Prompt for September 18 – Virtual Barat House

Love was changing the minds of pretenders

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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 12pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

A deeper dive into the prompt.

Prompt for September 16 – Virtual Didier Dumas

Shoulder Surfing

It’s a form of eavesdropping . . . Gleaning stories that are none of your business from an over-the-shoulder glimpse of another person’s phone screen.

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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 7pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

Thanks to Lithub for inspiring the prompt with “When I’m Telling a Story I Imagine the Eavesdropper Over My Shoulder,” a recent profile of author Walter Mosley.

Prompt for September 11 – Virtual Barat House

Hunger

I was surprised to find that a search of the term “hunger” offers up 31 pages of poetry and discussion on poets.org. Skimming the results, I’m reminded that hunger might be a call for social justice from inmates and teachers; it might portray emotional starvation. It’s a frequent word in recent headlines as Covid-19 disrupts supply lines. And I’m also reminded that it can be fed and satisfied.

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

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 12pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

Prompt for September 9 – Virtual Didier Dumas

In the Woodpile . . .

My dog thinks it’s a chipmunk, and it drives her bonkers. But my uncle used to say it was a copperhead. Might it be a basilisk? Who knows? 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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 7pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

Prompt for September 3 – Virtual Barat House

September Moon

In the Northern Hemisphere, September’s full moon marks the harvest season. (Pumpkin spice rises again!) Grand and pervasive as the harvest season is, though, the September moon rises over countless settings more varied and intimate. Imagine the September moon’s-eye view. 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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 12pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

Wednesday September 7 – Oops! Borrowing Prompt, Zoom link remains the same.

Please use the Prompt for August 28 – Virtual Barat House for tonight. The Link

Zoom meeting link for our 8pm meeting.

Thank you

David

Prompt for August 28 – Virtual Barat House

The city is different, because yesterday it was just a city, and today it is alive.

N.K. Jemisin, The City We Became

Awareness of belonging to a place, of a person’s inner life being one with the inner life of a place, or a place possessing a soul and a face as distinct as a person’s. 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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 12pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

A note on the prompt

In N.K. Jemisin’s vision for The City We Became, New York City is a singular organism with the boroughs personified by actual, distinct humans with characteristics unique to their respective places. Without giving too much away, the Manhattan is smooth and attractive in appearance, but in constant and tensely controlled psychological chaos. Brooklyn is a striking sort of queen, while Queens is not, but is remarkable in other unexpected ways reflecting New York City’s multi-faceted whole. The Bronx “don’t trust nobody but the Bronx.” And Staten Island is almost too isolated from the rest to feel a sense of belonging.

Prompt for August 26 – Virtual Didier Dumas

The Gut-Brain Axis

This is the scientific term for the “bidirectional link” between the mind and the digestion. But you may have experienced other links between the physical and non-physical aspects of life in a human body that go far beyond the brain and the stomach. It can be fun and illuminating to explore this in creative writing.

Visit these links to generate random emotions and body parts. You can just do one random item at a time, or generate a list of, say, 5 emotions and 5 body parts to choose from. (Match bliss with knees, for instance, or love with pinky.) 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.

If you prefer to post your work to our blog, visit Submittable after 7pm to upload your work. We will do our best to publish everything we receive.

Poetry by Steve Swank from our virtual circles

Place

The farm is a place,
the land is a place to be from,
earth sand, wind,
a buggy spills in the ditch.

The heat of summer,
the slog of fall,
common labor, heft, and haul
wipe the mind in daily routine.

Through the arching limbs of trees,
at night stars, a littler breeze
slopes down the shaded hill
through the kitchen door.

The troubles of man are clearly plain,
too numerous to ignore,
lost from view in the pouring rain
is the sign: kittens.

Save Your Breath

I
The prompt is like a box of chocolates,
save your breath—
save your breathe to cool the soup
a fox now guards the chicken coup.

II
A box of chocolates I did not buy
for valentines, I tell you why,
among the choices that seem so sweet
compared to you they can’t compete.

III
Unexpected, unique, quietly your smile
assured, elegant, content—the calm
of practice, and ready—honors the choices
that make you, you.

IV
I turn over the little stone,
gently lift the creature
living there that waits
my notice, my love

V
It was started with a meet-up ad,
the writers meet at Johnny Cakes,
a thousand cranes Tedo makes,
now look at all the fun we’ve had.

Prompt for August 21 – Virtual Carson McCullers House

Sometimes you just want to make something, and that something is made of beads, cardboard, artsy paper, and hot glue. Or sometimes it’s just made of words, thoughts, memories, hopes, and birdsong. The impulse nibbles at you until you do something.

I like this kaleidoscope craft idea, and I’ll probably make one this weekend with my daughter. In the meantime, we could write something about crafting. For today’s prompt use the steps and instructional mode of a craft how-to, and see where that leads you.

Tonight, we are joined by young writers from this summer’s Kaleidoscope Poetry Circle for a celebratory reading. Join us on Zoom at 7pm to listen, encourage, and share your own writing from today’s prompt.

This Friday evening salon takes a break indefinitely after today (waiting out the rest of the pandemic perhaps).