365, a year of writing adventures
pub. date March 2019
Such a Girl Press
This photograph was taken by the author during a harbor visit by a viking replica ship. Seems appropriate for prompts taking writers on an adventure.
The 365 book originated as a writing discipline I undertook in 2012-13. Write a poem a day to prompts created myself. I made the commitment to create prompts at least a month ahead of the writing and to stick with those no matter how much I may be inclined to change on any particular day. And oh boy was I tempted. Some days I just didn't feel the prompt. However, when one sets out on a journey or rather commits to a discipline, it is important to stay the course or risk getting lost. I made TWO exceptions: one the day of the Sandy Hook school shooting and the other on the day of the Boston Marathon bombing. I felt I owed it to the victims and their families not to write anything other than what might honor them in some way. Below is the poem I wrote after Sandy Hook. It is unedited.
As I continued to write through the year's prompts, I began to see myself as a more accomplished poet, finding the magic of ordinary things (and somewhat ordinary prompts) and gaining confidence. I also felt more settled into my writing as a normal part of my life rather than something I made time to do when other things were done.
Another thing happened that took me quiet by surprise: As I began sharing some of the prompts in workshops writers became interested in having prompts for themselves, writing "mini-assignments" to work on after the workshop was done. I considered whether to publish some or all of my year's prompts on my blog, month by month, or as a collection. My decision took 6 years and hear it is.
The prompts were originally just for poets, or so I thought until I began assembling them for this book. Lo and behold, they are all pretty well adapted for writers of fiction, essayists, memoirists. If you want to take on the challenge of a writing discipline, you do not have to invent it. It lives between the pages of this book. Dig in and do it!
Poem for Sandy Hook:
Lessons From First Grade
In the front row, a boy fidgeting
with the buttons on his shirt.
His mother lets him do them on his own
because it’s what mothers do
for their first grader sons. He hears
a sound and looks up to see a shadow:
Is it his dad coming home early? His
cousin bringing cookies for the party?
A loud noise. All the buttons
pop off his shirt as he falls to the floor.
— and no time to call for his mother.
— for the children of Newtown, CT
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