Prompt for April 1 – Virtual Didier Dumas

Like a House

I credit this one to Alice Munro, who said that story is “not like a road to follow,” but “more like a house.”

Use the visualization below to inspire your work in any form (poetry or prose; fiction of any genre; creative nonfiction, essay, or memoir).

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The Visualization

You can imagine any house—any type of building, really. Maybe it fits in with a story or poem you’re developing, or maybe it’s a place that offers comfort and ease, an ideal home. Or if online tools are your thing, you might enjoy entering a random address in Google Maps and using Street View to explore any building that gets your attention, as recommended today at “The Time is Now” on

You approach the house on foot. (Visualize and jot down, if you’d like to, the details of the landscape—and perhaps the landscaping, as you draw closer to the place.)

Try the front door. If it seems forbidding or if you feel intrusive going in the front door, try a back door. Unless you are a thief (no judgment from me!), this is a place to which you are entitled entry, so some door will be open to you.

You know what room you’re seeking. Get there. (Keep track of the details you notice along the way—consciously placed or forgotten items along the hallway or the stairwell, for instance.)

On your way to the room, you may get impressions of the things that have happened in the room, in the building, in the surrounding world.

There’s a significant item in that room. (Only you know what it is.)

Explore what you’ve found through poetry or prose.