This Week’s Writing Prompts-Feb. 25-March 2, 2016

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Florida Retreatants at dinner

Daily Prompt #1

At the Florida retreat, Carmela Pedicini had a great idea for me: to give a daily prompt or inspiration on this site. Let’s see how many days in a row I can keep this going. Today is Day One:
“We lop away, that bearing boughs may live.” William Shakespeare. Take that, editors!

Daily prompt #2
Study your pet, or some other animal, and take a moment to really see them, as if you were drawing them. Try to see the soul of the animal. Write the portrait.

Daily prompt #3
From all the spaces between times,
from all the gaps in soldiers’ ranks,
from cracks in the wall,
from doors we did not close tight,
from hands we did not hold,
from the distance between body and body
when we didn’t come close to each other––
the great sprawling expanse adds up,
the plain, the desert,
where our souls will walk, hopeless, after death.
-Yehuda Amichai

Daily Prompt #4
“The religious traditions were in unanimous agreement. The one and only test of a valid religious idea, doctrinal statement, spiritual experience, or devotional practice was that it must lead directly to practical compassion. If your understanding of the divine made you kinder, more empathetic, and impelled you to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving-kindness, this was good theology. But if your notion of God made you unkind, belligerent, cruel, or self-righteous, or if it led you to kill in God’s name, it was bad theology. Compassion was the litmus test.”

-Karen Armstrong, The Spiral Staircase

Daily prompt #5

Apply “bum glue.” Right now: whip out your pen and write down ten thing you or one of your characters) love(s).

Daily Prompt #6
“The workers, both men and women, seemed to be enveloped in a bitter indifference; even when they laughed or shouted insults they seemed remote from their very laughter, from their voices, from the swill they handled, from the bad smell.”–Elena Ferrante, The Story of a New Name, p. 461.

Daily Prompt #7
How to Prepare the Mind for Lightning
Brynn Saito

In the recesses of the woman’s mind
there is a warehouse. The warehouse
is covered with wisteria. The wisteria wonders

what it is doing in the mind of the woman.
The woman wonders too.
The river is raw tonight. The river is a calling

aching with want. The woman walks towards it
her arms unimpaired and coated
with moonlight. The wisteria wants the river.

It also wants the warehouse in the mind
of the woman, wants to remain in the ruins
though water is another kind of original ruin

determined in its structure and unpredictable.
The woman unlaces the light across her body.
She wades through the river while the twining
wisteria

bleeds from her mouth, her eyes, her wrist-veins,
her heart valve, her heart. The garden again
overgrows the body—called by the water

and carried by the woman to the wanting river.
When she bleeds the wisteria, the warehouse
in her mind is free and empty and the source

of all emptiness. It is free to house the night sky.
It is free like the woman to hold nothing
but the boundless, empty, unimaginable dark.

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