Sunday, January 31, 2021

Writers' Pantry #55: Dance Break!

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! It is really chilly where I live right now. I think my dog is the only one who appreciates it this cold, but even he will cut evening walks short if its too cold. (Thank goodness for long underwear and thick mittens!)

Most of my activity involves dancing around my living room. It takes a fair bit of dancing to hit the 10,000 step mark on my Fitbit. But fortunately I'm good at finding music that gets me up and moving. Got any tune suggestions to share?

So this upcoming Wednesday, Rosemary will invite you to write about turning into one of your parents – or about resisting that possibility.

On to the word wonderfulness! I'm taking words old or new, poetry or prose, fiction or non fiction. Just be sure to keep all prose to 369 words or less, and just one entry per person.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #54: Hindsight Is Rather Tricky

Greetings, dear poets and storytellers. I hope your day began with a smile. Or, at least, with a promise of some mirth to be had. Humor, I feel, makes life a bit more pleasant. And goodness knows we can never have enough pleasant these days.

Today’s prompt was inspired by something I’ve heard a lot lately, from a particular group of friends who are finally noticing certain truths (which I thought were right in front of their eyes all the time). They keep on saying things like, “If I had known A and C, then I would have never said or done X.” I don’t know how I feel about the whole thing, so… I thought it would be nice (and quite interesting) to explore the idea of “If I knew then what I know now”.

So, for our 54th Weekly Scribblings, I invite you to write new poetry or prose, inspired by the phrase “If I knew then what I know now”. You are not required to include the actual words in your piece, but you certainly can if you wish.

As always, this prompt will remain open for a week. We welcome fiction and nonfiction, short and long(ish) pieces—if you go for prose, let the word count be 369 words or fewer. Please add the direct link to your contribution, and not just the link to your blog. Do take a moment (or three) to visit other participants, and share your thoughts on their words.   

Like hindsight, “ifs” can be so tricky. Don’t you think?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Writers' Pantry #54: New Dawn

the new dawn blooms as we free it.

For there is always light,

if only we’re brave enough to see it.

If only we’re brave enough to be it.

By now, I expect, you know these lines by heart. And what stirring lines they are! A message to be embraced! If you’d like to read the rest of Amanda Gorman’s poem on the page, as a change from hearing it so beautifully recited as it was on Inauguration Day, you can find it here.


I love the (comparatively recent) tradition of poetry being recited at American Presidential inaugurations. Hard to imagine it happening back here in laid-back Australia. But then we have a different system, not being a Republic, and nothing really comparable to that ceremony.

The whole inauguration was splendid, I thought. I watched it in replay some time after the actual event, as there was no way I was getting up at 3am our time – though I believe many Aussies did. It lifted my heart, as I'm sure it did many, many others.


One of our big national celebrations here, Australia Day, is coming up on January 26th – a day marked by some controversy, as many of our Indigenous people regard it as ‘Invasion Day’, to be mourned rather than celebrated. This year, I'm glad to say, the events planned will include much greater recognition of our Indigenous culture, the oldest civilisation on earth.

Of course, in this time of pandemic, audiences for Australia Day events will be strictly limited; most of us will be watching on TV (which in my case, not being a city dweller, is no different from usual). It looks as if we'll have good weather; finally, after an unusually cool, wet summer so far. But we're not complaining; this time last year our skies were thick with smoke as much of the country burned.


So, after the many trials and traumas of 2020, we can indeed see some new rays of light, the possibility of a new dawn.


Speaking about her poem while it was still being written (Washington Post tells us) Amanda Gorman said she planned a message of hope ... without ignoring “the evidence of discord and division.” I think that’s an excellent reminder of what poets can do: bearing witness to what is so, even the worst of it, whilst also asserting the vision of a brighter future.


