Writing Prompt Pit Stop: PoMoSco # 25 Crowdsource

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, with today’s PoMoSco prompt # 25 there’s only five more to go! I have one more prompt to go back and post for those of you that have been following along, and that’s Day 23 – Click Trick. Nevertheless, I did get today’s done on time! This is one that took me outside of my comfort zone, as it involved me either sitting in a public place with a sign for people to come over and talk to me, or to go up to random people with my concrete noun to define…and that’s the option that I chose. There is a big art event here in Toledo, Ohio, called Artomatic 419 and so I figured that was a pretty good place to find some people that wouldn’t find my request strange. So, here is my Crowdsource poem, “Written Emotions.” Enjoy!

Here is the Day 25 prompt, Crowdsource:

Pick a public place with a lot of foot traffic. Select a concrete noun (e.g. tree, wax, mouse, window). Hold or display a sign inviting the public to contribute their definitions of the word or talk about what they think about when they hear that word; alternately, walk around and ask random people to contribute.

Collect a minimum of ten definitions, and use those words to write your poem. Do not include the chosen noun anywhere in the poem’s body or title.

Cite your collection method, location and chosen word at the bottom of your post.

The Found Poetry Review. PoMoSco. Prompt 25. 25 Apr 2015.

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: PoMoSco # 12 Chance Walk

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Today is day 12 of  PoMoSco prompts during National Poetry Month, and this one involved one of the “Chance Operations,” which was a “Chance Walk.” I was in downtown Toledo and I had to walk a ways to my destination, so I figured what better time to put my “chance walk” to use. I knew where I needed to go, but I hadn’t planned on parking so far away! Then when I walked back, I took a turn instead of returning to my car…and ended up at the place Corporal Klinger made Toledo famous for: Tony Packo’s. Here is my poem for today, “Free Spirit Event (Toledo).”

Here is the Day 12 prompt, Chance Walk:

Go for a walk, copying down text from all of the signage you pass by. At each intersection, or at a point where you would normally make a choice of which direction to go, flip a coin to determine your new direction and continue copying text down as you go. Craft a poem from the words you collect on your walk.

Variant: If you don’t live in a location conducive to this and/or can’t bear the winter weather, choose an indoor location where there’s lots of space and different directions one might head — such as a museum.

Post your completed poem to the site, accompanied by a citation of where you took your walk.

The Found Poetry Review. PoMoSco. Prompt 12. 12 Apr 2015.

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Re-surfacing

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Last week I shared how low I’d been feeling, how it was even affecting my dreams – metaphorically and physically, and I gave a few prompts to write about what you do, or have done, when you’ve felt that way. This week, as promised, I’m going to share a few of the ways that I’ve found my way out of my slump, and a few prompts to write on as well.

I mentioned that I’d taken steps to make some changes in my life to help alleviate the things that I felt were getting out of my control. For one thing, when it comes to the water here in Toledo, Ohio, it’s supposed to be safe to drink now. Nevertheless, when possible, I’m still drinking bottled water and giving my kitties only bottled water, and I’ve found that writing a few poems about that water crisis, and Lake Erie, has helped in two ways – it’s gotten my creative juices flowing again, and it’s helped me to put down on paper how I really feel about the entire situation – instead of keeping it all bottled (ha!) up inside. Speaking of poetry, about the same time this water crisis had come along, I’d already signed up to do the August Poetry Postcard Project, Year 8. I’d never participated in this project before, but thought it sounded fun, and if you followed along with my Oulipost 2014 posts during National Poetry Month, you know I love poetry challenges. Doing this poem a day, on a postcard, and sending it out to a stranger (and sometimes to someone I know!) on the list per directions of the project, has given me a real boost.

Next, I mentioned how money has been an issue – well, that’s probably not going to stop anytime soon, but I do have renewed hope as I’d been sending out resumes and I was recently hired at a new college that pays a bit more (even though it’s still part-time) and it’s in Ann Arbor, MI which is a still a drive, but not quite as far as I was driving before. I’m excited at the new prospects for opportunity, and a new adventure, so that again, boosts my spirits. In the meantime, I’m still looking for freelance writing gigs, or another part-time college gig that can help get me way out of my money slump. At least, I feel that there’s hope again!

Then, there was that break-in. Well, there’s not a lot I can do about that – except to be vigilant and set the alarm whenever I leave the house, never leave any windows open when I’m not home (and actually I’ve been opening only a couple that I can see when I am home – luckily, it’s been a cooler than usual summer here!), and I just don’t allow myself to dwell on that it happened; by doing that, I’m certainly not worried about being at the house, or that it’ll happen again. I just have to take one day at a time.

