"This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender." —Jan Beatty

Writing Prompts



DailyPrompts 2015


“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness.” Write about an unexpected gift.


Snowbound? “I believe in this stalled magnificence…” Write about being trapped somewhere because of weather.


 “This inwardness, this ice.” Create art with ice as the central image or metaphor.


 Create art where a child understands its mother in a new way.


 Time Change? Missing hour? Create art about time lost.


 Mondays often feel the same. Create art beginning with “But today things would be different…”


“There is a voice inside the body.” Create art about a voice from the past. 


 “Emptiness only emptiness can see–” Create art inspired by a something discovered to be empty. 


 “If I were a nomad would I measure time by the length of a footstep?” Create art inspired by some kind of move. 


 “Consider the hands that write this letter.” Create art about an unopened letter.


 “Whenever it rains you will think of her”~Neil Gaiman  Create art where rain is memory. 


“The world begins at a kitchen table.”~Joy Harjo  Make art inspired by talk at a kitchen table.


 “With my hands in the dirt I am on good terms with everything.” Make art about growing something.


 “I walk through the long schoolroom questioning” Make art from a childhood memory.


 “When my body had forgotten its purpose” Make art about forgiving the body.


“I tell them those who build And master are the ones invariably Merry”~Liam Rector Make art about rebuilding. 


 “Nothing like returning to a place that remains unchanged”~Nelson Mandela Make art about something or someone returning. 


 “Bury your heart in some deep green hollow”~Charlotte Mew Make art where the color Green is a metaphor. 


 “History here emerges bone by bone”~May Miller Make art about bones, literal or metaphorical.


 “Music, when soft voices die, Vibrates in the memory”~Shelley Make art about music and memory.


 “I am stuffing your mouth with your promises”~Anne Sexton Make art about a promise kept or broken. 


 “Before we are born, everything is open”~Yehuda Amichai Make art about the tension between open and closed. 


 “Falling, you’re pressing your fingers against the sky”~Lesley Dauer  Create art about falling.


 “There, we measure shadows, search among ghostly errors of measurement”~Edwin Powell Hubble  Make art about measuring. 


 “We have discarded dreams,preferring the heavy industry of each other”~Mark Strand  Make art about a discarded dream. 


 “The Cherokee weaver dreams, two under, one over, color and shape in distant memory”~M. Carroll-Hackett  Make art with weaving as a metaphor. 


 “I eat the past, what we have been, and so eat god”~R.P. Blackmur  Make art about hunger and memory.


“The imperfect dancing in the beautiful dance.The dance most of all.”~Jack Gilbert  Create art about dancing.


“In April I will give my heart to anyone at all”~Frances Morrison  Make art about a time you gave your heart away


 “The wild eye, all day the dream will linger”~Karina Borowicz  Make art about a lingering image from a dream


 “The maps we make are always self-portraits” Make art about a map, or mapping. 


 “What did I dream? I dreamt I was the moon”~Alice Oswald Make art about a blood moon.


 *8 Rules for Ghosts:They’ll expect you at night, or at least at twilight. They don’t understand that you remember, and long for the heat of the sun, especially as it warms a field of bluebells.”~Mary Carroll-Hackett   Make art about an apparition


 “There’s nobody who’s more of a nuisance than a psychic child.”~Margaret Mead, American cultural anthropologist Make art about a child who’s different.


 “There is such grace in this reconciliation”~Susan Ludvigson  Make art about coming back together


 “This is the cathedral sea. In the upper air we are hungry.”~Michael Schmidt  Make art about hunger. 


 “In fog a tree steps back.”~William Stafford  Make art about fog as fear.


 “Not to burn half the house down and build half the house up”~Robin Ekiss   Make art about creation & destruction.


“Loss is less at first than after, no hour can contain it all”~Mabel Simpson  Make art about surviving loss. 


“Let’s not mourn what is not ours”~from a pome I wrote this morning 🙂 Make art about something that doesn’t belong to you. 


“Think my revel, my banquet, my tumult, my delight”~Angie Estes  Make art about risking delight. 


“She says,“I am content when wakened birds”~Wallace Stevens Make art with birds as the central metaphor.


“Silence more rich than ever was sound”~Harriet Monroe  Make art about what can be present in silence. 


 “Invite people to share in your miracle.”~Shannon Alder  Make art about collaboration. 


“But it suddenly came that I was the one who had been changed”~Raymond Souster Make art about transformation.


🙂 “We’ve taken the world apart but we have no idea what to do with the pieces.”~Chuck Palahniuk  Make art in multiple pieces, sections, fragments, something where the pieces create the whole. 


 “How often have I lain beneath rain on a strange roof, thinking of home.”~William Faulkner Make art about not having a home, about homelessness. 


“You find it when you’re tearing up your life”~Mary Ann Corbett  Make art about finding something unexpectedly.


 “A landscape for emotions, a biography of memory”~Anne Spollen Make art reinterpreting what a landscape is or can be.


“Consider the hands that write this letter”~ Aracelis Girmay Make art about the magic of hands.


“A child’s wisdom is wisdom still.”~Yiddish proverb  Make art about the wisdom of the young.


“The philosopher says, The soil is man’s intelligence”~Gary Soto Make art about soil, about miraculous miraculous dirt.


“This is what poems are…mercy for the greedy”~Anne Sexton  Make art exploring greed.


“We’d like to talk with you about fear they said”~Jody Gladding  Make art about someone imprisoned by his or her own fear.


“The surface glittered out of heart of light” ~T.S. Eliot Make art about surfaces, or surfacing.


“All they have is the pure impulse to eat”~Carol Muske-Dukes Make art about food, about preparing food, about sharing food.


 “I learned too late how to live”~Christian Wiman Make art about missed opportunity.


“Risk that there might be a last chance”~Robert Duncan  Make art about taking that profound risk.


“The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose.”~Walt Whitman  Make art about a journey of choice.


“Say you love the highway,the blacktop, and the bullet-riddled sign that reads Primitive Road”~Lucas Howell  Make art about the road.


If we can share our story with someone who responds with empathy and understanding, shame can’t survive.”~Brené Brown  Make art about shame, about feeling it, about sharing it, about overcoming it, about releasing it.


“Even sleep is a prayer”~Ilya Kaminsky  Make art about ordinary things as prayer.


“I hear the warm weather coming”~Ava Schicke  Make art with a change of season as the central metaphor.


 “We made this journey not in desire But thirst.”~Robert Fitzgerald  Make art about thirst.


  “For us there is only the trying”~T.S. Eliot  Make art about trying something new. 


 Yep. It’s that day.Make art redefining what it means to ‘mother.’ Let us see ‘mothering’ in some unexpected way.


“The thunderstorm came like a pot boiling over”~Katie Peterson Make art about thunder, or the sounds of a storm.


“At six o’clock we were waiting for coffee, waiting for coffee and the charitable crumb”~Elizabeth Bishop  Make art about those morning rituals.


 “To sleep: perchance to dream”~Shakespeare  Make art about the mysteries of sleep. 


“I tell them those who build And master are the ones invariably Merry”~Liam Rector Make art about building, the act of building, the process of building, about being a builder.


Be wild; that is how to clear the river.”~Clarissa Pinkola Estés Make art celebrating wildness.


Dreams are our only geography—our native land.”~Dejan Stojanovic Make art redefining, re-envisioning, geography.


“From people who fixed things themselves, never calling the man, never summoning the sixty-bucks-an-hour-ready-in-a-week guy, I learned to believe in repair”~Mary Carroll-Hackett   Make art about repair, the process of repairing.


DailyPrompt  “You can’t teach a man anything.You can only help him find it within himself.”~Galileo Galilei  Make art about teaching.


“I often think of a poem as a door that opens”~Minnie Bruce Pratt  Make art about doors.


 “Luck, like hope, is hollow-boned”~Eric Pankey  Make art about making your own luck. 


