You know the process. Simply grab one...and begin writing!
1. Imagine, for a moment, that you have the ability to completely start anew with your life. Whatever story you write down becomes your life at the present moment….start writing!
2. Write about a dream vacation that turns into a living nightmare. What happens?
3. Think about your absolute favorite book ever, then rewrite the ending for the last chapter.
4. Write a story about the perspective of a two year old who has just ate broccoli for the first time.
5. You will never believe what happened to me today. After work I decided to stop by the Old China Buffet for dinner and….
6. Write a story about a nun who has committed the mortal sin. What did she do? Who did she do it with? Why did she do it? How will she rectify this sin?
7. Write a personal memoir from the perspective of a lonely middle-aged seamstress who is desperate to get married. While she sews the wedding dresses of other women, she dreams of her own wedding…
8. Write a story from the perspective of a sixteen year old who has run away from home in order to realize her dream of becoming a country music star.
9. Use this as a first line of a story: Tonight was the worst night of my life, it began after I witnessed a fight between two rednecks at Old Shady’s bar.
10. Think back to the very first time you ever felt embarrassment. What happened? Elaborate in detail.
11. Use this for the first line in a story or poem: Elizabeth knew something was wrong when her birthday cake didn’t have any candles on it…
12. Write the dialogue between a husband and wife who are fighting because the wife just caught her husband cheating on her with her best friend. Make it juicy!
13. Write a story from the personal viewpoint of a pornographer who hates his job.
14. Three teenagers have decided to hang out in a cemetery on Halloween night. One of them gets lost. A grave gets destroyed. One of them panics. There is a butcher knife involved. Pan out the story using the complete scenario.
15. Write a story about a first date between a teenage girl and boy. The girl views the date as disastrous. The boy views the date as a dream come true. Switch viewpoints throughout the story as you describe what happens.
16. You just sat down at a very fancy restaurant. Just as you are opening the menu, suddenly the waiter rushes over with an important message from your significant other, it says…
17. Use this as the first few lines of a humorous story: So my girlfriends and I were having drinks at this new club. I was past the point of proper comprehension and I knew I shouldn’t drink anymore, but I did and…
18. A cabin in the woods. A wild celebration. Broken bottles. A shotgun. A camp fire. A broken down car. Two strange men. Use all these elements in a short story. Flesh it out and make it good!
19. Two ex best friends have just found themselves in the backseat of the same taxi. What do they say to each other? What goes on? Give some insight into their back story.
20. Write the wedding vows between two opposites who have fallen in love. Make sure you write the vows of each person, for a total of two. Are they different? The same? Sweet? Silly?
21. Write a story about a time you met Elvis. This is fiction, pretend! When was it? Was it by chance or at a concert? What dialogue was exchanged?
22. What is your favorite memory? Describe in detail.
23. Use the following words in a story or poem that ends in an engagement proposal: ice cream, naked, strawberry, whisper,
24. Write from the viewpoint of a murderer on trial. The media has deemed her a brutal killer. She proclaims it was self defense. Flesh it out!
25. In 500 words or less, write in detail about the sunshine of your soul.
I hope you find at least a few prompts that serve your muse! You may also enjoy 10 Creative Writing Prompts.
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Back Cover Blurb:
Saturday, September 26, 2015
Happy Saturday, friends and writers! Welcome to another installment of Warning the Stars, my weekly poetry-writing prompt.
For this week, we're going to do another guided poem. But this time, about love relationships! I've designed this prompt in such a way that once you complete the prompt, you should have a well-rounded, deeply emotional, and descriptive piece of writing about a relationship that went awry.
The rules are simple: Follow the steps in order!
Chorus, Line, & Lulluby
1. Start the poem by mentioning a love affair/romantic relationship from your past (one that was emotionally trying or still evokes emotion when you think about it).
2. Talk about a season that occurred during this relationship, what impact that season had upon your interactions with one another. Don't forget to describe this season in colors, smells, use your senses! Four lines minimum!
3. Write about a wish you had/have for the relationship: "All in all, I wish..."
4. You MUST use this line somewhere in the poem: "Everything we use to be is burned into my brain."
5. During the remainder of the poem, you MUST use these words: smooth, bruise, thaw, angle
6. We're going to throw a little rhyme in! Somewhere in this poem (you can go back towards the top and insert these lines or write them below) you MUST write a sequence of just TWO lines. The first line will end with the word 'be.' The second line will end with the word 'me.'