During this trying summer, I have found (and I already knew) what great friends and family that I have. If it had not been for them, I might not have found my way out of this slump and for their time spent with me, & on the phone; their actual help when needed (laptop, $, a dinner, or margarita, out now and then), and just for the moral support – I’m grateful.

Oh, yes, and I’ve been back out in the nature that I love, taking walks, writing in my daybook, snapping photos, and that does a lot to lift the spirits as well. In fact, yesterday on one of these walks, I overheard a young woman, walking past me on one of the trails, talking on her cell phone. She was saying,“Who knew? This place is actually beautiful! Toledo, Ohio! It’s prettier than back home, except for the mountains…” That made me smile. Toledo is a beautiful place, with beautiful people. Sometimes you just have to re-open your eyes and look around…and listen.

So, here’s hoping that we all have a good end to this summer, and a great fall season (my favorite time of year!). With that in mind, here’s your Writing Prompt Pit Stop 52nd prompt(s):

“Re-surfacing”

1) In your daybook, write down a list of all of the people, things, and places that you are grateful for. Express why. Out of that list, pick one and write for ten minutes or until you exhaust the subject. You can return to this list throughout the year when you’re perusing for something to write about.

2) Join some sort of writing challenge, or create one yourself! There are tons out there all year – check out The Found Poetry Review for some of their challenges, in November, Nanowrimo comes back around (novel writing in a month); so just look, you may be amazed at what you discover – and you will find that you can make new friends, and “meet” others from all over the world by doing these activities.

3) Remember last week that I asked you to write about a stretch of time when it seemed that everything was going against you. This week, either flip that around and write about a time that everything seemed to go your way, or take that time that you wrote about and express how you came out of your slump, write what happened, who helped – and remember, you can use these prompts to write for one of your characters, it doesn’t always have to be a “memoir” per say…or it could but no one would need to know that.

4) Write about a job where you felt you’d come to the end of the road. Did you quit? Did you stay even though you didn’t want to? Did you search for another job while working there? Have you ever had a job that you loved, but paid so little that you had to give it up? Write about your feelings with the job you have now – good or bad.

5) Any of these prompts can lend themselves to a piece of poetry, an essay, part of a memoir, a short story, or a play. Once you’ve written and revised to your liking, be sure to send your work out in the world – or at least share here in comments if you’re so inclined.

See you again next week!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Crash & Burn

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, today is not Wednesday, it’s Saturday…so a bit later than usual with my post, but that’s okay because I’m here now, writing, and because sometimes change is good! So, if you’ve visited my blog much you’ve undoubtedly figured out that this summer (and this entire 2014) has been one of a lot of hurdles for me. We had that worst winter ever here in Toledo with more snow that one could have imagined, there’s been deaths of people that have meant a lot to me in the past, there’s been promise of a full-time position yanked (two years in a row) because of low funding, there’s been my own low funding because of my adjuncting circumstances, there’s been that break-in at my house just a month ago, and then this past weekend, we here in Toledo, OH, could not drink, bathe, etc., in our water because of toxins from Lake Erie...some of you may have been aware since it made national, and I hear international, news. I will say that is something I didn’t think I’d see…a city in America, one that I live in no less, that is not able to drink the water…. 

Hence, I’ve just needed some down time…and not to mention it was the end of the summer semester this week, so I’ve been grading as well…and that’s the scoop on how how I’ve been living lately. Then, the night before last I had another of my recurring dreams that I’ve had over the years…usually, it’s a plane crash. I see it from a distance, sometimes it’s a major jetliner, other times it’s a small plane…very rarely am I inside as the plane is going down, but that’s happened too. This time it was a new spin, so to speak…it was the Goodyear Blimp…it was off in the distance, and it was making some crazy dips in the sky, and I knew it was going to crash, but I couldn’t take my eyes off of it…then it would bounce back up high in the sky and dip again lower…and lower…until it went behind some trees…and then there was the plume of smoke and then the flames from behind the trees…in my dream I felt that helplessness and panic, and the crying. Then I woke up.

