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Busted! But Officer, I was Having an Epiphany [Writing Prompt #217]

I was driving home from work when I suddenly and completely understood the mother of one of my characters. “Siri, take a note.” Bing.

I told my phone what she wore, the color of her bedspread, the pots and pans piling up in her kitchen sink. A fictional character was speaking to me. She was there right on Forest Avenue and I was lucky because I captured our ‘conversation’ with my voice recognition software. I didn’t even pause to breathe because pauses make Siri stop and save. I didn’t want to stop the thought or stop driving because I was having a full-blown epiphany! I was ecstatic!

Behind me, there was a Nassau County police officer.  My phone was in my hand. But I was not “talking on a cell phone.” I wouldn’t do that. It’s dangerous. I tell my kids how it is dangerous. People die from distracted driving. Could it be that I was breaking the law? Yep. $218 and 5 points on my license.

I didn’t know that talking...

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Mothers, Mothering, and The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe [Writing Prompt #250]

Some of the best mothers I have ever known never gave birth. One is an artist who plays with legos and crayons on the floor at dinner parties with the host’s children. Another is a teacher who has raised thousands of children over her long career and now goes to her former student’s weddings.

There are some mothers who have many children but like the old women who lived in a shoe, these moms are totally overwhelmed. And there are the super organized mothers (they wouldn’t dare raise their children inside a boot!) who make it look easy, but that doesn’t mean it is.

Most of us, myself included, fall somewhere in between. No shoe. No every-project-my-child-does-in-school-is-stored-in-a-filing-cabinet either. I’m super proud of my two kids who are well into college and almost out into the world, but don’t take one day or even one minute for granted. Being a mother taught me how fast, scary, crazy, unpredictable, and wonderful life can be.

So…...

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What Happened on the Roof? [Writing-Yoga Writing Prompt #223]

While standing on a line to a midtown diner in New York City (don't ask), I overheard a visitor from the South say, “Imagine if this was always your view of the sky?” She looked up, tried to find the horizon, but without it, she felt lost.  And I felt like I had been missing something my entire life. 

Maybe this is the reason we seek rooftops. That extra bit of sky, horizon, and light makes us feel a little less bemused.

A rooftop view is powerful. You are above it all. The worries are down below.

A rooftop is an ending. It is completion. It is the furthest a human can go in any one particular space of land before meeting the stars.

When was the last time you climbed up to the roof? Were you a teenager sitting on the shingles of a friend’s house? Did you race to the top of an abandoned building? Were you drinking a martini at a swanky rooftop bar?

How does it feel to be on top of the world? What discoveries can be made when it’s just you and the...

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Is the Torch Really Lit? A Writing Prompt on Labor Day

You have a better chance of visiting the Statue of Liberty if you DON’T live in New York than if you do. This post goes out to all the New Yorkers who can’t find time to visit and for rest of the world who is fascinated by the green lady with a very tired arm.

Zoom in to the fire. It’s copper, and covered with 24K gold that reflects the rays of the sun, but can’t you see it flicker? Can’t you smell it burn?

Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor….

 

Thank you, Emma Lazarus. Now, it’s your turn to explore:

* What’s your torch?
* What do you carry around and wave for others to follow?
* Can you hold still and let the light find you?
* Who looks up to you?
* What responsibility does it hold?

Maybe you want to tell Lady...

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Can You Laugh at Yourself? You are not going to believe what I did!!! [Writing Prompt # 232]

Running late! I decide at the last minute that the black pumps might not be so comfortable for walking around the city. I change shoes and head out the door.  I pick up my friends for our last minute plan to see my musician husband play a private concert in the Gramercy Park area of Manhattan. It will be a major event. I feel dressed up (even though I need to put a little make-up on when I get on the train) and am looking forward to music and an elegant dinner.

We get to the train station just in time. I’m putting money in the muni-meter and my friend says, “Stefanie, you’re wearing two different boots!”

What? I look down. Yep, I’m wearing two different boots!  If I go home, I’ll be late. If I stop at a store to quickly buy a pair of shoes, I’ll be late. So here’s what I do: I give up all my perfectionist instincts and pose for a picture.

Clearly I need to 1) be more mindful  2) organize my closet and 3) change my...

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Get Ready to Meet Your Uninvited Shadow - A Writing Prompt

Today, as you sit to write, pull up an extra chair. Welcome your shadow. Good morning, shadow. I don’t like you. I don’t like what you say in public. I don’t like what you hide in private. I detest your habits, mannerisms, biting sarcastic tongue.

Look at the way it makes itself at home, slurps your tea and devours your lunch. What nerve! Your shadow will chew with its mouth open and spit all over your keyboard. It will make you angry. Hold it. Pause. Can you use that feeling (whatever ‘that feeling’ is) to generate a scene?  Which story or poem of yours wants to meet the slob hogging up your chair?  Name it. Write it. Now.

 

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