“a boot-beat that comes and goes, a line of prayer”~Joanna Klink   Make art about everyday acts as prayer.


 “I like the generosity of numbers. The way, for example, they are willing to count anything or anyone:”~Mary Cornish  Make art about numbers, or counting.


Better Late Than Never Daily Prompt 🙂 Thinkin on how much Choice plays a role in where we dwell 🙂 “I dwell in possibility”~Emily Dickinson  Make art about possibility.


“So many locks, not enough keys.”~Sarah Dessen Make art about locks, being locked in, locked out. 


“we are what light gazes on”~Dan Beachy-Quick Make art about something revealed by light.


When a stargirl cries, she sheds not tears but light”~Jerry Spinelli  Make art about tears as a gift.


 “For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers”~Hermann Hesse Make art about what we can learn from trees.


There is/no reasoning with need”~Claudia Rankine  Make art about need.


“One could grow as hungry for light as for food.”~Stephen King  Make art about feeding, or hunger.


“Touch has memory”~John Keats  Make art about touch. 


 “The gift was not in the roses but in the abundance of the roses”~John Ciardi  Make art about abundance. 


 “This window makes me feel like singing”~Harriet Staff Make art about windows, real or metaphorical.


“Come in, she said, I’ll give ya shelter from the storm”~Bob Dylan  Make art about shelter, seeking, taking, or offering shelter. 


“How you feel about any one thing at any given moment is a matter of perspective, the shortest distance…”~Carol Potter  Make art exploring ideas of distance.


“Must you learn everything the hard way?”~my mama 🙂  Make art about learning a lesson.


 “trying to decide who I am today by trying on something discarded”~Ira Sadoff  Make art about about something discarded. Or about a yard sale. I think there should be lots more yard sale poems. 


 “What am I in the eyes of most people–a nonentity,an eccentric?”~Van Gogh  Make art about eccentricity, about an eccentric.


“Is it only when you’re little you know tigers live in your closet— ?”~Diane Glancy Make art about what children know.


 “We live at the edge of the miraculous.”~Henry Miller  Make art about stepping over, going over, leaping off, the edge.


DailyPrompt “Late, late, so late! but we can enter still”~Alfred, Lord Tennyson  Make art about being late, lateness, too late?


“Where does such tenderness come from?”~Marina Tsvetaeva Make art about a moment of tenderness. 

6/12/ 2015

 “On the ground floor called “Beginnings”~Jeffrey Greene Make art about beginning, beginnings, beginning again. 


“A youngest brother turns seventeen with a click as good as a roar”~John Blair Make art about brothers, about brotherhood.


“it is the function of the poet…to provide images that relate the everyday to the eternal.”~Joseph Campbell Make art about the eternal.


“All the bright courage you never spent”~Marjorie Allen Seiffert  Make art about finding courage.


“The surviving mirror, this is the best picture of us”~Madeline Gleason Make art about mirrors, about reflection. 


 “As I ebb’d with the ocean of life”~Walt Whitman  Make art about drifting, about being adrift. 


 “We are waiting, grandmother and I, for the white bird.”~Christine Stewart  Make art about waiting. 


“Fragile like a child is fragile.”~Mary Jo Bang Make art about something fragile.


 “This time I came to the starting place”~Stephen Dunn  Make art about starting, about arriving at a new starting place. 


 (in honor of my daddy who, no matter what, chose joy)

“Savage and magisterial, the animal candor–the joy of it”~Alan Shapiro  Make art about joy. 


 “Green was the silence, wet was the light”~Pablo Neruda  Make art about the colors of summer.


Dreamt about fish, huge beautiful silver fish, about feeding people. So….

 “Red Fish-of-Bones, the Blue Fish, the White Fish, soft turning & yearning”~Charles Olson  Make art about fish, about fishing, about feeding.


 “In the end the heart turns on itself like hunger to a spoon”~Silvia Curbelo  Make art about the heart. 


 “Waking up begins with saying am and now”~Christopher Isherwood  Make art about waking, about awakening.


 🙂  Make art about sisters. ❤


 Love is the only thing that matters.  Make art about Love.


Grateful for all the opportunities to choose Love in this life.  Make art about gratitude.


Back from my quick trip. Make art about coming home. 


 “I thought there would be time, to live”~Jennifer Franklin  Make art about the illusion of time. 


 “I had come without a plan, empty-handed”~Fanny Howe  Make art about traveling without a plan. 


 “I know there is strength in the differences between us.I know there is comfort where we overlap”~Ani DiFranco  Make art about community.


“Not all who wander are lost.”~Tolkien  Make art about getting lost, being lost, wanting to be lost. 


“I give a piece quite near away,then another, one and two to three”~Lily Cao  Make art about giving. 


“Now love is blind. We move to find what we cannot see”~David Wagoner  Make art about blindness, about being blind or blinded.


“I learned to be a witness.”~Patricia Smith  Make art about witnessing, about being a witness.


 “I am age, I am later, I’m wider scope, the blue note”~Irene McKinney Make art about the music or colors of aging.


 “walking person who has sky flowing–by one who beside is as if”~Leslie Scalapino  Make art about walking, night walking, or walking at daybreak. 


Better Late Than Never Daily Prompt 🙂 Make art about things breaking down, about something not responding


 “no matter what the appearances, there always is a rebirth of delight, of feeling, of acknowledgment, of the spaciousness of glittery sunlight on the ocean”~Allen Ginsberg  Make art about rebirth. 

Catch-Up 🙂 Now that I have a working keyboard 🙂 


“As sometimes, in the gentler months, the sun will return”~Linda Gregerson    Make art with the sun as the central metaphor. 


Hours and hours today driving beautiful curvy mountain roads ❤ Make art about navigating challenging terrain. 


 Home to the garden ❤ “the ground like a made bed with its mulch of leaves, orderly, full of possibilities, acts of love not yet performed”~Minnie Bruce Pratt  Make art about a garden, about life as a garden, about what can be learned from a garden. 


 “A stone may be broken, but keeps its secrets well–does not mind the relic of feet”~Syd S. Salt  Make art about stones. 


 “for patience joins time to eternity”~Wendell Berry  Make art about patience, needing patience, finding patience. 


“Girl grown woman fire mother of fire/ I go to the stone street turning to fire”~Muriel Rukeyser Make art about fire, about burning.


  Make art about those who face adversity without bitterness, who meet it with quiet grace. 


LateNightDailyPrompt “Late, late, so late! but we can enter still”~Tennyson  Make art about those late dark hours.


 Dreamt a visit with my mama and beloved grandmothers. Make art about when the dead come to visit. 


 “How easily happiness begins by dicing onions”~William Matthews Make art about preparing food, about the preciousness of food.


 “Love’s balustrade, love’s balcony/a few iron words that can be seen anywhere”~Alexandria Peary  Make art about the architecture of Love. 


 “I had the idea of sitting still while others rushed by.”~Deborah Landau  Make art about stillness. 


 “Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”- Harriet van Horne Make art about cooking.


 “Are there any habitable exoplanets that can hear us?”~Wired  Make art about an extraterrestrial encounter.


 “Imagine you wake up with a second chance.”~Rita Dove  Make art about second chances. 


“In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation…”~The Constitution of the Iroquois Nation  

“Our greatest responsibility is to be good ancestors.”~Jonas Salk

Make art about generational responsibility.


I forgot to post a prompt. So make art about forgetting. 


“Come down off the cross. We can use the wood.”~Tom Waits  Make art exploring self-centeredness. Or lessons in selflessness. Or one of those moments we’re all reminded that ‘everything’s not about you.’


“My love is as a fever, longing still”~Shakespeare  Make art about longing. 


 “Makes me end, where I begun”~John Donne  Make art about coming full circle.


 “No one you will ever know works that land now.It is as green as Eden. Life rises in the roots, in the leaves.”~John Piller  Make art about roots, real or metaphorical.


 “The stone angel’s prayer is uninterrupted”~Judy Loest  Make art about faith. 


