welcome readers & writers! in this cyber space please find: + a photo writing prompt + a place to post your creative writing response (poem, memoir, short story or the like) to the prompt + a community of readers and fellow writers excited to read your writing + morsels of genuine fiction, poetry & creative non-fiction as the blog is updated. share a response as often as you'd like. everyday discoveries from my life, captured on film, will serve as prompts. this is not a place where we will critique one another's work; however, words of encouragement or praise for writers who share their work are most welcome. writers, share your story, poem or creative non-fiction response to the photo by clicking on comments; word count is flexible. cheers! demery

Saturday, July 31, 2010


happy saturday, everyone!  today's photo prompt is a little different.  it's still a photo, as you can see, one i took while hanging out the window of our minivan (the swagger wagon!).  said minivan was hovering just above the pavement with its speedometer reading a tiny, minuscule smidgen under 84 miles/hr. (if my mom is reading, no worries!  that's a mere nine miles over the posted limit).  i guess my husband was kind of desperate to "get there" after twelve and a half hours in the car with three kids and a wife like me.  can't say i blame him. 
anyway, i've been thinking about this empty billboard just basking there in the sunshine, waiting patiently to be designed.  if it was yours, what would you advertise?  let's challenge ourselves and limit our word count today - describing only what could actually fit on a billboard (and still be read by a crazy woman hanging out of a speeding minivan with her camera).  wind in her hair, bugs in her teeth.  paint us a word picture of your very own billboard by clicking on comments below.  here's mine:

The Artwork:  a photo of a brilliant sunset streaming with rays of light covers the board.
 On the left side cartoon kid Alexander* holds up a clear glass bottle
filled with some kind of swirly, golden substance.
He is grinning from ear to ear.

The Text:  
Sunshine in a Bottle
for those Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Days
taste it!  smell it!  wash your hair, dishes or dog with it!
just 25 cents in your grocer's produce isle

(*from the children's book Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz - both of whom, in my fantasy billboard design world, have given their wholehearted endorsement of my miraculous new product.) 

can't wait to read your billboards.  and, since it's the weekend and all, feel free to write a response to any of this week's photo prompts if you didn't get a chance before.  i'll be so glad to read and publish for you.

Friday, July 30, 2010


hello writers & readers.  this  first week of blogging has been a kick.  thank you for writing with me - i love reading your work!  as always, many thanks to our readers for making what we do real.
today's photo prompt may be familiar to anyone who's queried agents or publishers.  rejection is a fact of life for writers, and sometimes it feels impossible just to get your stuff read before the word "no" appears in the old inbox.  the publishing world works in such a way that you often hear that "no" based solely on your idea, meaning that your actual book (or even part of it) is not read before being dismissed.  so here's my fantasy about what it would be like to get someone with power to just actually read my novel, beginning to end, before making a decision:

Any novelist can tell you about the importance of an elevator pitch.  It's that jazzy, one sentence pitch that must be spit polished and ready at any moment in case you have the good fortune of stepping onto an elevator with a high profile literary agent.  Here's how it went down for me.  Literally.  Last summer, at a writers' conference, in the clear glass elevator of a hotel and conference center, I caught my big break.  I'd been riding the elevator up and down for an hour and a half in hopes of having a literal elevator pitch moment with as many agents as possible.  Original, right?  As I pressed the down button one last time, he put his hand in the door and stepped in.  It was THE agent I'd been hoping to meet; the agent who represents not one - but two - of my favorite novelists, writers whose style I try most to emulate.
I make a little joke about elevator pitches, then bleat out a little laugh.  He nods, checks his watch, and smiles a, well, tolerant smile.  I suppose he's comforting himself with the fact that the ride will soon be over and how my pitch will just melt quietly away into the pool of words shared with him by with the other three hundred and seventeen conference attendees he's heard from this weekend.  I swallow hard and begin.  "When a budding home and gardens columnist gets the opportunity of a lifetime..."  Glancing up at him I see that his eyes are already glazed over.  I contemplate starting again, take two but with more enthusiasm and I'll try to look ten years younger and fifteen pounds thinner.  Then there's a jolt, the elevator stops, the emergency lighting kicks on and we look out to see that the lobby is dimly lit as well.  We are stuck.  Just the two of us (and a room service attendant with a rolling cart full of snacks and drinks).  The whole gaggle of aspiring writers in the lobby below are looking up at us, craning their necks to see who's inside.  When they figure it out they're going to hate me, every last one of them.  Even my writing group sisters will hate me, just for now, because I've got an agent trapped.  And I didn't even have to use duct tape.  He speaks not a word to me for the first two hours, but when his cell phone battery finally dies he mentions that his "team" reported that the whole city grid is down, that we'll be elevator-bound for the rest of the afternoon, maybe even through the night.  He turns to me and says, "Right.  What's your name again?"  I tell him.  "Do you have your novel with you?"  "Of course," I say.  "Read," he says, cracking open a Diet Coke and making himself comfortable on the floor.  I sit down beside him and read.  Eight  and a half hours later we emerge, me, the agent, and Stewart (the room service attendant).  The men are dabbing tears out of their eyes with the sleeves of their shirts.  Their faces are aglow with laughter and new insight.  And folks call my novel chick lit.  "You're in," says the agent, handing me his card. "Call me on Monday."
how about you?  spin us a little tale about rejection or success in writing or another of your pursuits.  submit your piece by clicking on comments below.  200(ish) words or less - i'm flexible.  enjoy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010