I used to think that those dreams meant I shouldn’t fly, but I’ve since learned that those plane crash (and now blimps of all things!) dreams mean that my life is out of control. I think that’s a pretty good explanation actually. However, I have been taking steps to make some changes in my life, and that helps give me hope…which is something I feel that I’d lost in the past month or so. Hope is an important thing! Next Wednesday, I will write about all of the good things that have happened this year, because out of all of these dismal events and occurrences of 2014, there has been a lot of good things happen and I’m well aware of those, plus of all the good things to come…which is my hope kicking in!

So in this 51st post here are the prompts for this week:

“Dream Weaving”

1) In your daybook write about a recurring dream that you have. What is the focus of that dream? When do you find that you have these dreams? What happens in your dream? Does it change from time to time? Have you read up on what the dreams mean?

2) Have you ever had a dream that came true? When was it? What was it about? How close to the actual dream did the events occur? Have you ever changed plans because of a dream you had? Have you ever tried something new because of a dream you had?

3) So, what would you do if you could not drink, bathe, brush your teeth, do laundry, with your city water/water source? It sounds like something out of a novel or a movie doesn’t it? Write about that or some other natural resource that we take for granted…and then it’s gone. It could be from your viewpoint, or from a character’s viewpoint that you’re working with.

4) Write about a stretch of time that it seemed that life was going against you. What happened? How did your circumstances change? Do you think these times occur naturally or do you think in some ways we bring them on ourselves? Write on that for a while and see what comes out for you or your character.

5) Take any of these prompts and write on them for at least 10 minutes or until you exhaust the topic. Any of the prompts can lend themselves to a piece of poetry, an essay, part of a memoir, a short story, or a play. Once you’ve written and revised to your liking, then be sure to send your work out in the world – or at least share in comments if you’re so inclined.

See you again Wednesday!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Summer Daze Redux

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Well, another summer semester is drawing to a close, and in a mere few weeks another fall semester begins. Last week I wrote about how much I’m enjoying this summer, and I still am. I just don’t know why the summer season seems to fly by faster than any other – even though autumn is actually my favorite season of the year. I’m just worried with as cool as it’s been this summer (only three 90 degree days so far here in Toledo…yet, I’m not complaining about that! Ha!) that our winter will be another like the past one…and, ugh, well I wrote about that winter way too often. So let’s think of good, positive things such as more warm days, more days out on the patios, more relaxing times than taxing times, and more times with friends and loved ones.

I feel that there’s plenty of things that we haven’t tapped into when it comes to summer and writing about the things we like about this season, or about some of our favorite memories, or the opposite, and because of that I’m going to add on to the prompts I gave last Wednesday and keep the summer fling going. So in this, my 50th Writing Prompt Pit Stop entry, I’m going to encourage you to explore some more summer season ideas, and give you another image to work with:

“Summer Daze Redux!”

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Frog at Wildwood Metropark

1) Frogs have been having a banner summer around these parts. I’ve seen more frogs in the pond at Toledo’s Wildwood Metropark than I’ve seen there before, and when I went to Indiana last weekend to be with family, at their pond there were tons of bullfrogs calling out in the evening. I’ve even painted a few pictures of frogs this summer! So, from this photo I took at Wildwood Metropark, maybe it will inspire you to write about some memory involving a frog, or will inspire you to write a poem about this particular one. Remember the lyric “Jeremiah was a bullfrog…” from “Joy to the World” by Three Dog Night? Maybe there’s a memory or a story there. Have you ever read Annie Dillard‘s Creative Nonfiction “The Giant Waterbug”? If not, you should…it’s an excellent example of imagery and how, if written well, those images will stick with you…for better or worse. You won’t forget the frog in that essay…. Have you ever eaten frog legs? I haven’t. I’m not sure I ever will, but I have friends and family that have and love them…see, there are stories and poems everywhere.

2) Last week I suggested to write about the sounds of summer (did you write about frogs?), so this time around let’s concentrate on the tastes of summer. How about all of those grand veggies from the garden or the local farmer’s market? What are your favorites? How do you prepare them? What do you wait all year for to eat at the State Fair or other festival? Have you ever got the taste of bug spray in your mouth? What’s some other tastes of summer you can think of, good or bad? Make a list of them…then choose what interests you most and write on that for 10 minutes or until you exhaust your subject.

3) Write about your favorite song from any summer. There are times that songs sort of get ingrained into your mind during a specific summer, and we all know that music can take us back to a specific place or person. What song brings back your favorite summer memory? Your worst?

4) Write on any or all of these prompts for, yes, 10 min. each or until you exhaust the subject. Then once you have something on the page – decide if you can make a poem out of it; maybe there’s a story there, or an essay. Once you write that out, then revise it – share it here in comments if you wish.