 “The dead have told these stories To the living”~Frank Stanford  Make art about living with the dead. 


 “For a seed to achieve its greatest expression, it must come completely undone.”~Cynthia Occelli  Make art about coming undone. 


 Make art about family


“The noise of passing feet on the prairie–Is it men or gods who come out of the silence?”~Alice Corbin  Make art about listening.


 “I don’t just wish you rain, Beloved – I wish you the beauty of storms”~John Geddes  Make art about experiencing a storm, real or metaphorical, as cleansing. 


 “I never saw a wild thing sorry for itself. A small bird will drop frozen dead from a bough without ever having felt sorry for itself.”~D.H.Lawrence  Make art about rising above self-pity.


I keep thinkin this mornin about day to day wonder ❤  Make art about the mythology of ordinary life. 


 “And you learn and learn, With every good-bye you learn”~Jorge Luis Borges  Make art about saying goodbye. 


“We are stardust. We are golden”~Joni Mitchell  Make art about cosmic origins. Or the origin of the cosmos. 


 My dog hit a shelf and broke 30 jars of food last night.  Make art about letting go of what’s broken. 

8/11/2015 Bonus Prompt 

My baby brother Bill was my best friend in this life. He would have been 46 today. I miss him every moment.

Make art about best friends. 


 “Indulge your passion for science, but let your science be human.”~David Hume Make art about science.


Late Day Daily Prompt “Those who cannot renounce attachment to the results of their work are far from the path.”- Bhagavad Gita 6:1-2  Make art about detachment, about working toward detachment, about the peace in detachment. 


She was disappearing a little more each day…One day she would surely vanish altogether, and there was no way to stop her.”~Alice Hoffman  Make art about disappearing, or wanting to disappear, or disappearances. 


Up in the dark before dawn  Make art about those early hours before the light returns.


“Bright he might survive With his pen-knife only.”~Liam Rector Make art about survival.


“Oh my ways are strange ways and new ways and old ways. And deep ways and steep ways, and high ways, and low.”~Henry Lawson 

I’m teaching some young people to can food.  Make art inspired by old wisdom. 


“It’s the sort of thing a god might do, a god in the shape of a river, in the shape of a bird, in the shape of a bone tucked inside a scar.”~G.C. Waldrep  Make art about daily glimpses of the divine. Or about things a god might do.


“The brain, like the earth, lies in layers”~Patricia Kirkpatrick  Make art about layers, literal or metaphorical, or use structural imagery and build a piece of art–poem, painting, essay, story–itself in layers.


“Perhaps a sacred moment is a photograph you look at over and over again”~Lee Herrick  Make art about a sacred moment. 


Late Day Daily Prompt  “The hour of tears is when night and day fold into one, and every flower seals”~Julia Carlie Make art inspired by twilight.


“It would be good to hear their songs, reapers of the sweet-stalked cane, cutters of the corn”~Jean Toomer Make art about the harvest, about harvesting. 


Last night I dreamt of so so many shining spoons, too many spoons to choose from 🙂 Someone I love stood at my side and laughed indulgently at my excitement about all of those spoons LOL Make art about spoons. 🙂 


Woke up feeling like life’s full of promise 🙂 So many dreams last night, but all that remains are shining fragments 🙂  Make art about fragments.


 Teaching keeps me believing in tomorrow.  Make art about possibility.


 “What heat it takes for the body to blossom into speech.”~Dorianne Laux  Make art about finding your voice. 


“I am large, I contain multitudes.” – Walt Whitman  Make art about the many selves. 


 “I see you in your backyard’s lavender, post-lunch doze, dreaming someone.”~W.S. Di Piero  Make art inspired by lavender, the color or the scent or the flower 🙂 or the feeling 🙂

Catch-Up 😀


All my kids coming home for a visit 🙂 Make art about visitors.


You are my children. You are my jewels. We old ones invest our future in you.” ~Diane Samuels Make art about children, young or adult, or about parenting.


I’m fixin to go on a sewin binge 🙂 The first known sewing needle came from southwestern France and dates to about 25,000 years ago. When I sew, I feel an endless procession of women surround me, as I, in my small way, add to the story. Make art about sewing, or needlework, or stitching something together.


Dreamt someone I love gave me a ring full of keys and I gleefully skipped around unlocking and throwing open doors. 🙂  Make art about keys, about finding the key. 


Thinkin on how the heart knows no boundaries 🙂 Make art about love’s geography. 


 “Water hollows stone, wind scatters water,stone stops the wind” ~Octavio Paz  Make art about the flow of persistent change. 


Lots of thinkin this week about salvage. “The wreck is a fact…The salvage trucks back in and the salvage men begin to sort and stack, whistling as they work.”~Kay Ryan Make art about salvage, or salvaging something.


Sink, suffer, self-destruct. Rise stronger, reconstruct”~Lamb of God Make art about reconstruction, about reconstructing from what’s left.


Someone I love is battling cancer. Make art about illnesss or disease.


Dreamt someone I love brought me yards of unbleached cotton and lace. Make art with flowing white fabric, or lace, or lacing as the central metaphor.


Dreamt I found you by following the sound of your voice. Make art about echolocation, or the sound of a voice in the dark.


 “And then the sun came slicing sideways, clear water reflecting it, giving it slant. A gloss of rain so quick and light that day hardly made a sound.”~Stephen Connolly   Make art about sun and silence.


“The taste of every living thing is in the raindrop”~Afaa Michael Weaver Make art about the taste of weather.


 “I stood in the brink of heaven. And I swear that Great Territory did quake   when I fell, free.”~Gregory Corso  Make art about your heaven, about falling from heaven.


 Cutting out a new skirt this morning. Love to see it emerge from the fabric, the art of cutting away. Make art about this emergence from cutting away; 

or reenvision one of these old adages, making us see it in some new way: 

cut out, cut off, cut bait, cut the cord, cut loose, cut to the chase, a cut above, cut and dried, cut a rug, cut and paste, unkindest cut, cut to the bone, cut and run, cut from the same cloth, make the cut, cuts both ways. 


 “I heard an Angel singing/ When the day was springing/ Mercy Pity Peace…”~William Blake  Make art about everyday angels.


“Like primitives we buried the cat with his bowl”~Jane Kenyon Make art about burial rituals, about our need for rites.


🙂 September chill in the air this morning. Make art about shifting temperatures, literal or metaphorical.


LateDayDailyPrompt  Talking with my students about and thinkin a lot about tension arising from juxtaposition. Make art about unexpected juxtapositions.


 “What’s missing is the triangle face of the fox, light where eyes should shine”–from a poem I’m working on  Make art about what’s missing.


 Made myself do something I was terrified to do.  Make art about that moment you push through fear.


  “Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.”~Kahlil Gibran  Make art about releasing control. 


 Made my son birthday breakfast 🙂 It involved gravy 🙂

The rest is gravy.Gravy train. Good gravy!

Make art about gravy. Yep. Gravy.


Daily Prompt Missed for this day 😀 So make art about a missed opportunity. 😀 


Daily Prompt  “Aging, I am a stowaway in the hold of my being.”~Stanley Moss  Make art about aging, about the stages of growing older. 


 Happy Autumnal Equinox ❤ Make art about balance.


 “Am I sleeping? Have I slept at all? This is insomnia.”~Chuck Palahniuk  Make art about sleeplessness, the long night, the cottony morning after. 


Road trip to visit with my daughter and son-in-law. Early early morning arrival. “What remains for us has always been what’s arriving”~Wayne Miller

Make art about arrival, about what’s arriving. 


Did a little bargaining at the farmer’s market. Haggling is an integral part of the shopping experience in many cultures, and should be considered a game, rather than a battle.  Make art about haggling or bargaining. 


Dreamt I was weaving a flower chain necklace for a child, whose bright laughter I heard from a distance.  Make art about laughter, the catharsis of laughter, the gift of mirth. 


