who is writing about something you’re interested in, or is using language that you like. Then don’t copy their work word for word, but extract a few words out of their blog and formulate your own poem.

2) It might not be easy to come up with a finished piece by doing this challenge when working in other genres besides poetry, but something that I learned many years back…is that you might find words that you like (or want to utilize in your own vocabulary). Make a list of those words as you discover them and then try to consciously implement them in your essays, stories, or plays. For example, I’m a big Kurt Vonnegut fan. I’ve read all of his books, sometimes more than once. I’ve also had my daybook near me as I’ve read his works before and when I’d come across words he used that I liked, I compiled a list of them. Then if I need a word in a poem or play and I’m not liking what I’m coming up with, I utilize my lists of favorite words.

3) Just play with rearranging your own words from your own works. Maybe something that hasn’t worked in the past – play with word order, omit words, use a thesaurus, be silly…sometimes that’s when something serious comes!

4) Take any of your word play pieces and revise. Revision is always important, you’ve heard me say that before. Also, if you do like what you’ve come up with and plan on sending it out in the world, do give credit to the person who inspired you in some way. And, if you’re up to the challenge, strike up a writing friendship through your blogging/sharing words experiences…and post in their blog comment section if you dare.

Don’t hesitate to share, in the comments section, what your writings with word play brings about.

See you here next Wednesday with another writing prompt! (And, we’re an hour into Thursday…but it was Wednesday when I started writing! :-))

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: 2014 Halftime Goals Check!

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Here we are in June, 2014 – 6 months in, or halfway through the year. If you remember, at the first of the year I put out a challenge for you to not make a New Year’s Resolution for 2014, as we all know how well those work, rather to take me up on my “mapping out a plan” challenge. This is where I asked you to:

“…sit down and map out a plan for your writing, or other project, that you really want to do this year. Instead of saying “I’m going to write every day in 2014,” and then when you miss a day and beat yourself up and give up…why not say, “I’m going to plan on writing as much as I can each month, and by March I’ll have X amount of that novel written, or X amount of poems for a manuscript, or have X amount of that full-length play written….” Then if you make that happen, pat yourself on the back and say “Now by June I’ll have X amount more of that novel written, or X amount more poems for a manuscript, or have several 10 minute plays written.” If you don’t make it to your goal for March, simply map out something that you know you are likely to attain!

If you make June’s deadline, then shoot for X more amount of writing in September in whatever genre that you’re working in.”

Well, it’s June! How are you doing? Have you made any of your goals? Have you tried something new? Do you already have X more as a goal set for September? Have you surprised yourself by completing something that ordinarily would have fallen victim to procrastination? Or have you fallen victim to procrastination?

Here’s what I said I’d do back in that first post of 2014: “I plan to take my own advice and map out some projects, and maybe take a workshop or class doing something that I’ve never tried before.”

I’m pleased to say that I kept my word! I have got a new chapbook ready to send out. I’ve been in contact with a publisher about a full-length manuscript that I’ve been working on the past few years; I took part in Oulipost 2014 which was a challenge (that was outside of my comfort zone – but I completed it [30 poems in 30 days] and gained so much from doing so!) put out by The Found Poetry Review for National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo). I have taken on a new writing gig as the arts blogger for Wheresthecat.com. I’ve exhibited art in the first art walk in Toledo this year, and I have an art exhibit lined up for my art in September. So, yes, I’ve had a good six months so far in 2014, but I want more!

So, here’s my challenge for you (and myself) for the last half of 2014:

1) Let’s keep mapping out those challenges for ourselves. Get something written on paper – it makes it much more real than just thinking about it. If you have not followed along in early 2014 – what are you waiting on? Don’t feel like a failure or like it’s too late now. It’s never too late. Set a small goal first, and then go for it.

2) Do something that you haven’t done before. Get out of your comfort zone. In my case, it was doing Oulipost 2014. But now that I’ve done that, I’d like to try something else that I haven’t done. Some of you may not have taken the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge in November – that’s a great challenge. Maybe there’s a local writing group that you can join in on or, if not, start your own! I’ve started many over the years and it’s a great way to meet like-minded people. At this time I participate in three writing groups – two that I’m in charge of, and one that I just go to participate and enjoy. If you’ve not tried submitting your writing somewhere…take a chance (after revising, of course) – look up publishers on New Pages (free), or Duotrope (small fee) that accepts work similar to yours. The main thing is just to stretch your wings and take a chance.