Keep writing!

See you next Wednesday

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Summer Daze

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! This week, things have calmed down a bit and are getting somewhat back to “normal,” if any of us really know what normal is.  Anyway, before the burglary two weeks ago, and even after…I’ve been really taking in the perks of the summer season. I guess that is a result of having such a horrendous winter as we had (at least here in Toledo, OH) this past year and I recall as I was writing the weekly blog back then that I couldn’t wait for summer, for the warm weather, etc., and that I wouldn’t complain about the heat & humidity either…and I haven’t. Because anytime it’s been really extremely hot and humid (which hasn’t been all that often!), I’ve reminded myself of all of those inches of white stuff on my lawn, all over the roads, and all of that shoveling…it seemed it would never end. And, even though I look out and see that my yard needs mowed again, I’m not complaining.

What I’ve really enjoyed about this summer is taking in the times that I’ve been able to sit outside on patios with friends, have a decent dinner, and good conversation, how I’ve been able to go to the park and walk and not feel I’m going to pass out from heat stroke, being able to have windows open (well up until two weeks ago!), and let the birdsong come into my home along with a warm breeze, and I’ve been carving out more me time…without the guilt…taking time to just enjoy the moment, and whatever I’m doing…instead of worrying about things I should be doing or what I should be doing for tomorrow. It’s been a lot less stressful, I’ll tell you…even when I’ve had plenty to keep me stressed. But stress, isn’t going to accomplish anything but more stress…and possible health issues, worry, and a depressed state. I choose not to live that way, and like I told myself this past winter – I’m going to enjoy this summer, no matter what – and I’m keeping that promise to myself.

So for the 49th prompt(s) of Writing Prompt Pit Stop, I’m going to give you one visual prompt and a couple written ones to write on:

“Summer Daze”

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1) Monarch butterflies aren’t too plentiful of late, but I saw this one (in my photograph above) in a meadow on one of my walks last week at the Wildwood Metropark. Is there a poem, a story, or an essay that this image conjures up? Does it bring back any memories of your childhood – chasing butterflies? What do you you know about butterflies? Could you write a good essay about their plight right now? Is there a children’s story just waiting to be told with this butterfly as the main character?

2) It’s summer! How nice it is to get outside and enjoy the great outdoors! I mentioned that I love sitting on patios with friends in the summer, and I miss that in the winter. Write about something that you enjoy doing in the summer, that you don’t get to do in the winter months. Write about your favorite summer activity, sport, or travel spot. Write about your most leisure activity that you enjoy in the summer.

3) Write about the sounds of summer. What does that mean to you? Is it hearing the roar of motorcycles traveling up the road? Is it the bullfrogs singing in harmony? Is it your favorite bird singing? Crickets? Cicadas? Have you listened lately?

4) Write on any or all of these prompts for 10 min. each or until you exhaust the subject. Then once you have something on the page – decide if you can make a poem out of it; maybe there’s a story there, or an essay. Once you write that out, then revise it – share it here in comments if you wish.

Keep writing!

See you next Wednesday!

Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Burglars, Cats, and Clouds, Oh My!

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! So, one week ago today when I posted earlier in the day because I had to leave the house for a while, it was never in my wildest dreams that that would be the last time I would see my beloved laptop. A device that was nearly my left hand as often as I used it. If I could see into the future I would’ve done several things differently, but I’m not a clairvoyant and as they say: hindsight is 20/20. When I returned home around 9 PM…one of my three cats did not greet me, which was unusual, but not unheard of. I came into the house and noticed that a cabinet housing some books was open a bit, and I had not left them open…but silly me, I thought the cats might have done it while playing or something. The thought never crossed my mind that an intruder had been in my home. Then I walked up the few steps to the landing by the two bedrooms…and I saw my jewelry box dumped on my bed. The panic set in. I ran to the other bedroom where my cat (the one that didn’t greet me) likes to sit on the bed and look out the window…that window was wide open…and no Graham in sight. I shut the window so the other two cats wouldn’t get out, and turned and saw my laptop was gone too! It felt like I was in a nightmare. I dialed 911 and reported the break-in as I was heading out the front door to look for my cat…in hopes I could at least find him.