Running errands all day. Make art about something extraordinary happening in a run of daily tasks. 


Make How To art. Write a How To piece (poem, story, essay), building something creative and beautiful out of a set of instructions.


Things you miss: laughing together, the shared quiet of dawn, touching his skin. Make art about Love’s small gestures.


😀 woke up late and so has procrastinated almost everything today 😀 Make art about putting things off 😀 


“Once I had 1000 roses. Literally 1000 roses.”~John Ciardi Make art about abundance. 


“They knew they were born to weep”~Pedro Pietri Make art about hard lives. 


“Dogs are Shakespearean, children are strangers.”~Delmore Schwartz Make art about dogs. Or children. Or dogs and children. 


Helping someone today start a new chapter of life.  Make art about new beginnings.


“Choose to be kind.”~my mama  Make art about kindness.


Working with my students on layers of meaning. Make art that is deliberately layered. 


“I can hear her through the thin wall, singing”~Patrick Phillips Make art about singing in the distance. 


So many papers to finish grading, so much on the to-do list. Make art about feeling overwhelmed. 


I practice BuyNothingChristmas, so the holiday work starts early smile emoticon So I’ll be spending the weekend startin to make handmade gifts.  Make art where less is more.


 “Three silent women at the kitchen table.”~Anne Carson  Make art about the silence of women. 


 We don’t celebrate Columbus.  Make art about history being written by the victors.  #genocide



Putting in the winter garden, prepping so I’ll have them wonderful leafy greens even when the snow comes. Make art about the ways we prepare for winter.


 My youngest son is 21 today 🙂 my greatest teacher 🙂  Make art about the teachers in your life.


 I have one dog who thinks she’s Houdini, constantly coming up with magic ways to get out of my fenced yard. Make art about escape. 


 “The sky hangs up its starry pictures: a swan, a crab, a horse”~Barbara Crooker Make art inspired by constellations. 


 I’m conducting a workshop this weekend on Writing Prayer.  Write your own prayer, or chant, or gratitude letter. Make art that is prayer. 


Nighttime & Dreams Daily Prompt

Last night I dreamt my beautiful friend Beth and I were escorting a huge group–hundreds–of people on some kind of trek to safety through a beautiful wild desert-like landscape. Beth walked in the front of the long long line of people, and I covered the back, making sure we lost no one. I carried a small child, a little boy with outrageously blue eyes, on my hip, We had planned for years for the time when we would have to do this, and so we knew what we had to do to get them where we were taking them safely. It felt good and strong and somehow celebratory, despite knowing it was a rescue and there was so much that had to be done. I was very glad to have Beth there with me.

Make art about rescue.


First frost of the fall 🙂 My cold frames are keeping the winter garden safe. Make art about protecting something from the cold. 


Today included seriously the most amazing nap 🙂 Make art about naps. 


Thinkin on Call & Response. Call and response is a form of “spontaneous verbal non-verbal interaction between speaker and listener in which all of the statements (‘calls’) are punctuated by expressions (responses’) from the listener.” Make art using a call & response exchange. 


“I want to remember us this way—late September sun streaming through
the window, bread loaves and golden bunches of grapes on the table, spoonfuls of hot soup rising to our lips, filling us with what endures.”~Peter Pereira Make art about sustenance.

“Love is no hot-house flower, but a wild plant, born of a wet night, born of an hour of sunshine; sprung from wild seed, blown along the road by a wild wind”~John Galsworthy  Make art about wildness.


Teaching a workshop on Creative Meditation Techniques today, which will include painting with our fingers! 🙂 Make art about fingerpaint–or–go on–you know you wanta!–break out the paints yourself and get a lil fingerpainting on!


Both my sons home today. They make me laugh like no one else. Make art about sons.


You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think.”~Laura Oliver Make art about protest.


I am not who I was 5 years ago. Make art about the Becoming after trauma.


“Every day we bear up under
the liminal weight of air,
a million pounds and more,
in tiny increments
because we’ve grown used to it…”~Dan Gerber

Make art about the weight of invisible things.


Time is the longest distance between two places.”~Tennessee Williams Make art about distance, about distance covered.


“I have gone out, a possessed witch, haunting the black air, braver at night”~Anne Sexton Make art about witches


“The dead have stories to tell the living. about relinquishing control, about the sweet sweet letting go….”–from a pome I just drafted. Make art about the thinning of the veil, communing with the dead.


“And I have learned my lessons in darkness”-from a poem I just wrote. Make art about darkness.


Struggling with sleep. Make art about insomnia.


Make art about rebellion.


Spent the day working on a meal planning/shopping/cooking tutorial for some of my students who struggle with makin their food dollars stretch. 48.1 million Americans lived in food insecure households, including 32.8 million adults and 15.3 million children.

Make art about literal, physical, hunger.


“After the leaves have fallen, we return To a plain sense of things”~Wallace Stevens Make art about the practicality of autumn.


“I know I’ve loved you before.”~Melissa Etheridge Make art about remembering Love.


The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.”~ Joseph Campbell Make art about braving the darkness.


Wrote a poem today called “The List of Dangers.” Make art about an unexpected form of danger.


Keep hearin the song Little Boxes this morning. Most people now know it as the theme song for the TV show Weeds, but it originally was recorded in 1961 by American folk artist Malvina Reynolds. Make art inspired by little boxes.


“When born you inherit what’s burning.”~Liam Rector Tattooed on my right arm. Considering the courage of the activists at University of Missouri. Make art about what’s burning.


“A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell Make art about heroism, about heroes.


“When the singer’s gone Let the song go on”~Art Garfunkle Make art about the persistence of Love.


Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains.”~Henry David Thoreau Make art about things eternal.


Met up with old friends to commemorate the anniversary of my brother’s death. Make art about a difficult anniversary.


House filled with family, and ghosts. Make art about what haunts you.


“I once was a child am a child am someone’s child”~Victoria Chang Make art about feeling like a child.


Kept hittin the snooze button 🙂 Make art about the need to keep dreaming.


Life’s a sacred puzzle. Make art about finding the pieces that fit.


“Man, you’re already home and you don’t even know it.
You have a room you can return to, and you’ll never outgrow it.
See, you’re already home when you don’t know where to find it.”
~The Antlers

Make art about refuge.


I sang my songs so much that they became the soundtrack for my dreams, the melody of my moods, a room I lived in, a balm for my wounds.”~Carole Boston Weatherford  Make art about the joy of singing to yourself.


We ran as if to meet the moon.”~Robert Frost Make art about that Lady Moon


Dreamt and dreamt but can only remember bits and pieces. Make art about fragments of dreams.


“For she was the maker of the song she sang”~Wallace Stevens Fighting fall depression, I make things to push back the dark, sewing painting, etc. Make art about making, about being a maker.


Thinkin of how much I love my bed. So, pick an idiom and make bed art.

Bed of roses, Bed of nails, Put this one to bed, In bed with, Bed and breakfast, Early to bed early to rise, Wrong side of the bed, You made your bed, Shoulda stood in bed.


Makin Sweet Potato Pie with my daughter today. Make art inspired by a family recipe.


Preparing prompts for a weekend writing mrathon 🙂 Make art about preparing for something.


Join us on Facebook for the annual Better Than Black Friday Writing Marathon! 24 New Prompts!



Almost Pay Day 🙂 Make art about getting paid. Or paying for something.


It’s Giving Tuesday Make art about giving, about an act of charity.


Dreamt I could fly. Just empty myself out, lift off, and soar. Make art about flying.


“Perfect Love casts out fear.”~John 4:18 Make art about the triumph of Love.


Mornin news story on how law enforcement s now strongly encouragin people to report it if their neighbors are actin odd or “suspicious.” One of the signs they mentioned is havin lots of deliveries, like from UPS. If this is the standard, I’m screwed. Totalitarianism for breakfast

Because I think we need to, make art about resistance.


