Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 17: Bonus Sabbatical April 1

Today’s prompt is specifically for those of you feeling creatively stuck and needing to just crack the ice and get your fingers moving. And it makes for a great warm-up on a regular basis, too.

Your prompt:

Open a book by a favorite author to any page. Then retype that page, word for word.

This exercise is great for not just warming up or getting you in the chair and typing, but there is also a lovely intuitive understanding of language and style that happens on a cellular level when we’re entwined with someone else’s actual syntax. Like osmosis.

Biggest hugs!

Nancy

xoxoxo

Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 15: Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical March 30

We are halfway through our month of prompts–thank you so much for letting us serve you this far–and today in our writing we are going to name the elephant in the room:

Often when we are developing a character, getting to “know” and understand a character, we do exercises like “put that character in a bar/grocery store and see what they buy” or “make a list of all the things in that character’s refrigerator.” Whether you like these exercises and use them or not, the impetus behind them is the same: our characters are different from us, and we have to get to know them, as we would a new friend.

Well, my friends, there is a new character in town and it’s time to talk to them.

elephant sitting on chair

Your prompt:

Allow Coronavirus to become a character. If Coronavirus were a character, what would they say and do? Talk to Coronavirus; ask them for their wisdom.

P.S. Your prompt today might be better done in a journal, at least at first. I wouldn’t limit yourself to 1,000 words, and I wouldn’t insist on writing a story, unless one naturally arises. You and Coronavirus might have a lot to say to each other.

In solidarity,

xoxo Nancy

Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Day 13 Prompt: Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical March 28

From the essay “On Being Ill” by Virginia Woolf:

“Considering how common illness is, how tremendous the spiritual change that it brings, how astonishing, when the lights of health go down, the undiscovered countries that are then disclosed, what wastes and deserts of the soul a slight attack of influenza brings to light, what precipices and lawns sprinkled with bright flowers a little rise of temperature reveals, what ancient and obdurate oaks are uprooted in us in the act of sickness, how we go down into the pit of death and feel the waters of annihilation close above our heads and wake thinking to find ourselves in the presence of the angels and the harpers when we have a tooth out and come to the surface in the dentist’s arm chair and confuse his ‘Rinse the mouth—rinse the mouth’ with the greeting of the Deity stooping from the floor of Heaven to welcome us—when we think of this and infinitely more, as we are so frequently forced to think of it, it becomes strange indeed that illness has not taken its place with love, battle, and jealousy among the prime themes of literature.”

This is the iconic, 186-word opening sentence to Woolf’s essay, a gorgeous, dizzying arabesque of syntax that launches us into her treatise on illness.

So…you’ve probably guessed: Today we are going to write creative nonfiction.

Here is another “treatise” essay that I love and share with all my students:

On Dumpster Diving by Lars Eighner

Your prompt:

Write a treatise. The title should begin with “On _________.”

Feel free to keep this “flash” essay length or not.

xoxoxo

 

Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical: March 26

“Anxiety is the dizziness of freedom.” ~Søren Kierkegaard

There are so many dizzying moments in life, times (like now) when we feel that we’ve been knocked off our equilibrium. I tend to find, looking back on those times with distance and perspective, that they were also moments of grace when I softened, opened, grew. A great book to read (or re-read) by the way, is Pema Chodron’s When Things Fall Apart. She speaks of these moments of grace like particles up in the air, still weightless, still defying gravity. Eventually they will return to the ground, and eventually we will be “grounded” again, but sometimes in the dizziness is where we find breakthrough.

Therefore, today’s prompt is:

Write a story using only one sentence.

Any other punctuation fine as long as there is only one official period.

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In love and solidarity!

xoxo

Uncategorized, Writing Prompts & Craft Articles

Bonus Unexpected Sabbatical: March 24

I love satire. Satire is truly able to “say” so many of the things that are too painful/blunt/raw to say straight. And I love The Onion. For more than 20 years, The Onion has been saying it with more truth, somehow, than anyone. And I love to laugh. Headlines I laughed at in The Onion today include:

“Defiant 123-Year-Old Not Going to Let Coronavirus Stop Him From Hanging Out With Friends”

“Parents Don’t Remember Enough Colors to Help With Kindergartner’s Homework.”

“Trump Quietly Checks With Aides to Make Sure He’d Be Included In Receiving $1,000 Checks.”

“Frustrated Dog Has No Time To Jerk Off Now That Owner Home All Day”

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Now it’s your turn.

Write a satirical news article, the kind that could be published in The Onion.

Have fun and laugh hard today, friends!

xoxo