Writing Prompt Pit Stop: Rocking a Playlist

Welcome to Writing Prompt Pit Stop! Wow, I can’t believe it’s been exactly a month since I’ve written here. That’s out of character for me. However, I had been talking about change during the summer and, by gosh, I got some change. All good, I left the community college where I had been teaching for the past four years, and was hired by a larger community college, Washtenaw, and within a week I was also hired at a Eastern Michigan University. So, I’m now teaching for three colleges and have eight classes; it will mean less stress over money for a while, but it does cut into my time. Nevertheless, I’m not complaining!! I like both of my new schools, but I’ve been busy with a lot of new preps and every time I think I’m going to get a chance to write the week’s Writing Prompt Pit Stop I find myself doing some other task…or needing some sleep. But, here I am today stealing a moment so I can get my blog back on track. My only quandary now is deciding what day is going to be best to post. Wednesdays have worked for years, and I really would like to stay with that day to keep consistent; yet, here I am posting on a Sunday. So, what I will do is try to post another on this Wednesday – but if I find that doesn’t happen, maybe the weekend will be a better option, we’ll see.

I’d had an idea that I was going to post last week, and didn’t get the chance, so I’ll post it now. As a person that enjoys making listsof things to do, list poems, etc., and because I’ve seen (and participated) in those lists of 10 favorite books (or books that have left an impact on you in one way or another) on FB and Twitter, I have decided to jump on the bandwagon with a list challenge of my own. It stems from not only my love of lists, but my love of music and how it can move you…in memory, in mood, etc. So, finally, here is your 53rd prompt:

“Rocking a Playlist”

1) In your daybook, list the top 10 (or more, the idea is to get writing) songs that have had an impact on you and why. You can even write those lists from one of your character‘s perspectives that you’re working with in a story, novel, or play.

2) It might be a good idea to go back and list the top 10 from different times of your life (or your character‘s), say from first memory of a song to 8 years old, from 9-14 years old, from 15 – 21 years old, and so forth. Or maybe by decade.

3) You can flip that list by making it the 10 most hated songs and why. Have you ever had the experience of loving a song, and then it was played to death (by you or by the radio) and you ended up never wanting to hear it again? Those songs might be fun to write about. Maybe you identified a song with a love, or an event...and later on the love broke off with you or the event took a turn…and now that song conjures up negative memories rather than positive….good things to write about.

4) If you don’t like to make lists, write about a specific song until you run out of things to say about it, or maybe you love (or hate) a specific type of music…maybe you love classical music and despise country. Maybe you used to hate country music, and now that’s all you listen to…this could be interesting explore…for yourself, or for your character.

5) Once you’ve written your lists, pick something that jumps out at you and utilize it to the fullest. Remember to revise! Any of these prompts can lend themselves to a piece of poetry, an essay, part of a memoir, a short story, or a play. If you’d like, share your lists here in comments.

See you here Wednesday!

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!