7. Use one OR two lines to tell a blatant lie about the relationship.
8. For your last few lines, compare two opposites as a metaphor for the two individuals in the relationship (yourself and the other person).
I hope you enjoy the prompt. I'm having some great fun with it, myself. Guided poems are so much fun!
Remember if you want to share with me what you write, you can leave a comment below.
Thursday, September 24, 2015
Back Cover Blurb:
Degeneration is a collection of poetry that intermixes personal memoir moments of a volatile relationship with visceral and surrealistic interpretations of everyday life and surroundings. This goal of this collection is to take the reader on an emotionally tangented ride that is more of a visual rollercoaster than a standardly emotional stagnant stone that just sinks into hopelessness. Collectively, it creates a diversely intriguing mix of imagery, metaphor, and real-life memoir.
Once Upon the Bed
"The difference between lie and lay.
Lay is always passive . . ."
". . . But maybe boredom is erotic,
when women do it, for men."
-- Margaret Atwood's
The Handmaid's Tale
I would lay beneath a bolted window,
battling the stifling breath of the ceiling fan
and count the stars bedding the midsummer sky
as I waited for the sandman's kiss.
Now, each beacon is a blinding icon.
A blue and yellow pill,
dancing and singing and leading the way.
These mindless soldiers wave as they pass.
Their uniforms immaculate.
Their lines perfect and straight.
I remember all their names.
We are neighbors in this white room without thought.
Their tiny voices taunt my sleep:
Come for me.
Their cries cover me in frozen forget.
Come for me.
But it is his voice I respond to.
His arms pinning my struggle to the bed.
His hate I see when I open my eyes.
And it is his cry that runs my stars red
when he whispers his muteness in my mind:
Come for me.
And I always do.
"Nothing can be proven except that it be made to bleed.
Virgins, bulls, men. Ultimately God himself."
-- Cormac McCarthy's
All The Pretty Horses
She played at resistance,
just beyond containment.
She waved to you,
flaunting unshackled hands --
her proof of difference.
Of mock indifference.
My part in this drama was to beg.
I never spoke
when she touched you,
and covered my eyes
when her hands bled green injustice.
Now she orders absolution,
and tries to shake
blame's brand from her back.
But her presence pursues its own undoing
when I hand you my hands in replacement.
And dripping red life.
I am wrenched from my fog of morning
by the monochromatic din --
your voice skipping over her name,
a tired epitaph.
I choke on these mewings as fury's rope
rubs my white pinafore blue.
"Alice," you whisper to me
as you wail in slip-shot remembrance.
And the lecture begins again:
"Alice must stop running away.
Wonderland is no place for little girls
or their rabbits."
And you force me full of needles,
dripping heroin-coated hate,
until I purge pink and orange stripes
that dissolve you into a brilliant white grin.
The Blind Man's Cup
The bitter coffee burns my mouth,
steaming my regret farther down
its journey through mindless guilt.
A gnarled kitten
sits complacently on the counter.
Sunday morning with a stranger
and his fucking cat.
It stares me into submission
and spats my contempt at the wall:
One finger of light --
belligerent light he could never see --
creeps through the curtains
to slap me into this sleepless nightmare
where actions and reactions
circle me in endless trepidation.
The room explodes:
windows shooting shards
at buckling lamps
melting in the shattered safety
as the ceiling cracks
beneath the suffocating force of his breath.
The frustrated howl buried in my breast
is lodged by the stark debris of confinement.
My rebellious breath chalks the walls,
branding my presence as I search for the fault.
Still I refuse to cross this threshold
without the reassurance of return.
See you tomorrow.
MODERN URBAN DECAY
One flower stands alone
As monolithic decay
Ingests the landscape.
Breathing passion from
Your sun-kissed petals,
Dirt conceals with heaviness.
You are the most special,
The other flowers,
Wind-turned in the tempest.
Imply to judge the one
Solitary apart from the mold.
Frail in your life, only needing someone.
A broken lock intercedes
To buffer your emotional storm.
Stepping through silence, entwined in neglect.
Your strength is propagated
In honesty and kindness,
As decay turns to life anew.
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Today I want to focus on the various ways a journal can be implemented (and useful) in different areas of your life.
10 Different Types of Journals
1. Basic Journal
This is the type of journal that does serve as a diary of sorts. You use it to reflect on your everyday life, to observe things that happen to you, vent your frustrations and share your hopes and dreams with yourself. Many people find a basic journal off-putting (particularly men, as they faulty perceive a journal as a diary) because they feel that their everyday lives aren't important enough to write about. If you feel this way, you are missing the point altogether! Journals are a great way to get things on paper, to figure things out, to play with and organize your thoughts. Journals do not require momentous, amazing happenings because no one is going to read them but you! Though, once you start writing you may, indeed, realize that the 'little' things are really kind of the 'big' things in life!