Dear wordsmiths, whether you are feeling discordant or alight just now – embracing a new dawn or still climbing the hill – this is your opportunity to share any writing you wish, old or new, poetry or prose, via Mister Linky below. You know the drill: one link per person, please, and we'd like prose pieces of 369 words maximum (excluding title). The link will stay open all week – but the early birds catch more readers. 

Speaking of early birds, for next Wednesday, Magaly would like us to create new poetry or prose inspired by the phrase, “If I knew then what I know now”. We can include the actual words in our contribution, but it’s not a requirement.

Enjoy each other’s contributions; I know I always do! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #53: Beautiful Words

Hello Word Artists and Admirers! In Japanese tea ceremony, it is customary to give your tools special poetic names. Part of the ceremony usually includes sharing the names of any special objects with your guests. The tea scoop used should have a name that reflects the season or time of year.

Since many of us students don’t have fancy scoops with special names, we’ll often just pick a name that works. For instance, in my last lesson of 2020, I called my tea scoop toshiwasure, which means ‘forget the year’.

For this week’s prompt, I’ve selected a few poetic names from Bruce Hamana Sosei’s book, 100 Beautiful Words in The Way of Tea. Pick the English version of one (or more if the mood hits you) to shape your words around.

Zuiun – clouds that predict good fortune

Shitamoe – plants sprouting under last year’s dried grass or under the snow

Hatsuyume – the first dream of the new year

Uzumibi – buried fire

Ryokuin – green shadows (sunlight filtering through green leaves)

Hotaru-gari – go searching for fireflies

Tsuki-koru – the moon freezes


I'm taking new word offerings of poetry or prose, fiction or non-fiction. Just be sure to keep all prose offerings to 369 words or fewer, and it'd be helpful to me if you indicate which phrase you're going with someplace in your post. Thanks!

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Writers’ Pantry #53: The Bicentenary of Anne Brontë’s Birth

Greetings, dear poets and storytellers. I hope you and your muse are having a good day. If not, well… then let us make each other’s day a bit better through words.

One of the gazillion literary trivia sites I follow informed me that today is Anne Brontë’s birthday. Yep, if she had still been with us, she would’ve been turning 200 (and very likely be suspected of vampirism). When I was done reading about her accomplishments—novels, a book of poems with her sisters—I realized that I have never read anything by her. I shall remedy that soon. I just have to decide if I want to start with Agnes Grey or The Tenant of Wildfell Hall. Have you read them? If so, which would you recommend I read first?

In the meantime, here are some of the lady’s words:

“The ties that bind us to life are tougher than you imagine, or than any one can who has not felt how roughly they may be pulled without breaking.” ~ from Agnes Grey

Oh, Youth may listen patiently,
While sad Experience tells her tale,
But Doubt sits smiling in his eye,
For ardent Hope will still prevail!

~ from “Views of Life”

And because today is also the second anniversary of Mary Oliver’s death, here are a few lines from our beloved Mary (which brighten my day whenever loss shrouds it in gloom):

“maybe death
isn’t darkness, after all,
but so much light
wrapping itself around us”
~ from Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays

Now, the Writers’ Pantry is open for word yumminess. Add your poetry or prose, new or old, short or long(is), jolly or growly; the choice is always yours. If you choose to delight us with your prose, let the word count be 369 words or fewer.

Please remember to add the direct link to your contribution, not just the link to your blog. That way we can find your post easily, especially if it takes us a few days to visit you. Take a moment to visit other participants, and let them know what their words do for you. As always, Mr. Linky will remain open for a week.

- for our next Weekly Scribblings, Rommy would like us to create new poetry or prose using one (or as many as we want) of the poetic terms she selected out of Bruce Hamana Sosei’s book, 100 Beautiful Words in The Way of Tea, which we can find in this link.

Let us write. Let us read. Let us grow and grow (with words).

Anne Brontë (at age 13) sketched by her sister, Charlotte Brontë

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #52: Something About Mary

Hello, dear wordsmiths. It was good to have our little holiday over Christmas and New Year – very refreshing – and it’s good to be back!