3) If you write poems, make a goal to get 16-24 of them together for a chapbook by the end of the year. If you write plays, make a goal to write a 10 minute play and submit it somewhere by the end of the year (There’s also National Playwriting Month (NaPlWriMo) in November too!). If you write fiction, make a goal to either write a flash fiction piece and send it out, or get that novel started (or finished) that you’ve been toying with forever. If you write essays, or memoir – do the same…as you can see, the main thing is just to sit down and write. I write everyday. Even if it’s just 10 minutes. It works…it keeps you going! For my visual artist friends – get to drawing or painting…at least something everyday. It works. Baby steps….

I hope all of you have been having a good, creative 2014 so far, and let’s make the last half of 2014 even better…let’s make all of our creative goals come to fruition…or at least get closer.

Don’t hesitate to share, in the comments section, what creative things you’ve been doing so far in 2014 or what goals that you’ve met already…or write at least one goal so you that you can check back in December and see if you met or surpassed it.

See you here next Wednesday with another writing prompt!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Prompting Again!

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! It’s Wednesday, and that means another excursion into some writing prompt that I decide sounds like fun this week. As most know, I was posting a poem a day here last month during National Poetry Month, and whether you followed along or not, there were plenty of prompts provided there following each of my Oulipost poems. Nevertheless, some of you might enjoy more “conventional” prompts, so we’ll do a little of that here too, but from time to time I will toss out an opportunity to experiment with writing “found” poetry or prose, or just writing to some photo that I’ve taken and decide might create a good jumping off point to a story, an essay, or a poem. Today, we’re going to ease back into the prompts and make it a simple one.

Here’s something that I think is an interesting prompt to explore. Do you ever feel like you see yourself differently than others seem to? For example, do you think you’re more fun-loving and silly, and then you have others tell you that they see you as more serious and rigid? Do you see yourself as shy and reserved, and others see you as confident and outgoing? The list can go on and on.

What I’m thinking is that you can easily turn those ideas into a poem, have a character that is going through similar questioning or some revelation about themselves, or write a creative nonfiction essay about your own experience when someone sees you as someone you’re not.

Enjoy exploring this idea, and if you want to share your musings you post them in the comment section or send me an email at: lylanne22@yahoo.com

See you next Wednesday!!

Oulipost: The Exit Interview

The Oulipost project was officially over after I posted my Patchwork Quilt poem…poem #30, on April 30th. I participated in the challenge that was put on by The Found Poetry Review as a part of National Poetry Month, along with 67 fellow poets from across the world. When I started the project, I didn’t know what I was in for…I suspected a lot of time spent on working on prompts that I had no idea if I would have time to complete. The surprise was…I completed all 30 prompts, each day, and got to know some wonderful people and their work along the way. We were asked to complete an exit interview, and it’s taken me four days to finally succumb to the fact that this wonderful ride is really over.

The Interview:

Question 1: What happened during Oulipost that you didn’t expect. What are the best and worst moments for you?

I didn’t expect to learn as much as I did, not only about Oulipo and found poetry, but about myself and my own writing style; how even with constraints and others words (taken from the local newspaper, The Toledo Blade) that I found – my humor, my ways of seeing the world came shining through even when I’m not conscious that it’s happening. I really feel the worst moment was the day that I posted my final poem for the project. Otherwise, there was not a bad moment about the whole process.

Question 3: What does your street look like?

My street is going through a transition, just like I am…a rebirth…while my street is bursting with spring colors, and grass that is growing so fast it needs cutting already, birds that are merrily singing their songs – I am bursting with creative ideas, new projects, and singing right along. There’s also a lot of For Sale signs coming down…and going up along my street…and although I’m not going anywhere I feel like I’m moving in new directions. I can’t ignore the potholes and cracks in my road that have come about from this horrid winter we’ve had (and with how cool it’s been here…still hanging on!) and several of them were recently patched; however, some of them are wearing orange cones as hats…waiting for repairs…and waiting…and that is what some of my poems are doing… waiting…and waiting to be revised as I finish up the grading of this spring semester, catch up on reading, DVRing, and visiting with friends…that didn’t get as much attention during April.

Question 4: Who is your spirit Oulipostian?

First and foremost, I felt inspired and welcomed by all Ouliposters who I had interactions with all month. But the ones that I kept up with by either corresponding with or visiting their blog site everyday without missing: Jody Rich, Nancy Long, Margo Roby, Mary Sexson, Amanda Earl, Massimo Soranzio, Barb Crary, & James W. Moore…just to name a few!

