Inspired to write

courtesy of pixabay4I’ve been moderating the Markham Village Writers’ group for the past fifteen years, and I can tell you that there’s no better way to be inspired than by listening to a group of your fellow writers as they read their work aloud and share feedback.

During the last fifteen minutes of our meetings, I throw out a prompt and everybody free writes until end of meeting. We don’t have to share what we’ve written—it’s just a little exercise to challenge the writing juices.

courtesy of Pixabay2The prompt that I assigned at our May meeting is below in case you’d like to try your hand at some free writing. There are no rules. Write whatever comes to mind. It can be one sentence, a paragraph or ten pages. You’re the boss. Once you get going, who knows what may happen?

Here’s the prompt: Write about a lie you told as a child, or that your character told.

This is what I wrote:


When mother asked where the money went,
When father found his fender bent,
When brother’s wallet disappeared,
When sister claimed that she was scared
to leave her room unlocked…

How shocked!
when they confronted me,
with blame-filled eyes that used to see
an angel boy, a stand-up guy;

To tell the truth, it made me cry.

Me? Steal from you? Or hurt a fly?
Me tell a lie?
Oh, no. Not I.

Ah, but their scorn. Their slurs! So in return,
I gave them good the truth they yearned.

Their ashes fill a lovely urn.
I watched them burn.

So obvious—I wonder why
they took so long to see that I’m

a psychopath. Of course I lie!
courtesy of pixabay3(Photos courtesy of


Another year, another promise to self

It’s 2015. Already.

It seems like only yesterday, humankind scurried to prepare for the ominous approach of December 31, 1999…panic loomed as computers worldwide were expected to self-destruct at the stroke of midnight—the launch of a new millennium—sending civilization spiraling backward to such cobwebbed practices as having to write longhand with a pen (which sure beats having to chisel out your novel in stone like our poor cave-bro writing kin had to).

Well, whaddayaknow? 2000 came. And then it went. Our beloved computers had the last laugh as we wiped the sweat from our brows. Now here we are 15 years later, still happily tapping away at our keyboards and storing our stuff on TB instead of GB. (MB? What’s that?)

Where has the time gone? And what have I accomplished? Um…

Rather than sitting here, beating myself over the head because I’ve allowed another decade-and-a-half to slip by without launching my New York Times best-selling series of novels, I’ll do something a little more constructive. I’m not going to yada yada yada about New Year’s resolutions either. We all know by now exactly what we have to do to achieve our goals.

Instead, I’d like to take this moment to agitate the creative fire that boils deep down inside the right portion of our brains like molten lava, just waiting for permission to explode from our minds and onto a publisher’s desk.

Your imagination is the lava—“what if?” is the earthquake. Just think about an everyday event in your life and shake it up with a “what if?”

…It’s the week before Christmas. Your decorations are up, your shopping is done, and you’ve just settled down on the couch with a carton of eggnog and the TV remote all to yourself for the first time in ages. Spouse is away on business; kids are at the mall (it took a whole fifty bucks to get rid of them)…(what if?)…a huge puff of soot suddenly belches from your fireplace and a big old fat man in red velour tights kerplunks onto your clean hardwood floor?

…Your cat climbs onto your lap and as you stroke its fur and chit chat to it in your high-pitched “cat-talk” voice, he turns his head and…(what if?)…he stares you in the eye and replies in the Queen’s English?

…You’re parking your car. You’ve never been that great at backing into a space. Maybe that’s why you’ve just heard a scary crunching noise. Uh oh. A cute little foreign sports car is now affixed to your back bumper. You stumble out of your car and the other driver’s door swings open at the same time…(what if?)…OMG! It’s Ryan Gosling!

Get my drift? Good. Now get writing! (Or get doing whatever your “someday I’m going to” might be.)

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