Prompt for January 29 – Virtual Barat House

You do not know how much there is in the hedges.

The line is from The Life of the Fields by Richard Jeffries, published in 1884.

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

Log into our virtual meeting at 1pm for readings and discussion.

Notes on the prompt

Admittedly, I don’t read a lot of 19th century literature on English country landscaping. This quote and citation came from a Goodreads search of “hedge.”

“Hedge” is also sometimes used as a literary term, apart from its colloquial use. The Cambridge Dictionary characterizes hedge words and phrases as a necessary part of polite conversation. See also, though, this cautionary blog post by Jane Friedman against using hedge words (and inflation words) in your writing.

Prompt for January 27 – Virtual Didier Dumas

Dear friend (or otherwise)

Although the holidays are traditionally the time of year to reconnect with friends, family, and acquaintances, the reflective quiet of late winter often prompts me to reach out across “that burning bridge,” as Michelle Shocked called it. Epistolary stories and poems—creative writing based upon letter-writing—bring immediacy, intimacy, and depth to setting and narrative voice, whether the intended recipient is the narrator’s beloved or otherwise.

Imagine a letter or a correspondence in which one person wants something from the other.

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

Join our virtual meeting at 8pm for readings and discussion.

Prompt for January 22 – Virtual Barat House

It just wants love

Make a list of images that represent fears (a creepy doll, for instance). As you imagine encountering one of those images (the creepy doll comes to life . . .), also imagine embodying the image that inspires fear (be the doll!).

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

Log into our virtual meeting at 1pm for readings and discussion.

A note about the prompt

This is from Craft in the Real World: Rethinking Fiction Writing and Workshopping by Matthew Salesses (Catapult 2021). Salesses offers an exercise on voice through reflection on what we fear, and on how we inspire fear. He provides a personal example of his fear of dolls, imagining “a doll that comes to life and just wants love—but creepily.”

Prompt for January 20 – Virtual Didier Dumas

The First Day

It seems appropriate to post the prompt early today. We’ve offered this prompt a few times over the last four years, to mark new school years, the beginning of summer, or transitions to new spaces for the writing circle.

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

Join our virtual meeting at 8pm for readings and discussion.

Prompt for January 15 – Virtual Barat House

Thaw

In New York, it might seem a little early for this image as a prompt. Then again, maybe in the world climate context, it’s timeless.

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

Log into our virtual meeting at 1pm for readings and discussion.

A note to those joining for the first time this week

The blog contains dozens of prompts, posted over the last several months. Please feel free to use any of them—or no prompt at all, if you are burning with inspiration from elsewhere.

Prompt for January 13 – Virtual Didier Dumas

We do not dream alone

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

Join our virtual meeting at 8pm for readings and discussion.

A note on the prompt

This is the title of the Asia Society Triennial current exhibit, at the Asia Society through June 27, part I of a yearlong series of events. The title was inspired by a line from Yoko Ono’s 1964 publication, Grapefruit—“A dream you dream alone may be a dream, but a dream two people dream together is a reality.” See the artistic statement here.

Prompt for January 8 – Virtual Barat House

A list of further possibilities

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

Log into our virtual meeting at 1pm for readings and discussion.

A note on the prompt

An excerpt from the title When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities by Chen Chen (BOA Editions 2017), via a prompt by @poetrywithemily on Twitter.

No Prompt for January 6

Folks, Donna here. Prompts fail me today. I wish you the serenity to be able to write in good health, if you plan on writing tonight. For anyone who would like to gather in the Zoom room, I will open it at 8pm.