2. Morning Journal
This is the type of journal that you write in, everyday, first thing in the morning. People might say, 'Oh, there's nothing to write about that early in the day!' Trust me, it's an amazing way to dump useless mental energy...crazy memories, worries, aggravations, thoughts that are running rampant. These stray thoughts dim our creativity by using up valuable thinking space in our brains. Think of it much the same as restarting a computer...you dump all the old memory and make some room to remember, take note, and respond to the important things in the day to come.
3. Gratitude Journal
You are only as happy and blessed as you remember you are! This type of journal is fast, and easy, to keep. Every single morning, write down three things you are most thankful for (try to write different things everyday), for some abundant insight into how blessed you really are. At the the very end of the day, return to the journal to write down one or two really amazing things that happened that day. Imagine looking back at this journal after a couple of months and realizing all the great things you have in your life! Psychologists have actually proclaimed that a gratitude journal is a wonderful way to combat depression.
4. Writers Notebook
This is a great place to plug in all those great ideas and the creative flashes we usually get at 3am. I have a very small notebook I carry around in my purse (it's also small enough to fit into my back pocket, for those of you who don't carry a tote/purse/backpack regularly). My notebook is divided into two sections. In the front part, I write daily observations that catch my eye...pieces of conversation, interesting ideas and quotes, things I see that may work well in a story or poem. I simply flip the notebook over to the backside (you'd be writing back to front in this case) and jot down ideas for stories, poems, scenery that come to me at random times. Later, when I do my daily writing, if I feel uninspired or dried up of ideas, my writers notebook comes in handy!
5. Memory Book
The idea of a memory book may bring to mind those cute little books we used to buy during our middle school, or high school, years. They had important questions about how much things cost...perfect little boxes to glue in pictures. Blank lines to write our most important memories or memorable events that happened to us in any given year. Just because you graduate from school does not mean that your memories are no longer important to preserve! Imagine all the little things we lose to memory...our children's first words, their first whole sentences, the first time we meet people, our favorite Chrstimas gift from our belated grandmother on so-and-so year. Memory books are wonderful for gathering these important, momentous events that make the very framework of our lives, the fabric of who we are. You can keep a separate memory book for each year and jot down important things as you go along. Add photos, cards, invitations, flyers, old tickets, a piece of the wrapping paper from a meaningful gift, little souvenirs that will bring you back to the moment so you never forget all the important things!
6. Dream Journal
Freud (one of the most highly acclaimed psychologists/psychoanalysts of all time) proclaimed that dreams were merely reflections of the subconscious. His many lectures and writings adamantly stated that the conscious mind (the mind in which we are awake daily) is merely the tip of the iceberg of what is held inside our brains and our memories! He believed dreams were symbolic of other things...fears, desires, hopes, needs, wishes, and memories we have repressed. Writing down whatever dreams you remember upon awaking each day can be a fun and enlightening experience. There are many dream dictionaries that define the symbolism of certain things you dream, thus making a more deeper observation of your subconscious mind a more reflective experience. Go ahead and try it, there's no telling what things you may uncover!
7. A Notebook of Inspirational Ideas
At first sight, you may think this sounds the same as the Writers Notebook, it is actually quite the opposite. A notebook of inspirational ideas will offer up a happy place for you to write down quotes, compliments, bits of beneficial advice you see on TV shows or in magazines. You can glue inspiring magazine/book images or even complete magazine articles. Write down your daily accomplishments, motivating affirmations, inspiring quotes, pieces of advice from other successful people. Inspiring ideas and observations you see all around you. Make this notebook into a testimony of all the good in the world. Turn a simple notebook into a place that inspires you to live big and reach far!
8. Self Development Journal
This type of journal is a great, private, place for figuring out your life. Make lists of your achievements. Make lists for goals you want to accomplish with detailed action plans and ideas for how you will achieve each one. Write about areas of your life that need improvement and make plans for how you will improve. Give yourself time limits (6 months, 1 year, 3 years, 5 years). Write your personal mission statement ( a statement that embodies who you, the type of person you wish to grow into, and what you wish to accomplish in this life) on the front page. You can also write your fitness plans and/or weight-loss goals. Make lists of all the great books/documentaries you read/watched and how they motivated or helped you, among other advice for better living.