Question 5: What are the top three poems you wrote during the project?

1. “Shaken, Then Stirred: A Jarred Version” – Canada Dry: https://lylannemusselman.wordpress.com/…/oulipost-29…/

2. “Controlled Citizens” – Column Inches:https://lylannemusselman.wordpress.com/…/oulipost-14…/

3. “Don’t Fail to Cash in on Chances” – Sonnet: https://lylannemusselman.wordpress.com/…/oulipost-12…/

Question 2: What questions do you have for your teaspoons? What questions do your teaspoons have for you?

My teaspoons would like to know why I haven’t been more vigilant with their bathing during April. They’re use to always being snug against each other safely tucked in their drawer. During April they were sprawled out all over the counter top, tossed in the sink, and soaking endlessly in various coffee cups.

I would ask them: As old as you all are, why can’t you wash yourselves?

Question 6: What will you do next?

I‘m always writing poetry, so it wouldn’t be me if I wasn’t doing that; however, writing more found poetry is definitely in my future…especially while it’s fresh on my mind. I also will be sorting out my “regular” poems to put into a couple of new manuscripts, and I have enough poems leftover to compile some chapbooks. I will also revise some of these poems from the Oulipost project in hopes of having enough to have a chapbook as well. I will also get more sleep, visit family and friends more, and enjoy the outdoors.

I’m also hopeful that a lot of us Ouliposters will keep in touch and continue sharing prompts, ideas, and poems.

This was a a grand experience!

Oulipost #30: Patchwork Quilt

Day 30. I made it. A poem everyday, composed from the Toledo Blade guided by an Oulipo prompt each day. When I started out, I had no idea what was going to happen. I keep so busy with teaching and all sorts of other writing and art commitments, that I was afraid I wouldn’t have time and this would go by the wayside. But I found that doing this became something I needed to do. It was not a burden – not any of the days this month, no matter if I was visiting family and friends in Indiana, participating in poetry readings for National Poetry Month, grading, socializing with friends, and meeting someone new. There was room for it all. I gained a lot, and I will write about that on this blog soon. For today, I’m going to present you with my last poem as one of the National Poetry Month 2014 “Official Ouliposters,”one of the 67 poets from around the world (sponsored by The Found Poetry Review) that got to participate this year and I was fortunate enough to come to know over this month. Today, in our final prompt, we were asked to do a Patchwork Quilt. A poem that compiles lines and words from every poem we’ve written this month. What I did was just go through each day and select one, sometimes two lines, from each poem and on the “Snowball” days at least two to three words from those – to compose my poem. It was interesting to see how even though I felt I was working on “Toledo” poems, several other themes came shining through more than I thought!

Without further ado, here is my Patchwork Quilt poem, a nod to the Toledo Blade, the final Oulipost prompt, and a link to read my fellow Ouliposter’s Patchwork Quilt poems:

Fairy Godmothers Are Still Making Their Magic

People are getting excited about new things.

If us, spring 2014:

To express in words, to hold within.

Spring games draw crowds

out; same-sex sure strong – human hardcore –

beyond the bold haiku of the twerk.

“Give me everything you got.”

Come on casino, chime.

Something always needs attention on the farm.

I do.


Better sex, tell her never rest.

Fortunately, fairy godmothers are still making their magic tone,

to mate another year –

circus cynic’s competition, fire-eating crisis intervention.

Same-sex crisis over, same-sex save,


and a surprising season of fresh adoptions.

Celebrate good times, expect crowds, “group hug.”


A no na = doom: pi pun,

I wish for a better world, but I also did the meaningless arithmetic.

We need inspirational storytelling to reward character’s snooping.

Host and play the next volunteers.

Developed a little reputation?

Those are passions I’d like to take with me,

solutions to the straight unwise:

declining species, vanished.

A French exhibit flavored art grateful

at a ‘show cause’ hearing – a happy day.

That’s the future.

It makes it easier, especially when love is in the air

fostering a creative rehabilitation.

Everything and anything can grow here.

Sometimes you can taste something and

just fall in love.



All lines/words in this poem came from various authors listed elsewhere on my blog the Toledo Blade. April 1-29, 2014.

Oulipost prompt:

Patchwork Quilt

Conclude the project by writing a poem that incorporates words and lines from all of your past 29 poems.

A link to my fellow Ouliposter’s poems from today:


See you soon….