Posts Tagged ‘Creative Writing’

Before heading off of facebook for my little vacay, I inquired to others on any recommended websites for creative writing prompts.  What I had come across in my own search were a lot that were just not that inspiring for me personally.  Either the prompts themselves were too boring or common, or some would be a supposed start to a story, but they would basically be a prompt giving away the whole story–which to me didn’t leave enough for it to go in crazy, fun, imaginative directions.


One of my friends, Greg, pointed me towards creativewritingprompts.com, which is a website with numbers 1 to 346.  On this site, you hover the cursor over any of the numbers with your mouse and then a prompt pops up.  This has been one of my favorites, and was the first one that I used.  They have some really fun abstract prompts like “write about the color of hunger,” or “write about the fickle Finger of Fate.”  Other prompts  include lists of words that must be included in your piece,  those that are written from a different point of view (like that of a wedding bouquet), or those that start with obscure questions like, “how would a broken plate feel?”


Some of my prompts have sprung up organically without having to search for them; meaning my writing took me to a place, which then made me curious, so I did some research, which led me to new information, which then led me to my next day’s writing prompt.  Kind of awesome.


I also like visual prompts, and in my hunt for these discovered the incredibly awesome Smithsonian Institutes’s photostream on Flickr.  I especially love old pictures of people I don’t know and to imagine who they were, what their lives were like, etc.  I haven’t used it as a prompt yet, but here is one of my favorite pics that I’ve found from this site:


Bob Bartlett and local inhabitant aboard ship during Bartlett’s Arctic Expedition, 1933




My newest delicious discovery is Story Starters from Scholastic.com.  It is a fantastic story starter generating “machine.”  You type in your name and then pick your grade (K-1, 2nd, 3rd, or 4th-6th).  I mean who wouldn’t want to be a 2nd grader again?  It then takes you to the elementary school slot machine, where you can either pull the handle to have all four components come up at once, or push the individual buttons and do them one by one.  Once the four part “story starter” comes up, if there is a part that you’re not that excited about, you can change that one by spinning it again, but still keep the other three.  Or you can change two, or three, or all of them.  Some fun ones I’ve already been gifted with include, “Write a brief newspaper story about an overweight jellyfish that is afraid of spiders,” “Write a brief biography of an Arctic flamingo who paints murals,” and “Describe the secret wish of an unpopular carnival clown who only talks in rhyme.”  A lot of my creative writing pieces have been steering towards the more serious and philosophical side, so this was a really fun and refreshing change.


The piece I started today (I left it at a nail biting cliff hanger) was “Write a fairy tale about a hopping fire truck who loves peanut butter and jelly.”  I won’t spoil it and give it away, but let’s just say that Boris the Fire Truck may have been born with all of the natural attributes of a fire truck, but in his secret heart of hearts, he dreams of being a Monster Truck….and on this particular day, on his way home from the playground, he happens upon a magical, shiny, sparkly________….yeah I know…..you’re DYING to know the rest.



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It’s actually been  more than a week, but here goes.  I have a lot to write about, or perhaps more accurately said, a lot brewing.  For tonight, though, I will keep this brief as Breaking Bad episodes, season 2 via Netflix are waiting (thank you dear sister for this new ADDICTION).  Normally it would still wait, but it’s Jack’s one day off this week, and while he knows I have self commitments I am wanting to stick to, I also want to capitalize on the time with him.:)

The 30 minutes exercise daily has been getting the least attention, definitely not by choice, as I’ve been pretty sick  this past week+ (and actually was ordered to have bed rest).   In addition to the “calcification” or whatevertheheck is trying to exit my body, I also woke up on Monday with an oh-joy cold/sore throat/sinus infection medley.  Doc says this is actually good as my body is trying to cleanse itself. Well cleanse away body. CLEANSE AWAY.

The daily creative writing has been mostly good….I did miss 2 days this week, but it was due to low energy level and how I was feeling those days health-wise.  Yesterday was one of them, which I also missed doing a blog post (the only day missed so far, however).  The writing I am LOVING and am fascinated by the themes that keep showing up (as well as what keeps showing up in my life to feed these themes): spirituality, religion, honne and tatemae, authenticity and/vs audacity, grace vs nature, ho’oponopono, shame, blocks, cleansing, release, lies, truth, etc.  As my goal was to have this daily writing prepare myself for work on my solo performance work (and beyond), I find these themes to be exciting and I am open and ready for what is to come.