The woman on the phone took my address and said the Toledo police were notified. I called for Graham and turned on my cellphone flashlight in hopes of seeing his eyes shining somewhere. Nothing. My heart was breaking. I called my best friend, Glenn, who was over to my place within 10 minutes. We both looked for Graham and he asked if I’d used the treat bag…as Graham doesn’t miss a treat. Obviously, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I went inside to get that as he still looked for my kitty. As I came out, he came from the backyard saying “Look who I’ve got!” It was Graham! That was a miracle to me as I was afraid they’d stolen him, hurt him, or worse (since he’s a black cat), or I was afraid he’d gotten lost…or hit by a car since he’s not an outdoor cat. (Yes, I’m a writer, so my imagination runs wild!). So, in the big scheme of things…besides a loss of a sense of security, the loss of my laptop with many new writings and various other things I’d saved on there and had not taken the time to backup recently, the loss of a few jewelry items (more sentimental than of monetary value), and the loss of an indoor security camera (and no, I did not have my system on because it hadn’t been working correctly when I was out of the house and I’ve not had the $ for a house call, ugh!) I feel pretty lucky. They could’ve taken so much more…they could’ve destroyed things, they could’ve harmed the cats or let them all outside, or I could have lost Graham forever – but I didn’t. So for that I’m thankful.

The cats (and I) were very skittish for several days and nights…where every noise from outside, or any “normal” house sound we heard…we’d all jump…but little by little, we’ve all settled down. I’ve found (and always knew) that I have some of the best friends around, near and far. Thanks to my best friend, I’ve got new locks on all windows, thanks to two other friends I have the loaner laptop that I’m writing this blog on, and my security company is coming here tomorrow (free of charge!) to fix my door lock so I can lock it when I’m away and feel secure again, and replace that stolen security camera of theirs.

I’ve gone through the five stages of loss (usually thought of as a loss of a loved one through death or divorce, but I think the loss of security is right up there with one’s well-being)…I’ve been in disbelief that it happened (and have kicked myself a few times for leaving that back window open a crack…thinking it was too high off of the ground for anyone to bother with); I’ve been terribly angry…and I’m usually such an easy-going person, but thieves truly do suck, and I do hope they get their comeuppance; the bargaining…thinking, and over-thinking, of what I could’ve done, should’ve done, and what I can do; I’ve been depressed…I’m already hanging on by a thread financially and this just seemed like the last straw, I’ve mourned over writings lost or the time that it will take to recreate files, etc. And, then I’ve finally gotten to the place of acceptance. It happened. It can (and does) happen to most anyone (I’ve also found that it’s happened to more people I know than I ever dreamed…it’s way too common!!). I will write and re-save what I lost, and it will be better. I will be more vigilant about everything…

And that brings me to Writing Prompt Pit Stop #48 or better known as this week’s prompt(s):

“Save, Save, Save, and Make Yourself Secure!”

1) This is not so much of a prompt as a reminder: Save your writings! Diligently. Not only to your laptop, or a flash drive, but to a cloud of some sort. I always saved my work…but always to my laptop, and maybe once a month I’d remember to stick in the flash drive and back up my work…well, not anymore. It’s getting emailed to myself, saved on a flash drive religiously, and I’ve chosen to keep work on Dropbox. There’s many services like this out there, but a friend recommended it and it’s free…so there’s that. There’s also Google Drive, iCloud, etc. There’s also places that will back up your work for a small fee, and if you can do that…that’s a good option as well. No matter what you do, do save your writings as when they’re gone…it’s too late.

2) This is not writing either, but it’s important. I was someone that saved passwords on emails, FB, Twitter, etc., just because it was easier and I knew no one else had access to my laptop. Well, now there’s the possibility that someone does. So, I’ve had to go in and change all passwords (that I’ve thought of) and I will never save them for easy access again…maybe it will save me from Alzheimer’s by having to remember them all, who knows? But at least I feel more secure. So don’t save passwords on your laptops (or other devices)!!

3) Now let’s do some writing…I know I have a whole lot of new ideas for poems, plays and stories from this horrendous incident. How about you? In your daybook, write about a time that you or your personal space were violated. How did that change you? What would you say (or do) to the violators if you had the chance?

4) Besides theft, there are other ways that writers and artists lose work…through fire, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. Have you ever had one of those horrendous things happen to you? How did you cope? How did that change you? What do you do differently now?

5) Take any of those bad/sad incidents of loss, and turn them into something positive…a poem, a story, a play, an essay, a memoir. Send it out into the world! Or just simply share it here in comments.

No matter. If we’re writing and creating, we’ve survived. That is a major positive.

See you next Wednesday!