Describe a favorite toy from your childhood.
During the 2017 NaNoWriMo event in November, Writers in the Grove members offer these prompts to provide inspiration and incentive to keep you going during the self-competition to write 50,000 words in 30 days. You may find NaNoWriMo prompts from previous years and prompts from our weekly workshops.
Today’s NaNoWriMo prompt is:
The old letter caught my eye.
If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, or wish to, Writers in the Grove offers an extensive range of NaNoWriMo tips and techniques to help you through the month long writing project.
Do you remember the song “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music?
Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles
And warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
Cream colored ponies
And crisp apple strudels
Door bells and sleigh bells
And schnitzel with noodles
Wild geese that fly with the moon on their wings
These are a few of my favorite things
Try this writing experiment:
- Number a piece of paper from 1 – 25.
- Set the timer for 6 minutes.
- Now, make a list of your favorite things – exclude spouse and children.
When done with the list, look at which of the five senses are predominant. Taste of food? Smell of weather?
Be aware of how you remember things, and incorporate those descriptions into your writing, remembering to expand your favorite things to include all the senses, too.
The following prompt is from one of our Writers in the Grove members for our NaNoWriMo prompt-a-day project for November 2016.
Your prompt today could be done from your perspective or the perspective of your character(s).
When I smell [blank], I remember [blank].
Start filling in those blanks.
Check out our list of prompts for even more inspiration.
Then take me disappearin’ through the smoke rings of my mind
Down the foggy ruins of time, far past the frozen leaves
The haunted, frightened trees, out to the windy beach
Far from the twisted reach of crazy sorrow
Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
Let me forget about today until tomorrow.
The prompt this week was to write a memory from the first five years of life. It may be told from the perspective of the child or an adult’s view of the child’s experience.
The following is written by Writers in the Grove member, Patti Bond. She often shares her memories and memories with us.
There was a wildfire near my grandparents’ house this weekend. I heard them telling us to stay away from the fire. But there are too many memories in these homes.
The red house on street, number 2706, is where my dad lived with his three sisters, my Aunt Kathy, Aunt Gayle, and Aunt Marilyn. Unfortunately, or fortunately as the fire threatened, Aunt Marilyn is no longer with us. That’s not the only memory at risk from the fire. My mother grew up in Baker City, the place where her biological father left her with her mother alone, just the two of them.
My mother was very active in theater and drama, and she loved Rainbow Girls. She was also very smart, skipping the third grade as she grew up. She and her mother, Zelene, moved several times, finally meeting Herbert Kelly and marrying him, giving them a place to settle in Baker City. Dave and I spent many years traveling to these homes visiting grandparents. I can remember hearing Daddy say that as long as the grandparents were alive, we were going to Baker City for Christmas. Grandma Kelly would greet us upon arrival every time saying “I hope Old Man Winter would give us a break.”
There are just too many memories in the houses up there, near the fire. Many are pleading for access to their homes to collect their precious memories before the wildfire consumes them. So many legacies remain, and wilt in the hearts of the many people who’ve lived in those houses, including my family.
They say the fires were started by lightning, normal for eastern Oregon. If I had unlimited resources, I would work day and night to save the livelihood and memories of my family’s heritage.
Please Lord put out these fires. Protect our memories and legacy in Baker City.
April 20, 2015
The earth between my fingers
Dark loam that crumbles at the touch
Warmed by the spring sun
Just moist enough to dampen my knees.
Visitors in the form of potato bugs,
Worms, bees, and slugs
Come and go as I toil
Leaving mere bits of memories in the stillness.
I notice something in the breeze
That distracts me from my work
Makes me pause and I breathe in
As the lilacs begin to sing.
Inspired by the Prompt: Senses.
The following is one of the prompts created by members of Writers in the Grove in response to Prompt: Round-Robin Writing in a Group.
Cheri: The smell was familiar and touched a deep place in my heart. Why had I been so angry? Why was he? I am sure it was because of the kids, the unpaid bills, life, the usual suspects of marital discord. No one was talking, we were both just sitting there, angry. I didn’t want to be angry, but I wasn’t about to give in. I was right. Let him apologize. I could only assume he was thinking the same thing, which was getting us nowhere fast. As I sulked on the couch waiting for an apology, my mind wandered to an anecdote I had read a few weeks ago. The article asserted that whenever you are angry with the one you love, walk over and sniff them. The thought made me both laugh inside and smile. No way! I wanted nothing to do with him right now, but maybe…
Dorothy: …I was really angry with myself. Why did I ever love HIM? Why not someone else, anyone else. That darn smell. The smell is to blame. My anger was strong and protected me, but then…maybe I could smell him. Just walk over and lean down and smell him. NO, No! I would probably like the way he smelled. NO. STOP. Don’t let the anger go – it is the only thing protecting me – I need to be angry.
But I can’t. It cost me too much. I do love him. He is not my enemy. He is my friend, my lover. Surely we can work on this – yet there are so many things. Can we work together?
Bev: I’ll do it. Had to try it.
I got up, walked over to his chair, and leaned over his head. His arm went up in defense.
“What are you doing?”
I took a sniff. Hair gel mingled with after shave, and something else. What was that? Familiar, yet not. I stood back and looked him in the eye.
Susan: “I remember,” I said in a hushed tone. “I remember when…”
I saw the look in his eyes, the look of distrust. That was the same look that I had seen in the mirror last month, last week, and even this morning. The distrust that came from hopes and dreams that had been shattered, then scattered about as mere trash. All the memories came flooding back as I remembered his words saying he was moving on without me.
MJ: That meant that I would be all alone. He did not like me any more. He didn’t need me. Where do I go from here?
DK: There are times in life when one must love, and still leave. Remember the first, but walk away from the anger. A place deep in my heart told me this was one of those times.
Barry would always be my first love. That smell, or scent would always take me to a memory of better days and love and bright beginnings. But now, it was time to move on. To find other scents, and colors, and experiences.
I walked to the table, signed the divorce papers, and smiled. I looked into Barry’s deep blue eyes one last time.
“I love you,” I said as I walked out the door.
Lorelle: “And good riddance to bad rubbish,” I quoted the old Bugs Bunny cartoon to myself, then cringed. The relationship hadn’t been rubbish. There had been beautiful moments, memories of moments brought back by the scent of hair gel, burnt into darkness by the resentment in his eyes.
In the car, I gave that thought more consideration as I put the key in the ignition. Memories of joy triggered by hair gel? I started to laugh, hard. Gut tearing laughter. Mouth open, guffaws exploding out.
I put my hand over my mouth, then the laughter turned to sobs. Tears for hair gel. Not funny any more. I cried for the angry voices, the missed appointments, the mean things said behind people’s backs – those were the memories I hoped would be washed away with the tears.
The engine revved as I pressed too hard on the gas as the key turned. I had to leave now. It was now or never. Yet it was done. Finished. Time to leave.
It was final. I’d done it. A done deal. Time to get over it and get on with it. But get on with what? I wasn’t sure what I would move onto, but it was time. The act of putting the car into gear and stepping on the gas felt good, in control, confident. A wipe of my eyes cleared my vision. I let my foot off the brake and rolled down the driveway.
I had plenty to move on toward, I assured myself. Let’s start by turning left.