There were two prompt choices offered for this weeks meeting.

1) Write a haiku on the following subject: Your first day of high school.
The form involves a total of 17 syllables in a verse of three lines that has the structure 5-7-5.

2) Write about something that involved a significant change in size (of whatever), that was significant to your life.




The prompt for this week’s meeting is a poem titled The Refugees, taken from the book, Kneeling in Bethlehem, by Ann Weems.

The Refugees

Into the wild and painful cold of the starless winter night
came the refugees,
slowly making their way to the border.
The man, stooped from age or anxiety,
hurried his small family through the wind.
Bearded and dark, his skin rough and cracked from the cold,
his frame looming large in spite of the slumped shoulders:
He looked like a man who could take care of whatever
came at them
from the dark.
Unless, of course, there were too many of them.
One man he could handle…two, even …,
but a border patrol…
they wouldn’t have a chance.
His eyes, black and alert,
darted from side to side, then over his shoulder,
then back again forward.
Had they been seen?
Had they been heard?
Every rustle of wind, every sigh from the child,
sent terror through his chest.
Was this the way?
Even the stars had been unkind–
had hidden themselves in the ink of night
so that the man could not read their way.
Only the wind …. was it enough?
Only the wind and his innate sense of direction …
What kind of cruel judgment would that be,
to wander in circles through the night?
Or to safely make their way to the border
only to find the authorities waiting for them?
He glanced at the young woman, his bride.
No more than a child herself,
she nuzzled their newborn, kissing his neck.
She looked up, caught his eye, and smiled.
Oh, how the homelessness had taken its toll on her!
Her eyes were red, her young face lined,
her lovely hair matted from inattention,
her clothes stained from milk and baby,
her hands chapped from the raw wind of winter.
She’d hardly had time to recover from childbirth
when word had come that they were hunted,
and they fled with only a little bread,
the remaining wine,
and a very small portion of cheese.
Suddenly, the child began to make small noises.
The man drew his breath in sharply;
the woman quietly put the child to breast.
Fear… long dread-filled moments…
Huddled, the family stood still in the long silence.
At last the man breathed deeply again,
reassured they had not been heard.
And into the night continued
Mary and Joseph and the Babe.



The two prompts given today were taken from the book MosaicNew and Collected Poems, by Robin White Turtle Lysne.

1) This is the first stanza from the poem, Finding Each Other.
Consider the way streams, people or ideas can flow together.

How can I speak
about the way two streams
fall from the same mountain,
meet, mix and flow together.

2) This is the poem titled, Ashes.

We threw them into the salty sea and wind,
her tiny bones clung to my socks, my shoes
I could not, would not shake them off.

We turned back from the sea,
from the waves,
from the eternal night.

We pressed our palms
to the wind, blowing us into
horizontal sea spume.

Her heart floats between
stars somewhere,
mine remains in the raging sea,

yours in the eternal night.
Her bones
are blue.



The following was inspired by the prompt, Quiet, and is by Writers in the Grove member, Anne Stackpole-Cuellar.

From Quiet

Whisper of dividing cells
The branching of capillaries
Rush of vein highways
Ringing of nerve circuitry
A duet of quick and slow
by central drumming hearts
The voices outside the womb
Near and far
Coming into clarity
The cries of change
And calming waves caress
A small but penetrating call
What makes this sound?
It feels like me.



What would you think if someone in a romantic situation asks the partner “What kind of books do you like?” and she answers “Checkbooks”.

How does conversation reveal a person’s intentions? In writing how do you indicate attitude via conversation only, without reference to things like body language? How would you reveal a character’s intention only through a letter they wrote?

The prompt is:

Write a letter and a response letter that tells the reader about your character.



The weekly meeting on Oct. 8, was led by visiting author Christina M. Abt.

She read an excerpt from her latest book Beauty and Grace, which is described on her website as:

Beauty and Grace is an intricately-woven work of historical fiction telling the stories of women and men institutionalized in asylums for reasons far beyond the bounds of acceptability. Readers will experience the journey of 15 individuals forced to spend their lives locked away, often under inhumane conditions, and the triumphant human spirits of those who endured and survived. While the background story of Beauty and Grace is historically accurate, the characters are fictional, including the main narrators, Teagan Cormick and Grace Reid. 

Her writing prompt for the group was the following:

If you were told that you were to be taken away and you could only bring with you what you could fit into a small suitcase, what would you choose to take?  (You can write from either a first person or third person perspective)


The prompt for the weekly meeting began with a reading from the book A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.

     For quite a while, Francie had been spelling out letters, sounding them and then putting the sounds together to mean a word. But one day, she looked at a page and the word “mouse” had instantaneous meaning. She looked at the word, and the picture of a gray mouse scampered through her mind. She looked further and when she saw “horse,” she heard him pawing the ground and saw the sun glint on his glossy coat. The word “running” hit her suddenly and she breathed hard as though running herself. The barrier between the individual sound of each letter and the whole meaning of the word was removed and the printed word meant a thing at one quick glance. She read a few pages rapidly and almost became ill with excitement. She wanted to shout it out. She could read! She could read!
     From that time on, the world was hers for the reading. She would never be lonely again, never miss the lack of intimate friends. Books became her friends and there was one for every mood. There was poetry for quiet companionship. There was adventure when she tired of quiet hours. There would be love stories when she came into adolescence and when she wanted to feel a closeness to someone she could read a biography. On that day when she first knew she could read, she made a vow to read one book a day as long as she lived.

The prompt is to write on a moment when you recognized the new world opened to you as a reader, or more generally on the importance of reading to you as a writer.


The prompt for the weekly meeting began with a reading from The Shape of Water novelization by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus.

When did department stores replace their overhead lights with supernovas? For how long has the binned fruit wept at its own beauty? At what point did baked goods begin sighing sugary sweets into a cloud that beaded upon her face like happy tears? When did shoppers, those disapproving ladies with bulky purses and rude carts, transform into women who smiled at her, insisted she go first, complimented her on her choices? Perhaps they’d seen what Elisa saw reflected in butcher counter glass: not a timid huncher hiding her throat scars, but a woman straight of back pointing out the cuts of fish and meat she wanted. Quite a lot of both, the butcher probably thought, but why not? Surely a woman like this had a hungry man waiting at home. And she did. Elsa laughs. She did.

The point of departure is to write from the idea that the change in you changes how other people interact with you.