Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 246

In looking at your storyline, you might want to include births. Every life begins with a birth. A lot of stories begin with “I was born on (this date).” They normally don’t say “I died on (this date)” unless it’s a posthumous narrator. So I’m suggesting to you to write a birth story. Whose birth story? You get to decide, since you’re the omniscient narrator. Or the other option is to think of the beginning of stories. How does one begin? Here’s one example from Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, which is an all-time favorite story of mine.

“My father’s family name being Pirrip, and my Christian name Philip, my infant tongue could make of both names nothing longer or more explicit than Pip. So, I called myself Pip, and came to be called Pip.”

Include some kind of genealogy detail if you feel like it.

In case you missed it, please check my previous post. You know, so I don’t have to repeat myself. Search Prompt 244.

Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 235

I’d just read a very thoughtful essay by a student from Trumpland. I get it. Last evening I’d watched a documentary about Trumpland. Down to Ku Klux Klan beliefs about white supremacy, it’s about beliefs isn’t it? I believe therefore I am. Everyone’s beliefs are differently shaped by their geography and circumstance. At the end of the day it’s all about survival isn’t it? Like the student who wrote the essay I hope for a middle path. Extremists on both sides of the divide represent their truths. Truths are more complicated than that. Just like the white woman who doesn’t get the women’s march, which grew so epic yesterday, is it because she is speaking from a position of privilege? Having grown up in a sanctuary, how would she know the other’s truth? Society fought for women’s rights back then, but those rights continue to be violated and is it so wrong that women, in solidarity, refuse to be silenced? If you remain in silence, then you’re complicit. Didn’t someone say that poetry doesn’t simplify these truths? Be glad for poetry–it gets a bad rap, and continue to be berated for its uselessness in a world that privileges economic truths above all else. Write about your truth, sure, but then know that it’s not somebody else’s truth. So what is truth, friends and frenemies?

Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 231

“Magic is everywhere if only we’d knew where to look.” I read this quote/thought this morning. It’s one of those gentle reminders. It’s also the reason why we’re poets. We look and we look, don’t we? So here’s a relevant quote from Wordsworth’s “Ode: Intimations of Immortality from Recollections of Early Childhood”, which I’d first came across in my lit geek uni days:

“Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting:
The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star,
Hath had elsewhere its setting,
And cometh from afar:
Not in entire forgetfulness,
And not in utter nakedness,
But trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home:
Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Shades of the prison-house begin to close
Upon the growing Boy,
But he beholds the light, and whence it flows,
He sees it in his joy;
The Youth, who daily farther from the east
Must travel, still is Nature’s Priest,
And by the vision splendid
Is on his way attended;
At length the Man perceives it die away,
And fade into the light of common day.”

Ponder upon it and come up with some magic, will ya?

Prompt for RWJ, Prompt 230

Hey there, peeps! It’s Day 3 of 2017 and I’ve just had the pleasure of reading an exquisite story (Alice Munro, “Oh, What Avails”). Why is it so? What sort of analogy to use? A master storyteller peels off layer after layer finally to reveal the pattern of an entire life, or rather, lives, as a single life is inevitably entwined with other lives, isn’t it so? If you’re an author thinking about character, you’d do best if you mark out a single affliction for that character. And then you weave it so that the story is about how the character deals with it. There’re simply too many examples (Hamlet, Faustus, Humbert in Lolita, etc etc) so I would not want to cloud your mind. But do not let the secret out till towards the end, then you’d have blown the reader’s mind. The way you let it out is not to really let it all out. Is that enough of a prompt?

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 229

I don’t know about you but I feel optimistic about the new year. Maybe I’m just a die-hard optimist and feel amazing at a new beginning. You know there’s going to be challenges and hard knocks somewhere down the road, but those are for your new growth. One of the things I did today, the first day of 2017, is to write down all the ‘moments’ of 2016 –whether it be travel, something work-related, or personal events–and I’ve come to see that it has laid a new kind of foundation for me. There were highs and lows, and a whole lot of humdrum. Yet it just takes a change, however big or small, to set a new path. So your prompt is to do some sort of reflection of your place in the world.

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 227

Here we are, in the last week of 2016, and frankly it couldn’t be sooner. I hope you’re feeling all uplifted by the season, or if not something within the season will stir the quiet waters within. George Michael died, adding to the list of luminaries who’s left this world this year. For me his two most memorable songs were “Last Christmas” and “Careless Whisper”. Well, whaddayu know, it’s Christmas time so I guess we’ll be hearing a lot of “Last Christmas”. For the rest of us who continue on in this world, let’s hope 2017 won’t be such a bitch. For your prompt, write about the bitches you knew in 2016 or that was 2016, or something like that. Then yea, move on. Here’s another from George Michael.

This one I like:

Prompts for RWJ, Prompt 226

Ya know, at some level, we’re all just surviving the holiday season. Is it a good enough reason for people to get together? I guess so. Christmas really got significant because of the kids. But they’re all kinda grown up now. So we decided to get rid of presents. Which was one big commercial trap, wasn’t it, and isn’t it still? It’s not really about presents, is it? Even if for a season it was, for the kids that is. I see them entering adulthood one by one now. That’s a good enough reason for celebrating Christmas, just to see how they’ve changed in a year. What a difference a year makes. It’s easy to be cynical about celebrating. But really the good enough reason is good enough for me. So I want you to write a Christmas story or a story with Christmas sentiments. It doesn’t have to be true. But it has to conjure up feelings that ring true.