Guarding Something Precious: NYC Coalition Writing Prompt

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My core is precious stone. It’s not hard and indestructible like diamond, it is softer like rainbow moonstone. She flashes iridescent light if looked at just right, that is, if I allow you to see her.

My core is guarded by a seven-headed dragon of blue flame. The dragon encircles her and works hard to protect her preciousness from outside influences. When attacked the dragon releases a fire 2000 times hotter than volcanic magma. It takes its job seriously. Sometimes the dragon relaxes and allows her to play on these pages. She can flit and flutter on the spaces between the lines. The dragon adores the stories she tells, the poems she creates. Her whispered creations soothe the dragon’s blue flames to a golden simmer.

My core kisses her protector gently like the wind a butterfly’s wings create as it moves from flower to flower. She is sweet, my core, and mostly innocent. She harbors within an immense sadness for humanity, the environment, the world, and herself. The dragon keeps her warm and gives her someone to talk to about the injustices she witnesses and the sadness she harbors. The dragon listens and guards against any slights similar to those she speaks of. They live in tandem, my core and the dragon, and love one another fiercely.

Seen A Shooting Star Tonight: A Gotham Writers Prompt

That night I seen a shooting star and I did what one must do. I made a wish.

It was a clear night. The sky was the deepest and darkest blue. The stars were everywhere. They were big, and close. They resembled diamonds.

I had just arrived at the farmhouse, where my writing buddies and I were staying for a writing/reading retreat. It felt good to be away from city noise, but at the same time it was a bit eerie. Being a city girl where noise is constant, the quiet was thick and palpable. There was a sense of peace. No sirens wailing. No traffic or horns honking. No people talking.

The farmhouse was n the background with soft light glowing from the floor to ceiling windows. As the night deepened, it seemed to wrap the house in a cozy blanket. One thing I have learned about rural areas is how deep the night is, with no streetlights or background noise, only the songs of insects and tree frogs.

I remember the crackle of the fire and how soothing it was. When I returned home from the retreat, my significant other and I went to Target and purchased Woodwick candles. When the house if quiet and the music is low, the flames crackle like that fire in the fireplace at the farmhouse.

As I lay in his arms, naked, listening to his breath, I am returned to that farmhouse. I remember the dazzling stars in the sky, so vivid they looked as if they could be plucked from the sky and placed in a pocket. I am returned to the deep quiet of the night and the shooting star. I remember my wish and as I lay in my lover’s arms I know it has come true.

You First: A Gotham Writers Prompt

“I dare you!” one child said.

“No! I dare you!!” said another.

“No you go first!!

“No you go!!

“Let’s go together.”

“I don’t want to go at all!”

This was the game the children would play when they passed by the dilapidated blue framed house. The wood porch sagged on one side, like a lop-sided grin. It was missing most of its steps. It was a snaggle-toothed porch. The house’s windows were boarded up and those on the second floor were open. Tattered curtains, weathered yellow from the sun, flapped whenever the crisp October wind blew. One of the curtains flicked slightly, seeming to hide someone peeking out.

“That’s the scary house,” the children would whisper.

There had been stories told about the house. Tales about murder. Tales about death. The children would pass and dare one another to walk up to the porch and touch it. That is how the game began. As time wore on, the children began to dare one another to not only touch the porch, but to climb the snaggled-toothed stairs and knock on the door.

There was a new girl in the neighborhood. A little black girl. She was a sienna brown and wore her hair in two braids alongside her head. She was seven and being the new girl, had no friends. She walked to her new school with the other children, but she followed behind. She listened to them laugh and talk and dare. She would stop at the house and look at it. She took in its lopsided snaggle-toothed grin. She felt sad for the house and would stand there a minute or two longer than the other children, then she would turn and walk quickly to catch up with them.

She wondered what she would do if anyone dared her to touch it. She knew children could be mean and would probably dare her to go even further, up the steps, over the porch and into the house. Into the house. She shivered. She hoped they would never dare her.

Scaling Back: A Gotham Writers’ Prompt

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I need to scale back on book buying. I have a library, over 1500 books I’m almost sure. Eleven bookcases total. Their shelves over-flowing. I’ve always been a reader, always loved buying books. I am a book hoarder. If someone asks to borrow a book, I get anxiety. I don’t like that. I prefer if a person does not ask to borrow. I prefer people to come and admire. People who want to come by to sit and discuss all things books.

I believe my hoarding began when Borders went out of business. It was my favorite bookstore. Then I heard or read somewhere bound books would become obsolete because of the Kindle and Nook devices. I believe that sent my butt into overdrive and now…now I need to scale back. I just don’t have the space. If I don’t scale back on book buying I will need a mansion with its own library. Floor to ceiling bookcases, like those in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. They say in order to write, a writer must read and read a lot. I read but not as much as I would like. My goal is to read every book I own. Every last one.

I read about the book collections of famous people, just to compare the number of books in their collection with mine. I learned Frederick Douglas owned over 4000 books. I wonder should that be my cutoff number? I forget which famous person had a collection of 9000 books. 9000! Now that’s a goal! But no! I have to tell myself NO!

I need to scale back.