Through my morning pages, meditation, and constructive rest, I am reflecting and opening to how this all relates to me personally as well as my life’s work.  The shoulder still has not healed and I have opened up to the possibility that it actually might not heal enough for me to return to restaurant work.  I’m not as stressed out about this as I was in the beginning, but rather continuing my work (along with my healing) and being open and actively inquisitive as to “ok, then, if not that then what’s next?”

I have stayed 100% vegan:  SUCCESS!  I have cooked up some pretty incredible vegan dishes this week, so keeping Jack happy in the process= double success.  Constructive rest has happened daily without fail, and I am really noticing the difference it is making in my body and my awareness (where I unconsciously have been holding tension, aka “protecting”).   There is a definite shift happening in my back and neck, and so I am completely motivated to keep this up and feeling all around pretty good about that.

Staying off Facebook and websites of the like has been easy (I did go on to  “exit the conversation” of a couple of mass emails (that I’m not able to participate in at this time, as I was constantly getting emails as a result).  While I do not miss the inundating myself with constant information that drowns out my own creative voice and/or using it as a huge mode of procrastination, I DO  greatly miss the connection with my family and friends.  This has become exponentially true with the isolation(even though I’ve still been in touch with many) of being at home so much to due to injury and illness.  There is one friend in particular that I think about daily as she is undergoing treatment for breast cancer, and has been very forthcoming in her moment to moment experience of it all via facebook.  Her status updates (and those of others like her) being trended would be a lot more beneficial to the spreading of true awareness of breast cancer and the likes than silly little hidden messages in status updates that really don’t mean or do jack shit (sorry but it’s true!).  I know that’s harsh, and I have a number of friends actually participating in this facebook status trend (which I know about from the emails until I logged in to drop out), but I feel like if people want to spread awareness, do it in a way that is real and deep and actually has some meaning and the potential to really impact and awaken people to something they don’t already know.  It’s not like breast cancer is some big secret.  We are all perfectly aware it’s there.  But my friend (who is undergoing treatment) and the sharing of her experience…now THAT’S some effective awareness spreading right there.  I’m just sayin’.

Ok, off soap box.  The only thing that truly got neglected this week was the working on my PATH. Oh wait, that is somewhat a lie…..I did buy a new 2012 planner.  I just didn’t do anything with it other than admire its newness and beauty.  So that is something for me to really look at  and think about why and how it can be approached differently.   We’ll see what new news I have to report about it next week.  To finish off, daily meditation and morning pages happened without issue (and I have found myself already lengthening my meditation time), as did my artist date (which is in my last blog post).  I am already aware of a pretty big shift happening in myself;  a slowing down to notice details so much more as I am doing things even mundane tasks, an increased calmness, a new sense of enjoyment of  even the smallest things.  I’m laughing a lot more, too.  This is good and is keeping me motivated and focused toward my daily tasks and I look forward to more and more and more.   As I wrote out today, every writing or meditation or creation of every kind doesn’t have to be golden.  It’s awesome when it is, but it’s obviously not always going to work out that way.  What’s important is the practice itself, showing up, and how you show up(and sometimes just saying “hey, I’m here okay” has to be enough, and that’s okay, too).  The rest will eventually somehow, in Its Own Way, start to work Itself out.

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“We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do.”–Hermane Melville

First writing prompt of 2012:  write about what stirs you

#42: Screen doors, particularly the metal kind with the hinge that looks like an air pump and makes that “swoooosh” sound halfway to its destination as it closes and “catches” on said hinge, then vibrating its tin body as it bangs shut, hard and loud the first time, but always bouncing back for a final encore against and within its frame.

Also, little messages from the Universe, like when you’re riding the N train back from Union Square to Queens (after originally trekking out there on News Year’s Day for a Trader Joe’s run, only to be greeted with a “CLOSED” sign, thus turning right around and heading straight back) and letting your current worries have a hay day in your head space:

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Because I, in general, like to set myself up for the next-to-impossible, I’m beginning 2012 with just that.  2 months from now I will be taking a 5 week “Solo Performance” workshop class at ESPA  (through Primary Stages), of which I fully intend to come out of with a completed first draft of a solo performance piece. And then…of course… the dreaded…the awful… the evil:




And so, you know, just to make my life an utter living hell (and by hell I of course actually mean  totally freaking awesome), I will be starting out the first month of 2012 in Creative Incubation. This means:

1.DISTRACTION DEPRIVATION: Exactly what it sounds like.  I am the Q-U-E-E-N of distraction procrastination. This was my safety zone, by binkie, my warm and cozy blankie as a child, and sometimes I forget that I don’t actually (always) need it anymore. For me, the biggest culprits are: Facebook, computer/phone games, and news and entertainment websites. Soooo, for the next month, if it isn’t directly related to acting, creative “work” (re:  play), personal connections (emails, letters, phone calls, in-person), bills(gotta be responsible sometimes), and/or work, it ain’t happening. So,  DEAR, lovely black holes of my precious sweet time, I’m sending you on a little va-cay for the wintery month of January. Sayonara.

2.  30+ Minutes DAILY Intentional Movement: Gym, walking, sit-ups, yoga, dancing, whatever. As long as I am purposefully MOVING.

3.  DAILY Morning Pages

4.  Daily Meditation

5.  Alexander Technique’s Constructive Rest Exercise Daily (At least 15 minutes)

6.  30 Minutes Creative Writing Daily (this will be left up to flexible interpretation, but will always mean some sort of 30 minute nonstop writing-just-for-the-sake-of-writing exercise)

7.  Weekly Artist Dates

8. 100% VEGAN!!:  I’ve been riding the edge  on this for a while now, not fully BYALONGSHOT giving up the dairy. This action definitely supports a happier, healthier, more creatively nutritious me.

9.  Making and keeping my appointments with myself (and weekly POW meetings) on my PATH. (I fully give myself permission to have all of the appointments be creative-play-based, as long as they fit within the perimeters of my PATH.)

10. New (VEGAN!) Recipe Each Week!   Jack’s not likely going vegan anytime soon (and by soon I mean NEVER), so I gotta keep things tasty and interesting to keep him happy, as well!  Happy husband=happy wife, and vice versa.

11. DAILY (did I just type that?!) Blog Entry: Yes, folks, you heard it here first. This blog has been sporadic to say the least, but not this month!  It might be a one liner, a simple picture of something inspires me, or it might be a 300 page novel.  Let’s play it by ear.  (And honestly, I’m totally stealing this daily posting idea from Bekah Brunstetter, whose blog I adore:  http://blog.bekahbrunstetter.com/ )





Ok, actually I don’t have a number 12.


Ok.  Maybe that’s actually what number 12 is.  Not having one…an end goal,  a specified outcome, or a needed result. Just a daily  re-commitment for the next month to being more fully present with myself and life, caring for and nurturing my creative and spiritual sweet Self.  And then…whatever hatches, hatches.



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That’s a little how I am feeling right about now. Just finished Week 4 of The Artist’s Way (so perfectly titled “Recovering a Sense of Integrity”), which included among many things, “no reading” for the entire week. TAW was written quite a while ago, so I have taken it upon myself to update that to include anything I use as a distraction/escape (TV, internet, email, facebook, texting, etc). A few “needed” slips here and there, but overall I stayed true to the course.

What is so powerful about the “reading deprivation” week is that while it can be terribly uncomfortable at first (what do I do? sit and stare at the wall…stare…stare…stare…hungry?…eat…stare…stare…), you quickly start venturing out and playing. You also have NO CHOICE but to listen to your own voice because you no longer have anything else drowning it out. This can bring up a myriad of emotions (excitement, fear, anger, grief, joy) as you start to realize how you really feel about your work, certain relationships, habits, the color blue….And here is the most awesome part of all: all emotions and thoughts are TRANSITORY. Holy crap, does this mean you can’t even trust yourself?!!?

Ok, slow down, cowboy. No, it does not mean that, and in fact, quite the opposite. It means give FULL FAITH to that Voice within, knowing that while you listen deeper and deeper and deeper, you have COMPLETE permission to change your mind about ANYTHING at ANY given moment. And nobody else gets to say diddly squat about it. Not that that will necessarily stop them. But that doesn’t have to mean anything to you. Unless you *choose* to LET it.