9. Art Journal
Think of this as a regular writing journal...only, you would be expressing your ideas, moods, memories, and observation in images! There are many ways to utilize 'art' in a journal. You can create collages (with magazine, or other images you find in books or printed from online). You can sketch, doodle, draw. You can write with colorful markers or clip words and quotes from magazines. Write your favorite lyrics in a colorful marker. Add stickers and embellishments (buttons, ribbons, gems, etc). Art journals are wonderful stress relieves and can serve as a colorful, and entertaining, testimony of your creative life!
10. Reflective 'Writing-Prompt' Guided Journal
This type of journal is used primarily to write/reflect upon appointed writing prompts/journal writing prompts. The internet is full of journal writing prompts, there are even books devoted to a daily practice of prompt writing. Grab a notebook and write one journal-writing prompt at the top of each page until every page has it's own prompt. Later, when you're in the mood to write, you can grab your prompt journal...flip the pages until you find a prompt that speaks to you, and then write. The great thing about this type of writing is, you don't have to time yourself or worry about how much to write...you simply have only one page to fill, so no pressure! The other great thing is, you're topic/question/idea is already chosen for you...so all you have to to is just write!
Personally, I keep several of these journals as they all serve a different purpose to my writer's life. However, as you experiment with them, I'm sure you'll find that the journal-writing experience will enrich your life at a very small expense!
Remember, the more time you put into some of your journals, the more bounty your reward!
Saturday, September 19, 2015
When you think about it, life merely is a series of events that revolve around the arriving and departing of things, people, places, ideas, moments in time; a divergence of our many selves that, were they to be lined side by side, we could probably watch ourselves grow from one embodied entity into another. How many lives we live! And what's more than that...the many lives that are available to us. Literally, we could choose to be anyone from anywhere.
Yet, logic tells us that we can't embody all these earthly presences. We can't be everything and do everything and live everywhere and experience every single thing there is to experience. Perhaps that's why storytellers and poets came to be...born of a desperate need to experience more. The world is huge. There's too many things to see and people to meet...this would be so even in the smallest of towns were we to look hard enough between the edges of each detail. Just imagine how big the whole world out there is...the world outside our notebooks, or the nine-to-five jobs, or the familial roles that require so much of our precious time.
You don't have to leave your life...just pause long enough to glance! To consider the chances. Immerse yourself in details, and other lives, that live outside your comfort zone.
That is what this weeks' prompt is about...traveling outside ourselves, our homes, our everyday lives. Going beyond the common and familiar.
I give you two options for writing, you can choose one (or do both, if you're feeling inspired): be the traveller -OR- be the traveled.
Prompt 1: Be The Traveller:
Go to a busy area where there's plenty of foot traffic. Ideally, you want to go to: a bus stop/station, a train station, an airport, or even an area in town where people meet to commute. Perhaps there's a busy stop on a street nearby where pedestrians loiter or a buses stop to pick people up. If you live in a large city, consider watching people converge, meet, and depart from trolleys.
Once you find your destination (maybe you live in a really small town so the closest you can get is a mall parking lot or a restaurant where people meet each other for dates, etc), I want you to watch people closely. Observe them. Look between the details. Watch who they interact with and how they behave. Jot down what you feel these reactions and interactions with each other really mean. You can even create lives for certain people whom you see that look interesting. This exercise may sound weird, but it's merely a form of people watching and it's one of my favorite ways to cultivate new material for writing.
Consider this poem for inspiration:
by John Berryman
They pointed me out on the highway, and they said
'That man has a curious way of holding his head.'
They pointed me out on the beach; they said 'That man
Will never become as we are, try as he can.'
They pointed me out at the station, and the guard
Looked at me twice, thrice, thoughtfully & hard.
I took the same train that the others took,
To the same place. Were it not for that look
And those words, we were all of us the same.
I studied merely maps. I tried to name
The effects of motion on the travellers,
I watched the couple I could see, the curse
And blessings of that couple, their destination,
The deception practised on them at the station,
Their courage. When the train stopped and they knew
The end of their journey, I descended too.
In this poem, John Berryman writes as a fellow traveller who is observing other travelers, sort of honing in on their situations, creating stories from his observations of their interactions.
Prompt 2: Be The Traveled
If you choose this prompt, your poem will take a more personal approach. You will write from the role of the person who is, or has, traveled. You will tell of an experience, an observation you made of going somewhere new, experiencing an atmosphere outside your daily grind.