Night Garden

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I dream of planting a flower garden but one that blooms by night. A garden filled with flowers that come alive under the moonlight.

I see myself sitting in a gazebo of chestnut wood with screen lined windows. It stands in the middle of my garden where the moonlight can shine upon it. The bench seats lined with soft cushions allow me to sit in comfort. A metal framed glass table in the middle holds a three wick candle. The flames illuminate the space with its flickering light. I have my notepad and pencil on my lap, as I sit cross-legged, listening to the sounds of nightfall.

I sit and admire my planted blossoms. The pale petals of moonflowers, the fragrant scents of tuberose, gardenia and Japanese wisteria. I sit still and try not to worry about time. I allow myself to be immersed in the colors and fragrance of my nocturnal garden. I await the arrival of the muse. I can hear her footsteps on the moonlit path. I pick up my pencil and reposition my notepad. The time has come to write.


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A fragment of myself is all I can show the world. Many think it’s me, happy go lucky, always smiling, beaming like the brightest star. It is only a fragment they see.

My whole self is a myriad of fragmented pieces, put together loosely. It’s an ill-fitting suit but the only one I have. This world is unsafe for people like me. My most intimate parts and my darkness hides behind a fragment of sunshine.

I have shown some of these fragments but always, always am told how disgusting, how unbecoming, how ugly they are. I tuck them back into the spaces I removed them from, but they don’t fit exactly the same. Somehow by exposing them to another and feeling the rejection, the fragments become misshapened. I reach within myself and pull out the one everyone likes, the fragment everyone appreciates.

It gets tired sometimes, always being the light, the cloak that renders all the other fragmented pieces of me invisible. It is the piece I must care for the most. I give it rest during the night while allowing the others to wander and howl and scream and cry, while that piece sleeps peacefully.

It puts on a good show when the curtain pulls back. It is there, beaming, a red, red rose between its teeth. “Oh I love you. I love you. Thank you. Thank you,” it says to its audience as it bows. A great performer, no one could know what hides behind that beaming light. Have you ever tried to see past the sun? It is a task no one can do, not without the aid of sunglasses or transition lenses.

Poetically Aloof

I’m as distant as the meaning of an obscure poem. People hang on my every word, even though, my words drip

with poisonous cynicism. I make them laugh as I flit from person to person, hovering, my nerves on edge, ready to strike

I am a murder hornet, searching for honeybees to decapitate. They fall into my hands unwittingly, caught up in my spell

of poetics. Similes and soliloquies keep them captivated. One would think I am friendly, the way they swarm

around me. I feel like a queen. Maleficient, draped in black, a raven resting on my shoulder. I shoo them away

with a flick of my wrist, swat them down like a fly swatter. The people are pests, surrounding me, bothering me with

their quibbling and smiles, begging me to speak, to lay upon them, sonnets and villanelles and sestinas of words

Words, words, words. If I could not speak I would surely die

I Will Listen

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I will listen as the rain pelts the metal awning outside my living room window. I will listen for the crows call on a foggy fall day with overcast gray skies. I will listen as the leaves dance in the wind. They crunch and scratch as they whirl in the street.

I will listen to the birds chirping at my mother’s feeders. I will listen as the wind howls on a cold blustery fall afternoon. I will listen for that one note in a song that sends delicious chills up my spine. I will listen as my dog barks at passersby on the sidewalk.

I will listen closely as day turns to night, as fall changes to winter, as rain turns to snow. I will listen. I will be still and I will listen.


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Doorways and open tree-lined paths and roads send my mind wandering. I’m lost in a myriad of possibilities. My mind’s eye takes me through the door.

I save pictures of doorways. Flower-covered or blocked by weeds, square or arched in multiple colors. I save pictures of tree-lined roads and paths. Paths covered in autumn leaves, snow or rain slick. If I open the door where would it take me? If I travel this road where will it lead me?

Closed doors or open doors beckon to me. Should I enter? Open roads, open dirt paths, should I explore them? My mind opens. Is this admiration for these images a subconscious longing? Do I wish to explore what my mind wants me to know? Do I wish to travel or does it mean something deeper? Are doorways and open roads my idea of being free?

I know seeing the images saved to my Pinterest page makes my mind soar. Seeing the images fills me with excitement, something akin to pure joy. Doorways and open roads and picturesque paths call out to me. My heart and mind scream in unison, “Let’s explore! Let’s see! Let’s notice! Let’s explore!”

Noticing: A Writing Prompt

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We walk through life wrapped up in our heads, in our responsibilities, our expectations, our work, we don’t take the time to stop and notice. We don’t notice the lone blade of grass dancing in the wind or the way a maple leaf waves hello as the wind blows. We are too busy to notice the mourning doves scourging for loose bird seed or the squirrel fussing from a tree branch. We don’t notice the howl of a wintry wind or the craters in an October supermoon. We don’t notice the lavenders and pinks of the sky during a sunset. Nor the darkening of the sky and the awakening of the stars. We are all too busy with our plans, our to-do lists or private thoughts. I wonder would any of that matter if we took a minute or two to sit idle and notice the passing of time spent doing, doing, doing and not being.