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  • Christine Delea

Compass: Writing Prompt

Happy New Year!


Are you ready to write a new poem/story/essay/journal entry each week this year? And if you want/need to write more, that's great--just look at the past prompts here for additional inspiration.


Your first task for this prompt is to read today's blog poem. In it, the poet, Richard Widerkehr, uses his title to give us readers the setting. It has little to do with the poem itself, but it does tell us the speaker is outside, and that does set up the poem.


There is a Lake Whatcom in Washington state, and it of course has a south end. Maybe it is here where the night sky is easier to see because there are fewer trees there. I don't know and it really does not matter except that it places us with the speaker because it is so precise. His vision becomes ours.


For your first writing prompt of 2023, I want you to imagine a very precise place: the 2nd fitting room in the lingerie department at the Macy's at the Clackamas Town Center, the west side of Parking Lot 5 at Robert Moses State Park, the American International Rattlesnake Museum's gift shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico, etc.


Give us only the description of the place that is absolutely necessary, but then look in some direction: up, to the east, around the slightly open door, etc. Whatever you see there (your own reflection, teens smoking pot, a box full of dead mice) should become the focus of your piece. What epiphany do you experience when you look in a certain direction do you experience? Even better--what unanswerable questions do you experience? What trick of the eye? What memories?


What direction you go in, use your title to take us with you.



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