You can write about the very essence of traveling and what you experienced as you literally traveled by bus, train, plane, car, limo. Speak about the interior of your space, or what you see passing by on the outside. How it felt, what you smelled or heard...use just one (or all of) your five senses to pull the reader into your ride there (or back) as Carl Sandburg did in the following poem:
by Carl Sandburg
Night from a railroad car window
Is a great, dark, soft thing
Broken across with slashes of light.
Or you can focus on something you saw, or personally experienced/observed, as you traveled to a specific location, as John Balaban did in this poem:
Passing Through Albequerque
by John Balaban
At dusk, by the irrigation ditch
gurgling past backyards near the highway,
locusts raise a maze of calls in cottonwoods.
A Spanish girl in a white party dress
strolls the levee by the muddy water
where her small sister plunks in stones.
Beyond a low adobe wall and a wrecked car
men are pitching horseshoes in a dusty lot.
Someone shouts as he clangs in a ringer.
Big winds buffet in ahead of a storm,
rocking the immense trees and whipping up
clouds of dust, wild leaves, and cottonwool.
In the moment when the locusts pause and the girl
presses her up-fluttering dress to her bony knees
you can hear a banjo, guitar, and fiddle
playing "The Mississippi Sawyer" inside a shack.
Moments like that, you can love this country.
Both of these poems do an exceptional job immersing the reader into the atmosphere of traveling.
And whichever prompt you decide to use, I wish you safe and happy travels (real, imagined, or otherwise!).
Friday, September 18, 2015
Recall, a “good” picture captures, then retains the eye. Light, also dark’s
Structure, suppose constraints remain far less important details than shape,
Contour, color, when subjected to hard breathing, rough words. Equally,
Monomania in chickens, transubstantiating straw to gold, generational
Ideological thievery, lauding misanthropic celebrities, makes awkward.
Transportation hubs, where large numbers of people collide, die frowning.
Streaking, blobbing, smearing, no end of clicks and ruins, or gauche lines,
Mutilated compositions, broken pens, pencil stubs, stubby quills, erasers
Succeed in replacing contrivances; ninnyhammers won’t suffice; they’re
Fat fists banging, again, again, again, on issues including friends, family
Random flibbertigibbet persons, extenuating circumstances, coppices.
The up and coming live from the one demonized tetsubin to another.
Romance pirates tend to scoff at utility in ordinary things, likewise forget relative
Cures focused on safety. Sure, planting pumpkin seeds remains fun, invigorating,
Stimulating, sexy, but confabulations, specific to certain types of deedle-balls
Or academic sports, involving book reviews, interviews, composing nonfictions,
(Especially interdicted narratives), makes souls disinclined to embrace Icelandic
Sensibilities, such as joining anger executives, cutting shortbread, whistling Dixie.
Furthermore,“thingos” with vocabularies rotate infelicities in different ways.
Like bedroom etchings, those children of writing implements provoke change,
Grow users’ avidity, no matter their ebullience, empower professional ethics.
Rocking chairs held together by twine, duct tape, maybe spit, work accordingly.
Ineluctable plus vapid items defer to personal wrought from the largest boulders.
All that is good is bad in select places like the UK, India, Australia, and France.
So, it remains vital to remember compositions’ lessons, spongee floors, dance.
Possessing strong underlying elements, handouts for meter, upmarket fiction,
Rarely helps readers, editors, any poetry audience, actually; merely calibrates.
If not for galoots’ newfound strength from frolicking, writing’s incorrigible
Nature might still allow phantasmagorias to shift and fade, confuse minions,
Scatter entire senescent landscapes among compatriots, nemeses, comrades.
The preterition of common sense, after all, gets offered decades past authors’
Pretended good feelings. Prose set down while shuttling Junior to daycare,
Shooting pictures of other offspring, changing nappies, and then returning
To eat ice cream, water geraniums, or pat lugubrious hounds is inexplicable,
Since few among us eagerly work to get better analyses, free cups of water.
Given openings to impinge on the eyesense, we continue to be imprisoned.'
KJ Hannah Greenberg is the author of more than a dozen books. Her writing has received National Endowment for the Humanities funding and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Million Writers Award, and The Best of the Net. Hannah's newest books are: The Immediacy of Emotional Kerfuffles, 2nd ed. (Bards and Sages Publishing, 2015), and Dancing with Hedgehogs, (Fowlpox Press, 2014). Hannah lives and creates in Jerusalem.