Prompts

I was the kid who . . . Prompt #573

Your Deepest Core by Maggie Rogers: Throughout my life I’ve thought of vulnerability as a shield. My logic goes something like—if I tell you my whole truth, everything I’m feeling, then there’s no ammo left for you to hurt me. It’s been my default defense mechanism for as long as I can remember. I was the kid in the second grade telling everyone who I had a crush on instead of trying to keep it a secret.  Prompt: I was the kid who . . . Prompt inspired from The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad, “A newsletter for people seeking to transform life’s interruptions into creative grist.”

Sparks

The Hum

By Camille Sherman It startled me. The devices were powered off, the lights relieved of duty. The street below offered no atmosphere or background detail. All is still.  I whip my head, crane my neck, squint my eyes. The hum does not become louder, more apparent, more directional. It almost becomes maddeningly softer, like a drop of water has come and diluted its color so its wayward edges are harder to spot.  It doesn’t quite have a pitch. I rule out the heater, much more ostentatious when it kicks on to rescue cold feet. I come to terms with the fact that it is likely the refrigerator, reassuring me that it is trusty and functional. I put my mug in the sink, grab the blanket off the couch, and slide into bed. Lying there, I realize the devices are powered off, the world is asleep. The low hum is the…

Guest Bloggers

A Type of Disconnect

It’s been a difficult thirteen months during shelter in place. From March 2020 to now (April 2021) many of us have felt a spectrum of emotions. Alison Flood eloquently captures what many of us are experiencing: After a month of lockdown, William Sutcliffe wrote on Twitter: “I have been a professional writer for more than twenty years. I have made my living from the resource of my imagination. Last night I had a dream about unloading the dishwasher.” Whether it is dealing with home schooling, the same four walls, or anxiety caused by the news, for many authors, the stories just aren’t coming. “Stultified is the word,” says Orange prize-winning novelist Linda Grant. “The problem with writing is it’s just another screen, and that’s all there is … I can’t connect with my imagination. I can’t connect with any creativity. My whole brain is tied up with processing, processing, processing…

Sparks

Studio Apartment

By Deb Fenwick She’s ready to set the world on fire. She’s got the requisite credentials: a freshly printed MBA from Wharton and a studio apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Yes, it’s a studio, but it’s a nice studio—spacious with carefully curated accessories. She even has houseplants. She can’t get to the gym or her Pilates class right now, well, because . . . Covid. She meets up with girlfriends for gossipy, boozy, Zoom happy hours on Fridays where everyone looks great from the waist up. She even puts on lipstick for the calls so that she can see the after image of her lips on the wineglass long after everyone logs off. It’s proof that she had fun. She and her friends are in that sweet spot after college but before the gorgeous weight of marriage, mortgages, and children (in that order) that will bind them to suburban homes with…

Prompts

First Lines From Books . . . Prompt #571

First lines from books can inspire writing. Choose one, or more, and Just Write! “My name is Ruth. I grew up with . . .” — Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson: “This was probably a mistake . . .” —Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell “With wobbly knees, I stood at the edge of the three-foot diving board.” —Beyond Recovery by Shawn Langwell “Marsh is no swamp. Marsh is a space of light, where grass grows in water, and water flows into the sky.” —Where The Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens “The biggest irony about that night is that I was always scared to fly.” —How to Walk Away by Katherine Center

Just Write

First line and Write Towards What You Want To Know

Opening lines of books are so important, as you know. First lines should draw the reader in and inspire the reader to keep reading. Thanks to a book club friend who sent Colum McCann’s article to me, excerpted below. I also like his take on “write what you know.” Colum McCann: A first line should open up your rib cage. It should reach in and twist your heart backward. It should suggest that the world will never be the same again. The opening salvo should be active. It should plunge your reader into something urgent, interesting, informative. It should move your story, your poem, your play, forward. It should whisper in your reader’s ear that everything is about to change. But take it easy too. Don’t stuff the world into your first page. Achieve a balance. Let the story unfold. Think of it as a doorway. Once you get your…

Sparks

My Dream Is…

By Susie Moses I dream of living for awhile in a cabin in a thick forest at the edge of a quiet lake, possibly in the North Woods of the Adirondacks or the wilds of Minnesota on the Canadian border, or maybe the San Juan Islands off the coast of Washington.  Maine would work too. I will have a canoe, or these days, a kayak, easier to manage solo.  I will arise as the sun emerges, put on a jacket and knit cap against the morning chill, and insert myself into my boat for a silent tour of the shoreline. As I watch the light spread from the horizon, changing colors are reflected in the low-lying clouds as the sun burns off the fog. My lake will be sparsely populated, no jet skis or motor craft of any kind, just self-propelled canoes or kayaks, and at that early hour I…

Sparks

Sindee reveals her secret

The Chronicles of Sindee Volume 6:  Sindee reveals her secret By Su Shafer The moon was waxing, getting near to full. She could feel it growing in the night sky. The soft fluttering of wings inside, near her heart. Every night they grew more insistent and she knew that tomorrow night or maybe the next, they would take over: she would change. The fluttering inside made it hard to sleep. Sindee lay awake in her crib, staring at the patterns in the lace canopy. Stuffy was quiet beside her, but she didn’t think he was asleep. “Stuffy, are you asleep?” “No. Are you?” “Obviously not,” Sindee replied, annoyed. She sighed. Stuffy wasn’t the brightest sometimes, but given his tiny dinosaur brain, what could she expect? “I guess I should tell you something,” Sindee went on. “Something important, that I’ve been keeping secret.” “Oh boy, a secret!” Stuffy chirped, flapping his…

Prompts

Hygge . . . Prompt #569

Hygge: “A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being, regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.” I bought some pasture-raised eggs the other day and was intrigued by the little information sheet tucked inside the egg carton: Naturally Hygge Hens “Without ever stockpiling cuddly blankets or chunky candles our hens instinctively practice the Danish art of hygee all winter long. Their pasture-raised lifestyle means crisp days spent together enjoying the simple things – tasty grasses, crunchy critters and warm sunshine. As evening falls, they rest in the safety and comfort of the barn. Days with friends and cozy nights with not a screen in sight!” (Vital Farms) Since then, I learned there is a Hygge Facebook page. The following is excerpted from the February 2017 issue of Charlotte at Home. How to achieve hygge at home Because simply defining the term with words like “coziness” and…