So what did I do this week? I had an incredible extended Artist Date. It started with hanging up white string lights in my space. Then I enjoyed one of the guided meditations that I have on CD that I have been meaning to do forever. I enjoyed it so much, I immediately followed it with another. Then a meditative sea salt bath (no book!). Then the (solo) party really began as I cranked up a “cheezy mix” cd my sister made me for my 36th birthday back in September, while I simultaneously made dinner and baked a Funfetti birthday cake. Pilsbury of course. The birthday cake ingredients were bought on impulse earlier in the day, and while no nearby birthdays were on the horizon, I didn’t see that as any reason to stop me. Oh, and as it was “no reading” week, I attempted to get the necessary ingredients without actually reading the box. Only to discover AS I WAS MAKING the cake that it called for “3 eggs *OR* 4 egg whites” not “3 eggs *AND* 4 egg whites.” Oops. Looking inside my bowl of mostly liquid with some batter mix, I shrugged and said what the heck…it’s a done deal, let’s see what happens. Well, let’s see what happens turned out to be one of the best happy accidents ever, because holy momma this was one moist and delicious cake if I do say so myself (and I just did)! So let this be a lesson: if you are in mid-creation and you think you screwed the whole thing up, don’t necessarily scrap it altogether. Try considering to just keep on going and see what comes out in the end!

The rest of the Artist Date included a candle lit dinner with yours truly, followed by streaming, “Exit Through the Giftshop” on Netflix. Great great great great movie. Great.

Work was this weekend. And here was where the Voice could no longer be ignored. The satisfaction with my job went quickly South, and this left me with a lot to contemplate. Being that I couldn’t read or go on the internet after a long 12+ hours at work, I found myself writing after work. And writing and writing and writing.

Side note, speaking of writing, that Creative WRITING class I took via Gotham=complete crap. Nice teacher, but boy does the class NOT AT ALL follow the description. The class should have been called Creative Reading and Discussion of that Reading and Listen to the Teacher Talk and Talk and Talk and TALK About Movies and Everything Else He Finds Interesting Especially His Own Writing. I’m just sayin’.

So, re: my job, of course the plan has never been to work there forever, although I truly had no idea how dissatisfied I was with it until last weekend. So what am I doing about this? I don’t know. It’s not like I have any plans to leave or look for another job. It’s just where I am right now, and I’m acknowledging it. If anything, it is catapulting me into more “outside of work” work that fulfills me.

And, re: Integrity…what is also so interesting is the synchronicity of The Artist’s Way work, this week’s work in particular, and how I am looking and listening and stepping into and owning the integrity of my own voice around a situation with my family. Examining this fine line of being open and having compassion and willing to give, yet also not crossing the line of it being at one’s own expense, at the expense of one’s own mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Because if you aren’t taking care of yourself first and foremost, you’re *not* listening to what is True, and you’re not really good to anyone else anyway. The PLUS side to this (and which coincides with that god-awful creative “writing” class) is that there is a nudge (and also from Jeff W) to perhaps starting writing some sort of memoir(s)/personal essay(s)/one-woman piece(s) around my experiences. Letting that simmer for now, but ideas are boiling.

Hardest news for last. My sweet almost-17 Lucy girl (who has been treated for CRF since last May, (and very successfully so) became blind this week. I don’t care how many cats you have known in your lifetime, you have never met anyone else like her. She is almost human. She might actually be human. Emotional, smart, (manipulative, haha!), demanding, beautiful perfect little creature. And so to watch something so innocent and that loves you so totally unconditionally (and not only because you feed her, although you better feed her when she demands it) suddenly lose her bearings and not really understand what is going on…just completely breaks my heart. I took her to the vet on Tuesday (which, you know, she LOVED), and her CRF numbers are up, although not terribly so; and so we are on a new regimen with her fluids. She was very depressed all day Tuesday, but has been more active and upbeat since then. The vet says cats adapt very well to blindness and that it is harder on us humans than it is on them…which I am sure is true. Does that make me feel any better? Usually I embrace change. Sometimes, though, I hate it.

Despite the up-and-down-ness of this post, we (Jack and I) are in a very good spot. It feels a bit like the storm before the calm before the storm of getting ready to settle into the next big thing. We are focused and ready and grounded.


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Six Word Stories

What is your 6 word story?

Fuse–inspiring band with HEART that I saw Saturday night at the Grisley Pear

Blue Valentine: Best movie I have seen since I don’t know when…honest, raw, real…a TRUTHFUL love story

Phillipe Petit: “Man On Wire” (see the entire documentary!)

The Artist’s Way

Life Changing 12 Week Creative Spiritual Journey

Natalie Goldberg’s, “Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within”

“Writing Down The Bones”

“Black Swan”: Challenges ideas of “perfection”

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