I haven’t put up a Christmas tree since 2011, the year both my husband and brother walked on to the next life. This year, I’m finally putting one up again, and covering it with crazy little angels I’ve been handmaking from clay and fabric for several weeks. I’m calling it my Healing Tree. Make art about healing.


Quiet Sunday morning with my son.  Make art about quiet.


“So many names, my mother, I’m never sure what to call you.”~Rudy Make art about names, about naming.


“In the practice of tolerance, one’s enemy is the best teacher.” ― Dalai Lama XIV  Make art promoting tolerance.

 12/9/2015Up to my eyes in grading for the end of the semester. Make art about a teacher, or teaching.


Doing an Interview Skills Consultation today. Make art involving questions and answers.


Last day of grading, semester ending. Make art about something coming to an end.


Had the most amazing conversation last night, with two young men servin in the Army, both scheduled for deployment in the next few months. One of the young men openly talked about the role faith plays in his life. He spoke with deep compassion of even the enemy he has trained to engage, and I was humbled and awed at how much grace and humanity these young warriors show. Make art about warriors.


Make art about decompressing.



v. de·com·pressed, de·com·press·ing, de·com·press·es


1. To relieve of pressure or compression.

2. To bring (a person exposed to conditions of increased pressure) gradually back to normal atmospheric pressure.


1. To adjust to normal atmospheric conditions after being exposed to increased pressure.

2. Informal To relax: decompressed after 12 hours of driving.


Thinking of all the loving care my nurse mama and sister gave their patients for decades. Make art about nurses, about caretakers.


First week in the online class is all about defining activism, personal and professional. Make art rooted in action.


Dreamt the walls of my bedroom melted away and I found myself surrounded by a herd of gentle deer, with their liquid eyes and dancer feet. They nuzzled me with velvet snouts, and whispered Welcome Welcome. We picked our way through a twilight wood, until the trees opened up into broad sweet-smelling fields. And then we ran, and ran, and ran. 🙂

Make art inspired by deer.


Just drafted a poem called The Words Mama Left Me. Make art about inheritance.


Wrapping presents 🙂 I’ve never before managed to have them wrapped this early LOL  Make art about something kept under wraps.


That bowl of soup—it was dearer than freedom, dearer than life itself, past, present, and future.” ― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn  Made Garden Vegetable Soup for me and my son.

Make art about soup.


Read a new story this morning about someone carrying a belief in a conspiracy theory too far. Make art about conspiracy.


I wrote out family canning recipes for my children and my niece. Make art inspired by someone’s handwriting, by something handwritten.


Last minute holiday preparations. Make art about last minue details.


Loving the lights this gray rainy day. Make art about Light.


Remembering being a little kid breathlessly waiting for Santa 🙂 Make art about anticipation.


Much of the work I did in papers for my Anthropology degree focused on the origins of Judaism and early Christianity, a lot of it centered around belief in a messiah, in messianic traditions. Many religions have a messiah concept, including the Jewish Messiah (from which the term and meaning originates, from the Hebrew in which the word Messiah is identical to the noun and adjectiveמשיח (mashiach), meaning Anointed One, and comes from the Hebrew verbמשח (mashah), meaning to anoint. Other messianic traditions include the Christian Christ( the Greek translation of the Hebrew root word), the Muslim Mahdi and Isa (one of the Arabic names for Jesus), the Buddhist Maitreya, the Hindu Kalki, the Zoroastrian Saoshyant and He whom God shall make manifest in Bábism (believed to be Bahá’u’lláh by Bahais). The state of the world, in most of these traditions, is seen as hopelessly flawed beyond normal human powers of correction, and divine intervention through a specially selected and supported human is seen as necessary.

Make art about saviors. Make art redefining what it might mean to be a savior. Make art about being your own savior.


Traveling to celebrate with family today. Make art about a family roadtrip.


Watching PBS nature documentaries with my son 🙂 Make art about the candor and ingenuity of animals.


In the space between chaos and shape there is another chance.”~Jeannette Winterson  Make art about rising to the challenge of change.


My son jokes, saying he doesn’t believe in electricity. Make art inspired by the phrase ‘There’s no such thing as….’


..the great floodgates of the wonder-world swung open…”~Herman Melville  Make art about the mythologies of water.


 “a child carrying flowers walks toward the new year”~Bei Dao  Make art envisioning the new year.


 A New Year of Prompts 🙂 2016


Woke to this hawk calling outside the bedroom window, then he followed me and the dogs on our walk. Make art about hawks.


Working on this chapbook of ghost poems.  Make art about a haunting.


Sometimes people just have to deal with their own issues. Make art about letting people go. Bless and release, y’all ❤


“This, then, is the gift the world has given me/(you have given me)/softly the snow”~Diana Di Prima

Make art with first snow as the central metaphor.


“I fear and hope. I burn and freeze like ice.”~Sir Thomas Wyatt

Make art about the first freeze, about the big freeze, about freezing, or being frozen.


“The magic of the street is the mingling of the errand and the epiphany.” ~Rebecca Solnit

Make art about an epiphany.


Thinking about missing pieces. Make art about absence, about the hollow left when something’s missing.

1/8/2016One of the hardest things for me to learn in this life has been that it’s okay to ask for help. Make art about reaching out, about asking for help.


Snuggled up in the comfort of the beautiful Porches Writers Retreat. Make art about making a retreat.


After days of winter rain, the clouds have gone, revealing blue blue sky. Make art about clearing skies.


Thrift is poetic because it is creative; waste is unpoetic because it is waste.” G.K. Chesterton Make art inspired by a thrift store find.


“Peace begins when expectation ends.”~Sri Chinmoy Make art about releasing expectations.


One always has to be willing to lose to be able to win… in battle and in life. I wonder. Are you willing to lose?”~Christie Rich Make art about taking a gamble. Or about being willing to lose.


“Call it a night. O soul. Flow on. Instead.”~CD Wright Make art about the eternal flow.


Rewatching my beloved X-Files 🙂 Make art about seeing something new the second time you look.


Something about being followed by a crow. The pups and I had company this morning. Make art inspired by crows.


Snow falling soundlessly will always fill my heart with sweet clarity” ~Novala Takemoto Make art about the musings brought on by falling snow.


Make art about justice. Or interconnectedness. Thank you, Dr. King.


“This inwardness, this ice, this wide boreal whiteness”~Christian Wiman Make art about Ice.


The East Coast is anticipating a big snow storm. Make art about bracing for a blow.


Pre-winter-storm panic is on where I am. Make art about needing bread and milk.


Make art about the scent of weather, the smell of snow coming.


Little Juncos, as if they’re floating, on top of the snow. Make art about balancing on the surface.


“Left to itself the heart could almost melt, could mend.”~JIll Osier Make art about what’s revealed in the melting.


Dreamt someone I love built a fire in a snowbank. Make art about warmth, or about love bringing warmth.


Digging out of the blizzard and goin back to work today. Make art about what’s buried.


Today’s gift has been conversation with my daughter, and missing my mama. Make art about generations of women.


Pups and I heard the coyotes singin when we were out this morning. Make art about coyotes.


Dreamt a storage complex, throwing the doors open to light. Make art about unpacking what you kept stored.


Got woken up by a text message. Make art inspired by a text message or email.


Preparing for that first grandbaby got me thinkin. Genetic memory is a memory present at birth that exists in the absence of sensory experience, and is incorporated into the genome over long spans of time. Make art about or inspired by genetic memory.


Been workin a lot on feeling worthy, puttin myself out there, makin myself do things that just a year a go I wouldn’t have done. Make art about having faith in yourself.


What happens when I watch X-Files in the mornin LOL “Inside the mystery…It was better to just grope around with careful claws and paws”~Michael Benedikt Make art about moving through mystery.


Turned off my alarm and kept on sleeping. Guess I needed rest. Make art about oversleeping.


Making S’mores kits for my daughter’s baby shower. Make art about the comfort of a childhood food.