One of the things I did in the break was lots and lots of reading. And one of the things I read, cover to cover, was Dream Work by Mary Oliver – many people’s favourite poet, and definitely one of my favourites. I don’t think there could be a Mary Oliver poem I would dislike, just not possible! 

This is one I like especially:


I invite you to choose a line or phrase from this poem and use it to inspire a new piece of your own writing.

You don’t have to use those actual words in your piece, though you certainly may. 


As always, we welcome both poetry and short prose. Prose is limited to 369 words max, and may be either fiction or non-fiction. 

Do tell us, in a note on your blog post, which of Oliver's words inspired this piece of writing. (Even if you quote from them – to save us having to check back.)

We’d love you to link back here in your post, and to leave us a quick comment below. 

Please visit other participants to read their work and leave an encouraging comment.

This Mister Linky will stay open for one week. 

Material shared here is presented for study and review. Poems, photos, and other writings and images remain the property of the copyright owners, usually the authors. (Older material may be out of copyright).

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Writers’ Pantry #52: Year’s Beginning

Hello, Word Artists and Admirers! Welcome to the first pantry of the new year. As much as I’d love to cleanly shake off all the dreck from 2020, I know that things don’t work that way. It’s like when you go to finally organize a drawer, closet, basement that got way out of hand. When you move stuff around, it all looks worse than when you first started. But clean-up is necessary and so are those first shaky steps. Hopefully the break gave us all a chance to catch our breath so we can go one with what needs doing.

This Wednesday, Rosemary will ask us to write something based on a line or phrase from the poem “Landscape” by Mary Oliver.

The pantry is now open for business. Share your words old and new, fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose. Just be sure to keep your prose to 369 words or fewer. I know we all get a bit busy from time to time and it's so easy to forget when there's a lot going on (*gestures at the mad state of the world*), but it really is a huge help to us when folks stick to the guidelines as much as possible (for instance, adding the link or the title of the prompt you are responding to somewhere in the post) . Thanks, and happy writing!

Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Weekly Scribblings #51: Looking Back and Writing Forward

Welcome back, my dearest poets and storytellers! Did you enjoy your break? Did you take a break? Since I did a considerable amount of lurking around your cyber-homes, I know many of you just kept the words brewing into being—don’t feel too bad, I couldn’t take a real break either. I spent the last days of December 2020 and the first days of January 2021 reading (Soulless by Gail Carriger, Dawn by Octavia E. Butler, The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur, Hope Rides Again by Andrew Shaffer…) and rewriting my own work (I took a page out of Chrissa’s book, and decided that 2021 would be a year for “finishing drafts”).

Did you read anything interesting while we were on “break”? Have you made any writing plans for 2021? Go ahead, tell us… we are listening (and reading, of course).  

Now, while the topic of looking back and writing forward is still dancing in our minds, let me invite you to revisit our 2020 Weekly Scribblings selection, and write new poetry or prose using one of our old prompts. Please add the title (and link, if you can) of your chosen prompt to your post. Don’t feel like searching? No problem. Here are some choices:

1. Weekly Scribblings #43: Found Poems and Erasures
2. Weekly Scribblings #40: Walking Away
3. Weekly Scribblings #35: The Joy of Rest 
4. Weekly Scribblings #31: What Makes You Smile?
5. Weekly Scribblings #28: Seeing Things
6. Weekly Scribblings #25: Well, That Was Unexpected
7. Weekly Scribblings #22: It Takes a Bit of Discipline
8. Weekly Scribblings #10: Early Bird or Night Owl?
9. Weekly Scribblings #9: Contagion

Again, welcome back, and I hope that 2021 is a year of healing and growing for all.

This prompt will remain open for a week. One link per participant, please. If you go for prose, the word count should be 369 words or fewer. Let us write (and read)!

photo by Toa Heftiba, on Unsplash
“Inhale the present, exhale the past and the future.” ― Leticia Rae
(and write what happens in between)