Writing prompt: For the birds

Hi, all. A new writing prompt today. You can write a poem or a paragraph or even turn this one into a comic. What I want you to do is look at the animals around you — birds, squirrels, pets, deer. Watch them for a few minutes and imagine a conversation they’re having with someone else. It could be another animal. It could be you!

Here’s something I wrote this morning based on two cardinals that I like to watch from my office window. If you have something you’d like to share, please let me know, I’d love to see it!

Before the Rain

He might say: Come this way.

And she might ignore him

For awhile

Before flying down and taking a peck

At the railroad tie

Before flying up and balancing triumphant

On the phone wire.

She might say: You’re late again

And he might ignore her

Before raising his wings in an almost-shrug

A way of secretly showing off his red,

A way of making her wonder why he’d never been

a model in an LL Bean catalog

(fall, not spring).

They’ve been together, these two

For all of the seasons now

And he hasn’t put a ring on it

Not even a Swarovski crystal.

She might say: It doesn’t matter.

She might mean it.

(Photos by my kiddo)

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Grim Nursery Rhymes

Some of you have probably heard the theory that the nursery rhyme “Ring Around the Rosie” is actually rooted in the plague. (Scholars say the rhyme actually predates the plague, but I grew up hearing that the “rosie” was a rash, and that falling down meant we all fell… dead.

Nursery rhymes (the tree limb breaks and the cradle falls, for instance) didn’t always attempt to spare kids from horror. Some of them brought it on.

Lizzie Borden had an axe
She gave her mother 40 whacks
When she saw what she had done
She gave her father 41

So this prompt is dark, but if you want to try it: Write some nursery rhymes for COVID-19. Social distancing. Physical distancing. Hand washing. Coughing.

Touch your mouth

Touch your cheeks

And  you’ll be sick

Within two weeks

(Well. You get the idea.)

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Writing prompt: Spring

It’s spring. And, okay, maybe that’s not the first thing on everybody’s mind these days, but it’s here. It’s happening. I’ve loved seeing photos of flowers blooming and of that fresh, yellow-green color of new growth. Today’s writing prompt is simple and broad.

Write about spring.

You can try a poem, rhyming or not. You can write a prose paragraph.

You can sit outside and listen and just make a list of sounds that you hear. You can make a list of the colors that you see.

Share if you’d like. I’m glad to be your audience!

If you’re interested in more prompts, go here: WRITE.


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Writing prompt: Writing out your fears

Had some fears over the past few days (or weeks)? Let’s write about them. If you’ve had something cancelled that is making you hugely disappointed? Let’s write about that, too.

Let’s start with a phrase you’ve heard recently, and that will be your first line of a poem or prose paragraph. Something like:

I’m sorry. An abundance of caution. Cancelled. Social distancing.

Line two and three: tell us what today was supposed to be like.

Line four and five: tell us what today IS like.

Line six: Repeat line one.

Line seven: End it how you want to end it. You can be positive or you can be negative — just get some thoughts and feelings on paper.

More writing prompts are here. 

If you want to share something I’d love to see it.


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Writing and drawing prompt — meeting your character

Hi, all. Thanks to the Nerdy Book Club for running this essay on meeting a character for the first time. You can probably guess what my writing prompt for today is going to be, but I’ll go ahead and explain it anyway: It’s time to do a character swap.

You can do it one of two ways

Get the members of your family together in one room. Everybody gets too pieces of paper. On page one, I want you to design a character. Please include the following:

  1. What your character looks like (big, pink, stripy, human)
  2. What your character is wearing,
  3. Your character’s favorite food, sport and hobby
  4. Your character’s favorite expression
  5. Your character’s current problem

Now everyone pass that paper to the right. And on your blank page, please draw the character you were handed. If you do this project and want to send in some pics, I’d love to see them. How did it feel to have someone else bring your character to life?

And the second way, of course, is to do this prompt with a friend. It’s a great way to get in touch especially since you are no longer seeing your friends each day, Send the results back and forth by email or text, with the help of a parent or guardian (unless you are a parent or guardian, in which case you do not need permission). I’d love to see the results. Were there any surprises?

More writing prompts are here. 


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