All mornin I keep hearin Liam Rector (I called him Big Dog :-)) say “What’s the next thing, girl?” Make art about the next thing.


Today’s my daughter’s first baby shower 🙂 celebrating the arrival soon of my first grandchild.

Make art about babies.


Super Bowl Sunday 🙂 Make art about sports as tribal ritual.


News this morning about how soon we’ll be traveling to Mars. Make art about space travel 🙂 “Space” can be literal or metaphorical.


“Every sacred mission, every hunt for hidden relics, I was looking for you.”~Dianna Hardy Make art about a relic.


I took a deep breath and listened to the old brag of my heart. I am, I am, I am.”~Sylvia Plath Make art about breath, about breathing.


Every sickness has an alien quality, a feeling of invasion and loss of control that is evident in the language we use about it.”~Siri Hustvedt Make art about illness.


I’ve been watching the presidential debates. This is what I keep hearing: “Politics have no relation to morals.”~Niccolo Machiavelli Make art about politics.


Don’t you know that a midnight hour comes when everyone has to take off his mask?”~Søren Kierkegaard Make art about masks.


“The heart shifts shape of its own accord—from bird to ax, from pinwheel to budded branch”~Dorianne Laux Make art about the heart.


Another snow day here, and one of my pups is already feeling like she’s been inside too long. Make art about Cabin Fever.


Nothing in the world is friendlier than a wet dog.” Make art about a wet dog.


I wrote a poem called Love You Like An Alien. Make art about extraterrestrial love.


I am in love, hence free to live by heart”~Vera Pavlova Make art about freedom.


I slept and I dreamed that life is all joy. I woke and I saw that life is all service. I served and I saw that service is joy.”~Kahlil Gibran

Just wrote an email to a famous person on behalf of a former student, not at the student’s request, but just because i believe the student’s amazing and if nothing else, I can put the kid’s name in front of someone, And yeah it’s a totally idealistic shot in the dark, but what the hey? Lifetime mantra: The worst they can do is tell me No, right? And if they do, then I’m no worse off than I was before I asked. 🙂 Survival tip #1 for me? When the moment feels darkest, do something good and loving for someone else. That’s what brings the Light ❤

Make art about healing through generosity.


Harvard Launches Free Online Class To Promote Religious Literacy Make art about tolerance.


Crocus! Tiny purple blooms announcing the slow change of season today in the yard! Make art about the first signs of spring.


I bought my first ever new car in 2010, and today, I paid that Lil Red Beauty off! I grew up poor, so this is a big deal for me, as someone who has had a very complicated relationship with money. Make art about finishing something. Or about your relationship with money.


Did an exercise with my Baby Poets last night where they did freewrites in response to a scent. Make art about a memory evoked by a particular scent.


My students are analyzing the rhetoric of the presidential campaign. Make art about empty words.


Virginia devastated by multiple tornadoes yesterday. Even growing up near the coast of NC, where hurricanes and tornadoes happened all the time, I’ve not seen destruction like some of what happened here yesterday. Praying for everyone hurt by the storms. Make art about the power of nature.


Was greeted by frost on the windows this morning. Oh those fractals! “Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand/And Eternity in an hour.”~William Blake Make art about fractal patterns in nature. Or create art where the structure is inspired by fractal patterns.


I love to drive. Make art about early morning driving.


Dreamt I was rescuing someone from a burning house. Make art about rescue, or houses on fire.


Happy Leap Day! A leap year, where an extra day is added to the end of February every four years, is down to the solar system’s disparity with the Gregorian calendar. A complete orbit of the earth around the sun takes exactly 365.2422 days to complete, but the Gregorian calendar uses 365 days. So leap seconds – and leap years – are added as means of keeping our clocks (and calendars) in sync with the Earth and its seasons. Make art inspired by Leap Day or Leap Year 🙂


My wise brother told me, in so many words, to remember that we can’t grasp the river. Make art about letting it all flow as it will. Or about a river.


A sweet friend arrived with her tarot deck in hand and offered to give me a reading. Make art inspired by the tarot.


The Virginia General Assembly this week put forth House Bill 516 that requires high school teachers to notify parents if they’re going to teach books that parents might find objectionable (sexual content mostly) and gives those parents the right to object and demand alternative materials be taught. 

Make art about censorship.

3 /4/2016

I have Complicated Grief-Related PTSD. Some days I’m okay. Some days I think I’m okay, then I’m just—not, not okay at all. Make art about grief.


The only way I have survived the extreme loss I’ve experienced in my life is by making a choice every day, sometimes every moment, to live not in grief, but in Gratitude. Make art about gratitude.


Both my sons were home this weekend, and one of my greatest joys is see them together as grown men, not just brothers, but friends. My best friend was my brother, and my oldest son once said, “How cool it is—to find your own best friend right in your family!” Make art about siblings as friends.


Be on guard. The road widens, and many of the detours are seductive.” ~David Foster Wallace Make art about detours, or being detoured, or being distracted, or fighting for focus.


Today I’m building myself/from the bones/of flowers”~Mary Carroll-Hackett

Make art about the self as a seed, a growing thing requiring nurturing, a blossom.


Did you ever think that, maybe, a child’s imaginary playmate might actually be there?

Make art about an imaginary friend.


Make art about the flow of energy.


But your solitude will be a support and a home for you, even in the midst of very unfamiliar circumstances, and from it you will find all your paths.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

Make art about solitude, about needing solitude, about the solace in solitude.


I’m so ready for spring to really be here. I’m ready for the singing of the bees. Make art about bees.


Make art about boys, or about what it means to be a man.


The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” – Albert Einstein

Make art with deliberate shifts in time. 


“…careful the morning lest it wake from slumber the city half-encumbered by the morning mist …”~John Geddes Make art with mist as the central metaphor.


Before my mama went on to the next life, she told me “You’ve got to LET someone love you, Mary, really Love you.” One of the lessons I’m still learning, both about myself, and about other people.

You can only love someone as much as they’ll let you. Make art inspired by this.


Make art about the difference between hearing and listening.


Make art about survivors.


Make art inspired by a rainy Saturday.


Make art with the first day of spring, about rebirth.


Great conversation thread yesterday started by the amazing poet and person Karen Craigo on Facebook regarding what we can do all to support poetry and other poets. Got me thinking about how my mama always quoted John Donne, his “Devotions upon Emergent Occasions,” saying “No man is an island.” 

Make art about community, abut community-building, about our need for community. 


The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” A. Einstein Make art about intuition, about how intuition whispers, about listening to it, or about what happens if we don’t.


Communion defined: the sharing or exchanging of intimate thoughts and feelings, especially when the exchange is on a mental, emotional, or spiritual level. Make art about communion. Or about art as communion.


Discrimination, df:  treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit:

Make art about discrimination, about enduring discrimination, about surviving discrimination, about conquering discrimination, about eliminating discrimination.


My grandmother Miz Pearl always said to plant on Good Friday. I haven’t gotten the garden in yet, but I did put in some basil and some seed potatoes. Seeds of a new season. Make art about seeds.


Easter gathering with family, and my favorite part was watching my loving generous adult sons play with the baby cousins. Make art about love and gifts across the generations.


Make art about your own resurrection.


Make art about builders or destroyers, about choosing to be one or the other. 


The pups and I had all kinds of feathered company on our walk this morning. Put me in mind of one of my mama’s favorite poets, John Greenleaf Whittier:

from “What the Birds Said”

The birds against the April wind

Flew northward, singing as they flew;

They sang, “The land we leave behind

Has swords for corn-blades, blood for dew.”

Make art about birds, about flying, about flight, about what the birds said.


Business-related phone calls alllllllll day longgggggggggggggg.

Make art about a phone call, maybe where a phone call turns into a surprising exchange.


Dreamt someone I love brought me a drum, and together we listened to its heartbeat. Make art about a drum, the sound of a drum, the drum as a call to prayer.


Make art about the body of the planet.


