Fallow

Thursday, October 2

According to Jewish law and tradition, this year, 5775, is a Shmita or Sabbatical year, when Jewish farmers are supposed to let the land rest. The idea of fallow fields got me thinking about what grows when you don’t actively plant seeds, either physically or metaphorically.

Prompt #1  Write about toiling, perseverance, stepping back, being receptive. Write for 15 minutes.

Prompt #2 Follow these steps to see what emerges.

  1. Write for 10 minutes inspired by the word “fallow.”
  2. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “follow.” Encourage connections with the “fallow” writing.
  3. Write for 5 minutes inspired by the word “fellow.” Again, look for connections, either thematically or aurally, with your “fallow” and “follow” writing.
  4. Look at all three samples. Circle phrases and words that stand out for you. Choose one word or phrase from each sample and write them on top of a new page. Write for 10 more minutes.

 

End of Day

For Thursday, August 7

IMG_2630

Write a poem or flash fiction piece that includes a sunset.

Playing off of yesterday’s post, try incorporating yesterday’s suggestions or work with some of these.

1. Write from the point of view of someone on the boat or on the island in the photo. Imagine they are eager for the sun to set. Why?

2. Write about the most dramatic sunset you’ve ever seen.

3. Write about waiting in relation to the sunset.

4. Sunsets are often symbols of conclusion or contentment.  Try writing a piece in which a sunset conjures up opposite feelings, perhaps of new beginnings, agitation, or anticipation.

 

Day Break

For Wednesday, August 6

IMG_2632

Write a poem or flash fiction piece that includes a sunrise.

Suggestions:

1. If there’s a person involved, write about their interior state of mind.

2. Write about the most dramatic sunrise you’ve ever seen.

3. Write about waiting in relation to a sunrise.

4. Sunrises are often signs of hope or renewal. Try writing a piece in which a sunrise conjures up opposite feelings, perhaps of frustration, disappointment, or despair.

 

Animal Tendencies

Tuesday, July 27, 2014  •  Prompt #86

tapir

 

Write a poem or flash fiction piece inspired by a vintage illustration of an animal. Click here for illustrations or look for prints at a used book shop or library.

 

 

Suggestions

  • Use specific, concrete details.
  • Capture a moment in time.
  • As (almost) always, use sensory details.

More Writing Options

  • Try shifting perspective once or twice within the work.
  • Write the piece as a traditional ode.
  • Write as if you are someone who has never seen this animal before.

 

bear2

Here’s a piece I wrote influenced by both a bear safety pamphlet and this bear illustration.

 

Ursus

Honey,
bears eat
twigs bugs fruit insects fish carrion.
Small mammals.

Stay close.

Look for these signs:
turned stones
disruption
of decayed logs stumps and berry patches.
Tooth and claw high on trees.

She is not far off.

Honey,
bears do not go
into true hibernation.
Sleep is not deep
body
temperature only
a few degrees
below

Torpor
in caves, crevices,
fallen trees.

Den with me.

 

© Ellen Orleans 2012

 

 

 

 

A Giant Leap

Sunday, July 20, 2014  •  Prompt #77

moon

 

Today marks the 45th anniversary of the moon landing.

 

 

 

Today’s Prompt:
If you are old enough to remember, write about where you were when Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

  • Describe where you watched or listened to the landing.
  • Who was with you?
  • What emotions did you experience?

Write for 15 minutes.

Additional Writings

  • Choose one of the following words as your springboard. Write for 15 minutes. Man on the Moon. Half-Moon Bay. Blue Moon. Moonpie. Moonlighting. Honeymoon. Moonshine.
  • Write a 200-word fable that features two animals and the moon.

Writing Group Variations

  1. Gather in an area away from city lights with a good view of the moon.  (Consult a moonrise calendar.)
  2. Look at the moon through binoculars and a telescope. Look carefully.
  3. Take notes.
  4. Move to an indoor area and write your observations.
  5. Did anything surprise you? Do you feel an emotional connection to the moon?

 

City Sidewalks

For Wednesday, July 16, 2014  Prompt #73

 

IMG_2338

 
Write about an encounter on a city street.

Writing Tips:

  • This can be an encounter between two people, a person and a sign,  an older person and a toddler, three dogs, or some other combination.
  • Balance observation, description, and dialogue.
  • Write for 15 minutes.

Book Suggestion: Alfred Kazin’s A Walker in the City.