Friday, March 31, 2023

Friday Writings #70: Discovery

Greetings, dear poets and storytellers. I hope life is treating you well. Around my bit of the world, we (and by “we” I mean “me) are trying to get through a gazillion medical appointments (as usual). But I’m not complaining too much: spring is springing, I’ll be able start my balcony garden soon, I’ve been getting some writing done, the orange infection has been indicted, and I’ve discovered that my months and months of physical therapy haven’t been for nothing—I can do push-ups again! All right, modified scapular and triceps push-ups, but that is more than good for now.

Have you discovered anything new lately? Maybe something about yourself, about where you live, about someone you know, about the state of things… If yes, you are in luck, because for today’s optional prompt, I would like you to write poetry or prose inspired by discovery (of people, of places, of interests...).

Let your contribution be something new or old, fiction or nonfiction, short or longish (369 words or fewer). Share the direct link to your post. One link per participant, please. After you share your words, visit other writers… and see what discoveries they’ve spilled into their ink.

next week, Rommy will invite us to write about “small victories”.

photo by Noble Mitchell, on Unsplash

Friday, March 24, 2023

Friday Writings #69: Darkness and Light



Greetings, dear Wordsmiths!

How is life in your neck of the woods?

It’s been exciting here, for me. During our Summer, I’ve had successive house-guests in the form of far-flung relatives and friends whom it was a joy to reconnect with after the long interruptions to travel caused by fires, floods, COVID, and more floods.

Also, the memoir about prison poetry workshops – which many of you were kind enough to encourage when you read the early chapters in the form of blog posts shared via Friday Writings – is now a lot closer to publication.

I must thank all of you who left comments on those early chapters at the blog. Between you all, you showed me what I needed to clarify and what more I needed to add. Your interest and enthusiasm kept me going even when I doubted whether I should, and leads me to hope that this update won't come across as too self-indulgent. Please feel welcome to reciprocate by sharing your own writing and publishing adventures in the comments below!

Since those early blog posts, my manuscript has been much edited, tweaked, rewritten and expanded. An artist is currently working on the cover image, and a cover designer is standing by to collaborate with her.

I always tell my writing students, 

‘If you’re going to publish a book, a good editor is essential.’ (For prose especially. I, for one, am much more perfectionist with poems.)

I’m so glad I took my own advice! I think my English is pretty good, but I have to acknowledge that it has become a trifle idiosyncratic over the years. I was lucky enough to have a writer friend recommend an editor who turned out to be an absolute treasure, deeply understanding of the content and able to bring out my own voice better.

There are still some production details to attend to, but I expect it will be published some time this year. 

This is a photo a friend found of me at the time of those workshops, which I might use in the book somewhere, in place of the newspaper photo I had. That was very grainy, and also could pose copyright problems trying to trace the unknown photographer for permission after 40 years!

The book is now called Breaking Into Pentridge Prison: Memories of Darkness and Light.

If you would like a poetry prompt this week, please give us your own take on darkness and light.

Guidelines: Whatever you decide to share with us, please make it 369 words maximum. It can be poetry or prose, new or old, prompted or not. Please link, below, to the post at your blog, then visit other links and leave a comment. Also we’re open for any communications you'd like to make, below.

Have fun!

Next week, Magaly will invite us to write poetry or prose inspired by discovery (of people, of places, of interests...).

Friday, March 17, 2023

Friday Writings #68: Light as a Feather

Hello, word artists and admirers! The winds are kicking up hard around the Philly suburbs, like they do every March. I’m noticing a lot of things getting moved around by the breezes—last year’s leaves, stray feathers, snippets for story ideas. OK that last one is just happening in my head, but I’ve come up with several fun ideas I’d like to play around with while going for a walk on a blustery day.

So today for those who would like to work with a prompt, I’m suggesting “as light as a feather.” What comes to mind when you hear that phrase? Write about or anything else that tickles your fancy and it with us. I’m taking both poetry and prose, fiction and non-fiction. Just be sure to keep your pieces to 369 words or fewer and one entry per person please.

Next week, Rosemary will invite us to write about “darkness and light.”

Friday, March 10, 2023

Friday Writings #67: “love letters to wild flowers”

Every now and again, a sentence from a story or a line from a poem finds a home in the inside of my skull. It stays there… conjuring images and crafting thoughts. That’s how I felt, when I read “Write love letters to wild flowers”, a line from a poem Marja shared a few weeks ago. I’m curious to read how the line touches your ink. 

So, my dear poets and storytellers, for today’s optional prompt, I invite you to create poetry or prose inspired by Marja’s words: “Write love letters to wild flowers”.

As always, if the prompt doesn’t speak to you, share a piece that does. Let it be new or old, fiction or nonfiction, short or longish (369 words or fewer). Add the direct link to your post. One link per participant, please. Visit other writers. And let them know what their ink does for your thoughts.

next week, Rommy will ask us to write about what comes to mind when we hear the phrase “light as a feather”.

photo by Sixteen Miles Out, on Unsplash

Friday, March 3, 2023

Friday Writings #66: In the Face of Disaster


Hello again, dear Wordsmiths.

Time to get serious!

My brother lives in Auckland, New Zealand, where lately there have been bad floods and nearby a devastating cyclone. He suffered only a wrecked front fence himself, but plenty of other people fared much worse. He is angry now because he thinks world leaders are not making enough connection between such disasters and climate change, not doing enough to address that.

Where I live, recent nights of heavy rain felt scary no matter how I rationalised, because of the two severe floods we had a year ago, and the one before that in 2017 – and I was far from the only person to feel that way. 

But what can we do in the face of these disasters – we, the people not in positions of political power, not enjoying the huge wealth which also bestows power, all too aware of the problem and also aware that it’s going to take more to fix than we can do as individuals?

Is there something we can do collectively? Could the individual efforts even add up to enough after all? Is time running out or is it on our side? Can writing do anything at all to help?

Well, at the very least, writing can relieve our feelings. And maybe writing to our politicians might sway them in the right direction, or writing for the public might wake up some more people or inspire them to further action.

Be that as it may, what would you write in the face of disaster? What will you write? It’s your prompt for this week, if you choose to use it. 

Otherwise feel free to write about anything else at all … after all, it may be that everything we write now is ‘in the face of disaster’ anyway, as we experience these dramatic climate events all over the world.  And then there are wars, and viruses....

Or are you experiencing some even more personal disaster? I hope not! But if so, letting off steam might help.

Not meaning to be a doom-and-gloom merchant, folks. Perhaps what one can write in the face of disaster is something cheerful and/or hopeful, to make us all feel less despairing. Perhaps we can write about some of the good things that are being done to help in dire world situations.

One post per person, please; verse or prose, new or old; 369 words maximum. Please read and comment on other people’s posts – and if you’d care to talk to us in the comments here below, that would be lovely.

Next week, Magaly will invite us to create poetry or prose inspired by a line from our own Marja: “Write love letters to wild flowers”.

This image, by Colin Lloyd from Unsplash, reminds me of the state of some of our local roads after our floods – several still not repaired a year later, because there was just so much devastation to address.