Make art about your earliest art memory.


Make art about what you’ve claimed as yours.


Make art about what you love.


Make art about your singing place.


Make art about magical mysterious creatures.


Make art about the rebirth of wonder.


Make art about what you really want.


Make art about where the world ends, or begins.


Make art about what work is. 


Make art about water, about being water.


Make art about celebration. Or survival.


Make art about birth, about the miraculous being born.


Make art about your wandering. 


Make art about survival.


Make art about being the maker of your own song.



I’m over the moon in love, meeting my first grandchild! His name is Max and he is beyond magical! So’s his Mama! Make art about babies, the miraculous beginning of life.


Today is my niece Jennifer’s birthday. She’s one of the most amazing women I know.
Make art about a phenomenal woman in your life. 


Make art about seeing signs.


Make art about eyes, about what eyes might see, or who we see in a loved one’s eyes.


Can’t even voice the loss I feel at Prince walking on to the next life. His music has been one of the most consistent and most important soundtracks of my life. I just don’t even have words. 

Make art about the importance of music in your life.  


Make art about a messenger.


Make art about returning.


Make art about someone whose kindness changed your life.


Make art about being a maker, about the act of making.


Make art about walking.


Make art about escape, the “thousands of ways to escape.


Make art about the elders, about old ones.


Make art about what children know.


Make art about walls.


Love is Liberation. 

Make art about one of the ways you Love the world. 


It is always important to know when something has reached its end. Closing circles, shutting doors, finishing chapters, it doesn’t matter what we call it; what matters is to leave in the past those moments in life that are over.”~Paulo Coehlo

Make art about knowing something has reached its end. 


Exam week, and it’s crazy here Make art about things that test us.


Star Wars Day Even as a little kid, I stared at the sky expecting to see a UFO zipping across those wide coastal skies every time I looked up 🙂 

Make art about what you see in the stars. 


I both gave and received help today. It was awesome. Make art about people helping people.


Make art inspired by wings.


Thrilled and humbled and honored and NERVOUS! Headed back to my alma mater as the invited commencement speaker for the English Department graduation today. Ohhhh back in Pirate country! To the place–the school–the faculty–who made me believe!

Make art about what you would teach the next generation.


Under the weather and missing my mama this Mother’s Day, thinking about her hands–her mother’s hands, her gardening hands, her nurse’s hands. She never had a manicure. I can’t recall her ever having her nails painted at all, but man, it seemed the whole world rose from those hands. And now, I watch my daughter, a first-time mama, her hands so gentle and loving as she cares for my grandson. Yep, the whole world That’s what it is. 

Make art about a mother’s hand. 


Right now, I’m thinking saturation, saturated, drenched, waterlogged. 

Make art about different kinds of rain, or words for rain, or saturation. 


I have a Creativity Promptathon Workshop Weekend coming up, and I always make small gifts for my participants. Nothing fancy, just something I made with my own hands. Small thank you for their trust and time.  Make art about a gift someone has given you. Or about giving a gift. 


I called to say we have two lives/and only one of them is real.”~Claudia Rankine

Make art about the multiple lives we live.


Headed off to teach a weekend Promptathon workshop at The Porches Writing Retreat

Make art about porches.


Today’s my daddy’s birthday. I still miss him every day.

Make art about daddies. c


Make art about the voice you hear down in the hall.


I have a habit of collecting discarded photographs in thrift stores, those precious memories sold in estate sales, so many beautiful faces, so many voices, so many stories.

Make art about other people’s pictures.


Had some sweet winged company. A luna moth emerges from its cocoon with not long for this earth. The average lifespan is a week, during which time they have no means to eat (no mouths). Their week (and life) goal is simple: to reproduce. To make love, the strongest of human emotions.Many observers believe this to be a reminder of the importance of love in our short time on this earth. Live and love to the fullest and enjoy every experience that gets thrown your way. 

Make art about Loving fully in the moment. 


Okay, so the garden’s cleaned up and turned over, but it’s pouring cold hard rain outside. So I guess I’m sewing, instead of planting today.

Make art about having your plans thwarted.


I spend most of my time with 18-25 year olds I call them Angel Babies, Angel Chirren. I call them My Teachers. Yep. They always teach me more than I could ever teach them. Make art about something learned from a young person. 


When everything finally has been wrecked and further shipwrecked, 

When their most ardent dream has been made hollow and unrecognizable, 

They will feel inside their limbs the missing shade of blue that lingers….


from “Half Omen Half Hope” by Joanna Klink


Make art about your hopes for the human race.


Make art about healing what divides us. 


Road trip to visit family today in northern Virginia, backroads and crossroads.

Make art about intersections.


Spent this precious day with my grandson and his beautiful mama my daughter. Max, my grandperson I call him Noquisi Usdi, which means Star is already very vocal LOL a family trait I kept thinking about how, right now, at just over a month old, he has the physical capacity for learning every language on the planet. I kept listening to his wildly varied baby sounds, and thinking about how I wish we could retain—and fulfill–that potential, wishing we could all—all people—speak to and universally understand each other.

Make art about the power of language, about learning language.


I stopped on the way home yesterday, caught by an intriguing historical sign, marking The Church of the Blind Preacher.

Make art inspired by a historical marker, or by an intriguing historical character. 


Sometimes we forget how powerful we are. 

Make art about remembering your own magic. 


FINALLY!– it’s not raining and the temp’s gonna climb up near 90 today, they say. (Don’t forget to look our for the four-leggeds as the temperature climbs ) 

Make art about heat 🙂 


Was out in the garden, putting up new stick trellises for those climbing stringbeans my son loves so much, when a woman walking by on our tiny backwoods rural road, called from the street, “That’s just how just how my grandmama used to do it!” 

I laughed, and said, “That’s just where I learned it–from my grandmama!”

She walked over, and we chatted, her telling me her name was Ruth, and she was visiting family down the road. She told me how she always wished she’d kept a garden but raising a house filled with kids by herself and working two jobs most of those years didn’t leave much time for anything else. I told her it sounded like to me she’d tended to her garden magnificently. She tilted her head and asked what I meant. 

Those kids, I said, all grown and making strong good lives. She smiled, patted my shoulder, and said, “You know, I like the thought of it that way.”

I did too. And now me and Ruth aren’t strangers anymore 🙂 

Make art about a conversation with a stranger, with a Road Angel ❤ 


So much talk this week in my summer school class on Activism, on how to create real world change, on how to lead, on what makes a leader.  And such a lack of real leadership in any of the people running for president, it hurts my heart. 

True leaders don’t create followers. They create more leaders.

Make art about leaders, about leadership. 


I was 6 in 1969, and the only connection I could make to the war in Viet Nam was that my Uncle David was there. I remember watching footage on our black and white TV, looking for my handsome uncle’s face. I was too young to understand, but I remember the images clearly. 

Make art about your earliest memories of war. 


Came across some large red flowers, discarded on the side of the road, as if tossed out a window. Make art about discarded flowers, about what we throw away. 


Make art about Liberty, about its costs, about the quest for it, about the privilege and fragility of it. 


Make art about War. Or about Peace.


We are not trapped or locked up in these bones. No, no. We are free to change. And love changes us. And if we can love one another, we can break open the sky.”~Walter Mosley

Make art about growth, about new growth, about the power in choosing to grow. 


Apocalypse (Ancient Greek: ἀποκάλυψις apokálypsis, from ἀπό and καλύπτωmeaning“uncovering”), translated literally from Greek, is a disclosure of knowledge, i.e., a lifting of the veil or revelation.

Make art about revelation, or about spiritual awakening.


Make art about interconnections, about ecosystems.


It’s a John Denver morning. 

If I had a wish that I could wish for you, I’d make a wish for sunshine all the while.” 

Make art about what you wish for someone else.


In a field /I am the absence/of field.”~Mark Strand

Make art about absence, about being out in the field, about who you are in the field. 


