Neuroplasticity & Character Development . . .  Prompt #743

Neuroplasticity We have well-worn neural pathways that help us get through routine activities without having to think about the details of each one. For example: Driving to a destination and arriving without having remembered every detail on the route. When that neural pathway gets interrupted, there is an opportunity for: Neuroplasticity: The brain’s ability to form new connections and neural pathways.  That change of habit can enrich perspectives: The way we look at our world, the way we meet challenges, and problem solve. Prompt #1 Set the scene. Choose a fairytale character, a fictional character you create, or someone from your life (this could be you): Finish the sentences: A character wants ___________________________ To get it, character needs to ____________________ But (obstacles) ______________________________ What if: Neural pathway gets interrupted. An opportunity for neuroplasticity? _________ Prompt #2 Choose one path to follow Path One: Fractured Fairytales: Start with a well-known fairytale…


State fairs, county fairs, bazaars . . . Prompt #740

Photo by Denisse Leon Writing Prompt: State fairs, county fairs, bazaars Where you . . . Tried your luck at winning prizes. Threw a dart to win a stuffed animal, tossed a ring to win a goldfish. Went on a dizzy, scary, gravity-defying ride. Ate fair food:  Fried food, caramel covered apples, cotton candy, funnel cakes, soft-serve cones. Were entertained: Music, hypnotist, magicians, stilt-walkers. Inhaled a variety of smells: Barnyard animals, food. Gazed at exhibits: 4-H crafts, fine art, photography, sculptures. Prompt: State fairs, county fairs, bazaars . . . an overabundance of sensory riches. 

Just Write

Writing That First Thing

“Remember that when you’re writing that first thing, you’re in an incredibly precious time. When you’re writing that book or that early story, write for yourself first and foremost. There’s going to come a time when that won’t be the case anymore, when there are going to be all these people who are involved. So, don’t be in any great hurry to publish or to get it out there into the world. Take your time to hone and draft that first book. Appreciate those early years where you’re writing for yourself because it never is quite the same once you start publishing.” Excerpt from a Writer’s Digest interview with Brandon Taylor. The bestselling (and Booker Prize-shortlisted) author discusses the interconnectedness of his work, the importance of short stories, and his latest release, The Late Americans. Interviewed  Michael Woodson The May/June 2023 issue of Writer’s Digest is all about “Keeping It Short” —short forms of…

Book Reviews

Tangled by Blood

Reviewed by Marlene Cullen “Tangled by Blood, a Memoir in Verse” by Rebecca Evans opens with the powerful “I wanted to be your womb,” letting us know this is a manifesto of bold writing. Unveiling her truth in poetic form offers a lyrical quality to her candid and extremely personal stories, revealing a heart that will not be shattered, a voice that will not be shuttered, and a resilience to be admired. Strong writing, impressive abilities, and remarkable insights, Evans shares her journey with integrity, honesty, and unflinching intelligence. “Tangled by Blood” is a treatise to be read and re-read, picking up different nuances with each reading. Available on Amazon. Rebecca Evans’ work reflects, among many things, fractured relationships. This fracturing influences every subsequent relationship—carrying scars and wounds throughout one’s life. Evans weaves disability, domestic violence, and a fight for survival throughout her narratives, hoping to start conversations, create awareness,…


Rain Dog, a Pantoum

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Rain Dog, a Pantoum By Suse Pareto Dog is bored and restless. Rain is pouring down. I’m loath to leave this comfy bed, but walk we must, says she.   Rain is pouring down, the road is sodden and feckless. But walk we must, says she, up to the woods we go.   The road is sodden and feckless. The hills are wet and slick. Up to the woods we go, Dog barks in great delight.   The hills are wet and slick, rain drips from leaf and stick. Dog barks in great delight, “Water slithering, sliding everywhere!”   Rain drips from leaf and stick. The gullies run fast and wild, water slithering, sliding everywhere, it’s like the earth has burst.   The gullies run fast and wild, Dog nips at water’s tumble. It’s like the…

Guest Bloggers

Presence and Connection

Guest Blogger Dr. Doreen Downing talks about public speaking, especially for writers. As a writer, you may be able to put words on a page, but … do you have the confident voice to access your words when you must speak in public? If you don’t feel confident, and if you feel anxiety, doubt yourself, hold yourself back, then what you write won’t reach as many ears or as many hearts as you’d like. When I ask my clients what holds them back from feeling at ease speaking about their work, the answer is always fear. And, bottom line, it’s the fear of being judged. It’s true that a judge could be sitting in the audience, listening for your mistakes, and counting your um’s, but more likely than not, the judge that criticizes you the most is perched right inside your own head. In fact, you could be your own…


Steady Going

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Steady Going By Christine Renaudin Two months into summer,three in retirement,one more kiss of the sun. I am starting to feel the change in ways that do not rub me wrong, like a shirt grown too tight,or a pair of new shoes     I am settling into a certain ease I didn’t know before, or I had forgotten.There is hardly any rushing through things unless absolutely necessary in case of an emergency. I walk the dog daily. Three months into summer,four in retirement,signs abound, changes beckon. I have trouble remembering what I did on a given day, and I resort to lists to keep track of the books I’ve read and places I’ve gone, so I can tell people when they are kind enough to ask.Morning and afternoon melt in one another.I glide along sweaty, in blissful…


Delicate as a Hummingbird’s Heart

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. Delicate as a Hummingbird’s Heart By Noah Davis This past Saturday, the fire burning on the north side of the river jumped a ridge and lit another hillside of drought-stricken timber, sending a plume so high that the air turned red with the seared skin of Douglas fir and larch. At 5:30 that evening, in the diner booth across from my father and me, a young man and woman, both with shiny, smooth cheeks, sat drinking their waters in small swallows. He wore a collared, white button down with jeans and scrubbed cowboy boots. Her skirt was blue, like glacial streams, and her straight hair was the color of stacked wheat shafts when the sunlight isn’t choked with smoke. His bangs were still wet from the shower, comb marks straight as irrigation ditches. She ran her…


The Smell of Old, Ancient Time

Memorable writing that sparks imagination. Lean in. Hear the writer’s voice on the page. The Smell of Old, Ancient Time By Mary E. O’Brien Old smells like perfume That’s past its life cycle The scent you get when you are Hoping for exquisite but discover stale.   Old is stale sheets that have absorbed The fevers and worries And peaceful slumbers of The maximum number of humans.  Old time has absorbed into its pores A thousand smiles, given in vain To cheer or to greet, Unreturned.  Old time is a black satin circle, Etched with circular lines that contain, Miraculously, violins piercing the sorry soul Or wandering heart.  Old, ancient time is beige sand Cradling the bones of saints and gladiators Clinging to crevices to keep their shame and secrets in the grave Which we all have a right to.  Old, ancient time smells like a baby’s hair. The very…