hooray for you writers who've posted your stories - i love reading what you've written!  glad to see some poets among us.  and none of us would be writers without readers, so many thanks to the folks out there who take a few minutes out of the day to read my posts and the stories submitted in the comments section.  write on!  and read on, friends. 
today's photo prompt speaks for itself.  the photo credit goes to my husband scott (though i did put my own little spin on it with cropping and color).  credit for the cool dishes goes to my brother and sister-in-law who hosted us on our vacation last week!  here's my word spin on the photo:

I gaze at him for the longest time, finally leaning over to smell his soft curls and kiss his sticky face over and again.  These days his two-toothed smile and apple cheeks make me want to take bites and eat him up, something I tell him often.  This makes him chortle even now, a throaty belly laugh so uninhibited and dappled with joy that tears puddle in my eyes.  I wipe at them and yawn, and sip my coffee.  In the waning hours of yesterday I baked this first birthday breakfast bread.  No complaints though; i covet the solitude of late hours and the chance to sink my hands into gluey dough and knead at it, like a contented kitten, as long as possible before it begins to toughen.  He's a honey bear, my Noah, and so today is for sweet treats.  No holds barred, cavities schmavities, today is about the sugar.  For breakfast, this double chocolate braided bread with juicy berries - of the straw, rasp, and blue varieties.  More fruit, and honeyed greek yogurt for lunch.  After his best dinner, buttered egg noodles and broccoli, we'll eat good old-fashioned cupcakes, decorated like bumblebees - with yellow frosting and chocolate Twizzlers - and tubby scoops of neapolitan ice cream (or Napolean as his big brother likes to say).  Sharing with neighbors big and small will sweeten the treat even more. And though my plate is empty - because Noah still thinks that food tastes better stolen by the chubby little fistful off of Mama's plate - my cup really is overflowing.

how about you?  take us (your readers... isn't that a wonderful phrase?!?) to the world created by your mind as you look at the photo.  200(ish) words or less.  just click on comments and we'll be glad to follow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


welcome followers!  and many thanks to my first posters, meghaloo and stacy, (and everyone else) for submitting such great responses to yesterday's writing prompt.  if you haven't had an opportunity to read the responses yet, go to the comments section of yesterday's post.
today's prompt is a photo of a building that caught my eye somewhere near the border of texas and new mexico last week.  my imagination says...

Listen, I know it’s a dump on the outside. Though I like whatcha did, messin' with the color like that.  Looks downright artistic.  Ha!  But let me tell you about it.  It’s like Genie's bottle, all crusty and dented on the outside, and a palace on the inside.  Or Snoopy’s doghouse – who ever thought it could be so nice?  Inside, my place is a dream.  Not because I've got a flat screen TV or a leather sectional or some fancy designer paint.  Can’t afford it.  Maybe never will on what I make at the diner across the street.  But it's mine and only mine.  And I'm gonna make sure it's always peaceful and quiet and spotless clean. Did I plan to live in daddy's stinky old gas station?  No.  But I didn't count on having a lazy drunk husband, either, did I?  With this baby in my belly, it's time to settle down.  Mama and Daddy are right next door to help.  And I'm fixing it up real nice. New rug, drapy white curtains, and my old cradle - all scrubbed up - with a sweet little pink blanket tucked inside.  I'm ready.  No really, I'm ready.
what does your imagination say in response to this photo writing prompt? submit your story in the comments section below (200(ish) words or less) -- i'm excited to read your take on it!  also, feel free to submit a response to yesterday's prompt if you didn't have a chance.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


here's my take on today's prompt, a post-it i found on the ground at a gas station:

Everything about the note irked him.  The way she'd capitalized each word in the sentence.  The way she'd added the x's and o's to make it look cute.  There was nothing cute about the post-it, or her constant, incessant nagging.  Had she snuck outside while he was in the shower this morning? Or in the middle of the night after they'd called a truce and turned out the light, turning their backs on each other in the dark?  Either way it was obsessive, stalky almost.  He topped off the tank, closed the gas cap, rolled down the window, and pulled out onto the highway.  The note clung to the steering wheel, flapping madly in the wind for a second or two before flying out the window.  "Oops," he said.  And then he took a sip of his scalding hot coffee and turned up his music with a smile.

i'd love to read your response - submit it by clicking on comments below.