I have a special affection for deer, for many reasons. I sit out on my little stoop and they slip like shadows from the woods, all velvet eyes and dancer feet, and they let me enjoy their company, their beauty, as they browse and graze through the section of the yard I leave wild just for them, what my kids call ‘Deer Diner.’ I planted them a persimmon tree there in that corner a couple of years ago, and I leave them three cups of corn daily paying my rent for sharing this little wooded four acres that their kind occupied long before my house was built. I love them more than I can articulate. Their presence brings me into a place of peace like no other animal. I think they understand this 🙂 

Make art about deer. Or about what in nature brings you peace. 


Make art about mothers, or about the daily rituals that go into making a home. 


I seem to have run in a great circle, and met myself again on the starting line.”― Jeanette Winterson

Make art about changes in identity, about shifting views of the self.


Make art about ancestors, about what we can do to be good ancestors.


Beautiful day with family today.

From “On Family Regathering Seen One Night Through a Window” by George Moor

All flows; the person has no permanence.
The children will grow up, the parents die.
For each precarious present the past tense
Is waiting; all is sort of a lie.
The clean cut fruit in dingy crystal bowls;
The fading chairs; the family sitting down.
For reassurance meet these traveling souls,
Each with an intimate sadness of his own.
Old habits calm. Old stories of old days….

Make art about family.


Orlando. Just don’t have words. Heartbroken.


My son and I found a tiny tiny bird nest yesterday, tumbled on the grass beneath the Guardian Oak. No babies, wounded or otherwise, in sight, just this miracle of weaving, bits of bark and straw and leaf and string. Inside the tiniest shards of shell left behind, thin and white as paper. I was struck at how delicate—and how strong—it is, kinda like Love.

Make art about the fragility, about the persistent strength, of Love.


Five years ago today, my beautiful funny sexy irreverent brilliant soulful husband, John Little Bear Eaton, walked on to the next life.

what remains with me vividly to this day is my recollection of a circle of light that shone out from Rafe and enfolded us both, and the deep sense of comfort and familiarity between us, as if we had somehow always known each other and were merely resuming a conversation that had gone on from eternity.”

Cynthia Bourgeault, Love is Stronger than Death: The Mystical Union of Two Souls

Make art about the eternal nature of Love.


Art is a wound turned into light.”~Georges Braque Make art about the wound, about transforming pain into light.


The smallest feline is a masterpiece.” ― Leonardo da Vinci Make art about animal family.


I believe there is a song that is stranger than wind, that sips the scald from the telling…”~Karen Volkman

Make art about the first thing that comes to mind with the phrase I believe….


They don’t teach you what to say to someone who’s dying.”~Neil Gaiman

Make art about what you wish you had said before they died.


Opportunities in life come by creation, not by chance. You yourself, either now or in the past (including the past of former lives), have created all opportunities that arise in your path. Since you have earned them, use them to the best advantage.” ― Paramahansa Yogananda

Make art about opportunity, about creating your own opportunity.


I was raised Catholic, and in cultures that are very comfortable with the dead.

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace.


Make art celebrating the dead. Or write a prayer for the dead.


Make art about a solstice memory.


Wrote a poem this morning Haven’t done that in a while Called “The Girl Lightning Loved” 🙂

Make art about what lightning, about what lightning desires.


Make art about remembering you’re not alone.



Make art about choosing to leave, even when the choice leaves the future completely uncertain.


Encountered a little slow down on the road yesterday. Three calves had broken out and were gleefully chasing around, having a high old time.

Make art about unexpected obstacles. Or about unexpected freedom.


I leave to you a curious loom,
That I have wrought my dreams upon;
I beg you lay your hand to it
and weave a pattern when I’m gone.”

~James Lovell

Make art about legacy.


This morning, keep thinking about, hearing,  a line from a poem by my mentor and friend, the poet Liam Rector, from his poem “This Summer.” 

Our motto: Fight to live; prepare to go.”~Liam Rector

Make art about preparation, about being prepared. Or about fighting to live.


if you’re old enough to read this you know what work is”~Philip Levine

Make art about what work is.


It’s hard to wake up sometimes and look back at your life with clear eyes, isn’t it? All the Hello’s and Goodbye’s, and all the things said and left unsaid, whether they were timely, or easy, or uncomfortable or boltfree, or jarring, or just plain true, at least for you, in the moment of their saying.And once you’re awake you have to listen to the now, or ignore it and pretend that it’s just not there. Tricky stuff for the strongest of us, and hard travelin’ for the tender hearted. Like pilgrims on some dusty trail, the long line of true believers stretches into nothingness, and the shadows of the don’t fit in’s move along like so much smoke, pungent and ethereal, lingering toward home.”~John Little Bear Eaton

Make art about the don’t fit in’s.


“The human brain holds in its cradle its own strangeness”-Eric Waggoner

Make art about the brain, the magic of the brain, its beautiful strangeness.


I could spend my life trying to distill the feeling of a summer porch”~Jessie van Eerden

Make art about that summer porch.


Make art inspired by this quote: “Who looks after the sensitive child?”~Nikky Finney


You have to let the Light in.”~Nikky Finney Make art about ways of letting the Light in.


I wrote a poem today called “What Goliath Wants Us To Know.” Make art about what someone—real or mythical, living or dead—wishes we knew.


Alton Sterling ❤


Philando Castile ❤


Dallas shootings ❤ Brent Thompson, Patrick Zamarripa, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, and Lorne Ahrens.


I’m struggling to function in the sorrow of what we’re doing to each other. Keep singing a song I learned as a child, One Tin Soldier.

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago
‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone
And the valley-people swore
They’d have it for their very own

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill
Asking for the buried treasure
Tons of gold for which they’d kill

It came an answer from the mountain
With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain
All the riches buried there

Go ahead and hate your neighbor
Go ahead and cheat a friend
Do it in the name of heaven
You can justify it in the end
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day
On the bloody morning after
One tin soldier rides away

Now the valley cried with anger
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people
So they won their just reward

Now they stood beside the treasure
On the mountain, dark and red
Turned the stone and looked beneath it
“Peace on Earth” was all it said

Make art about what matters.



Thanks and Love to Eric Waggoner for his seminar at the West Virginia Wesleyan MFA residency on writing ugly topics. Robert Bly said, “Dare to do something ugly.”

Do this. Take on something ugly.


Garmin took us down some strange backroads today, as it does at times 🙂 Today it took us down a two lane road with no lines, through a series of unicorporated communities, one of which was particularly sweet, Batesville Virginia. As we entered this tiny crossroad community, we passed a stone pillar with the word Elysium carved into it. Love letters from the Universe?

According to Eustathius of Thessalonica, the word “Elysium” (Ἠλύσιον) derives from ἀλυουσας (ἀλύω) and means to be deeply stirred from joy, or from ἀλύτως, synonymous of ἀφθάρτως (ἄφθαρτος) incorruptible, referring to the incorruptible joy of a soul in this afterlife.

Make art about your idea of the afterlife.


Finding peace in doing the daily tasks of being home: folding laundry; washing dishes; sweeping floors. Make art about those moments when the mundane intersects with the divine.


Lost a feline family member today, Dobi. She ruled our home with the most regal feline disdain for ten years, and my heart is broken at her going. Make art about what our animal family means to us.


Coffee in the garden. Reminders of the cycles. Make art about what goes on, about what continues.


Watching the swallowtails land on the flowers. Make art about finding somewhere to land.


Art is a wound turned into light.”~Georges Braque Make art about the wound, about transforming pain into light.


Late, I have come to a parched land/doubting my gift, if gift I have,/the inspiration of water”~Dannie Abse Make art about the inspiration of water.


Poor dear son, though you were not my son, I felt to love you as a son, what short time I saw you sick & dying here—~Walt Whitman (letter to Erastus Haskell’s parents)

Make art about how they are all our sons.


May God break my heart so completely that the whole world falls in.”~Mother Teresa Make art about the open heart.

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