I love writing prompts. In my inbox is a daily prompt from my writing teacher Sarah Selecky. I write morning pages every day mostly according to Julia Cameron’s rules. I use tarot cards for the art for inspiration for writing as well. Last night, I even taught a class about writing and included prompts for students and for adults.
During this time there are so many of my favorite writing teachers providing free communities or classes or prompts. Here are a few of my favorites:
Welcome back to Sunday. What a week this has been. How are you holding up? How is the wheel of emotions treating you?
If we were having coffee I would tell you this was the first week I had no school. When I left school last Friday the plan was to have school until at least Wednesday, then the plan changed by Monday. I have enjoyed the time of rest, learning and connecting.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I moved this weekend. It had been a long preparation and I am glad for it now. One more errand to the old house to get some things but 99% of the items are moved.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I wrote every day. I revised a lot and sent pieces out. I connected with several writing groups this week on Zoom which was lovely time spent.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I went through my camera roll and was able to reminisce about all the activities we have planned for the kids at the houses we have lived in. American Ninja warrior courses set up in the house, scavenger hunts, dinners, games, picture concentration, and slime. Oh my goodness the slime. We went through a phase where we were making it at least once a week.
If we were having coffee I would tell you my writing mentor Caroline Donahue has been sending videos through Instagram that have made my day all week. Friday she talked about using tarot for her writing. It was a great reminder and brought warmth to my heart. I know she isn’t the most comfortable with the format but I appreciate it so much. She is hosting a Zoom call on Sunday and I am looking forward to that conversation.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I went for a nice walk yesterday. The sun was shining and the air was chilly. I am considering running again. I will have to work up to the distances I have run before.
If we were having coffee I would tell you I am skeptical about it being spring. I know the calendar says it is but it doesn’t feel like it to me. It might be the virus isolation, forgetting what day of the week it is, or just resistance to the transition. I do love winter and the coziness and hygge of that season.
What are you thinking about this week? Do you have any coping strategies for being shut-in?
I am up early for #5amwritersclub accidentally. In the first phase of this isolation I am craving books. I am considering ordering this one:
I am writing and reading every day. I did venture out for a short period yesterday with my son because I needed boxes and paper towels. I interacted with some of my writing friends online. I submitted as well.
Several years ago I learned about the 36 questions to become closer to someone. In the New York Times, the article was titled The 36 Questions that Lead to Love. I am always fascinated by questions. As an introvert, I learned to have a question ready when attending a social event in case the conversation lulled. I prefer to have deeper conversations as opposed to surface level ones.
As part of the challenge this year, I will be answering some of the questions and then you have the opportunity to journal about the question, ask a person you want to be closer to, or answer in the comments.
The obvious answer right now is to know how long this pandemic and the consequences will last. To know how long I will be out of school might be helpful.
One of the mantras I live my life by is “Everything is temporary.” I have learned temporary is an amount of time that can feel long but be short or the opposite. Time is a human constraint and Mother Nature has her own ideas about it. I feel the universe is telling everyone to slow down and rest. Life moves forward and I have the choice as to how I frame that time.
Many of my friends are anxious about this whole situation and I feel guilty to admit I am not. I am taking it as it comes in the present moment because I cannot control it. I am honoring this time as the gift it is. I cannot say as time stretches on I will feel the same way. Being told to stay home is not a punishment to me. I know people feel uneasy about this factor but it can honestly be the difference between life and death depending on your health and who breaths the same air as you.
In the US Read Across America day is celebrated on March 2, Dr. Seuss’ birthday. As an elementary reading specialist, I took advantage of all of these special “holidays” created around reading to promote books and fun to my students. (Another one is read for the record day which began with Eric Carle’s The Hungry Caterpillar)
I used to facilitate a school wide rotation of Dr. Seuss centers. At the time, we had an early childhood vocational program that helped create centers for the event for several years.
I have dressed up as the Cat in the Hat more times than I can count. If I look hard enough, I can probably find the newspaper clippings proving it.
On Tuesday evening while in the car I was listening to the Creative Kindergarten podcast and she was talking about how Read Across America day has changed from a Dr. Seuss focus to a more diverse focus this year. NEA had gotten complaints in some fashion about the connection to this author.
I do not have an objection to it being changed to be more diverse. We need more diverse books in classrooms. As my friend Lisa Vahey says, we need to have books that are windows and doors. Children need to see themselves in the text and they also need to learn about people different from them.
Personally, I like to read to learn about how others think. I want to know how characters would handle a situation I have never been in. I feel it prepares me if I ever AM in that situation.
I have always thought about Dr. Seuss’ characters being universal especially the ones that are …animals? As I write this I struggle for a word that describes Sneeches and the Lorax accurately. Larger ideas can still be discussed when reading Dr. Seuss.
As a writer, I am fascinated that Green Eggs and Ham was a writing dare to Seuss. He was challenged to write a book with 50 words or less. I love a prompt of a list of words to construct a story and I am certain I have given that prompt to students.
All of this controversy makes me wonder about people. The conversation needs to be had and the addition of more authors and types of books is a step in the right direction. But does name calling need to occur? Does being nasty about it make it more memorable? That idea is NOT what we want to be modeling for children.
Let’s keep the fun and the wonder. Let’s keep the positive and forward moving parts and then add where we are lacking with respect and kindness to everyone whether you would eat green eggs and ham with Sam I am or not.
This is an installation in the Brooklyn Museum which is a triangle table honoring 39 women with a place setting.
The triangle table is unusual. There is the thought of who would I honor in such a piece. I imagine this as short story with the description of the woman and the objects that are associated with them. This art piece has stuck with me for a while. I need to write the story!
2. Questions as Poetry Prompts
This is a picture of my copyright 1985!!! version of The Book Of Questions. I love this little treasure. I have used it to journal, have conversations, get to know someone, etc. Do you have a book you have had forever?
I heard an idea this week to use questions as poetry starters! I had not done this before and got out this book for the purpose. The poet (see #3) I was inspired by used Facebook questions that popped up on her feed for her poems.
While listening to The Drunken Odyssey podcast King interviewed the poet Amy Watkins. She wrote a book of poetry based on questions given to her through her feed on Facebook. She was actually angered by some of the questions. Check out her book LUCKY. Mine is on its way.