Use the Prompt, Save the Prompt
A few times in my blog I have discussed writing prompts. You can search Google for writing prompts. You can open a Twitter account and participate in daily prompts from various authors in a variety of genres. The great thing about prompts is that they get the muse going. You can adapt them to your writing style. I use them primarily to practice writing concise lines. Since I enjoy writing poetry and flash fiction, being concise becomes extremely important when I want to enter writing contests with limited line submission guidelines or limited words.
WRITER TIP: Keep a log of writing prompts and your prompt writing. This journal can be a useful reference if writer's block strikes.
Today, I practiced with the prompt for #MuseMon which was the word save. Here are a few samples.
I saved the moment I fell in love with you, like an instant Polaroid picture, slowly coming into frame, pinned to my heart. #MuseMon
She needed saving, but her salvation was locked away in a broken heart, filled with hatred and confusion. She was a lost soul. #MuseMon
I'm saving my final words for you. The words will reflect my life, a life I couldn't have lived without you. #musemon
It's Just Right in My Hometown
My trips back to New Hampshire always seem to disappear in a time warp. Last week, upon arriving in Manchester, the skies were overcast and I drove through spot showers on the way to Newport. I believe there were even a few stray snowflakes. Yes, sometimes winter lingers into May in the Granite State.
Once in my hometown, I had to stop for the essentials. At Coronis Market, I purchased two ham and cheese grinders that I've been eating since I was a young child. They still taste the same. I also purchased a six pack of one of my favorite beers that I can't get in Florida. The Shed Brewery Mountain Ale is a brown ale from Vermont and is only regionally distributed. To cap off my order, I grabbed a whoopie pie. Again, this is a delicious dessert that I don't find on every corner in Florida, like I can when in New Hampshire. As you can tell, my diet went out the window in less than two hours after my plane landed.
I was going to make a few social stops on this Tuesday afternoon, but after a 2:30am alarm to catch a flight out of Tampa, I was fading fast. I was off to Claremont where I would lodge at my mother's house for the duration of my trip.
For a couple of days, I stopped in to visit with family and friends, and at more of my favorite eateries like Ramunto's in Claremont, and the Country Kitchen and Salt hill Pub in Newport. There's nothing extraordinary about any of these restaurants aside from consistency and a service that you'd expect from small town venues where you'll always bump into someone you know.
The next two days were the reason for the trip, writing workshops at the Richards Free Library and readings with fellow writers of the Newport Natives Writers Group. Attendance for the workshops was wonderful. Attendees included several students from area schools. The creative minds of the youth of Newport is promising. Our group of writers all presented workshops that prompted writing on the spot. The interaction to discuss the works created during the workshops lead to positive feedback and exceptional discussions regarding all aspects of the writing and publishing world.
This was the first reading that I had done outside of small writing groups. We had in attendance for the evening readings at the Library Art Center many local residents, former teachers, and family. Readings were given by Matthew Guenette, a poet, Derek Catsam, a writer of non-fiction, Christine Almstrom, a writer of children's stories and an illustrator, and Susan Cunningham, a fantasy writer. Or, to break it down in small town terms - two classmates, a new friend, and family. The team at the library were exceptional hosts. As a group of writers, we couldn't be happier to finish our visit with an abundance of positive feedback from all those that attended.
I'm always thankful for the time I get to spend in my hometown. My relocation to Florida was nothing against The Sunshine Town, but more a need for the heat of The Sunshine State. As I write this blog entry, the temperature outside is 96 degrees. Most of my Northern friends would curse that it's too hot. For me, it's just right. And, it's always just right when I go home. I sometimes need to add a few layers to get it just right.
I love to travel. I love craft beer. I love donuts. Sounds like three ingredients for a new book concept. As of this blog post, there are 17 states that I haven't visited. I'd like to knock off at least 8 more this summer. Very doable since I already have a vacation scheduled that takes me to six states.
As I looked at a map of the United States the other day, I thought to myself that it would be an awesome road trip to drive the perimeter of the continental US. From my home base in Florida, across the southern border to the Pacific Ocean, north to Washington, turning east across the northern border, through the Great Lakes and onward to the Atlantic Ocean at Maine's eastern most point. Turning back south through Boston to Cape May in New Jersey and then crossing the Chesapeake Bay before setting my sights on Key West, FL, then returning to the Gulf Coast, I'd complete a drive of over 10,000 miles in a month, or less.
But, aside from saying I've been to a few more states, what is the purpose of this trip. I can say I set a goal and I completed it. Cool, but not enough. I can journal my experiences on the road. Sweet, I love writing. I can turn my journal into a memoir. Yes, but what makes it different from other travel memoirs aside from the fact that I've never heard of anyone making this "perimeter" trip? What do I like and have fun doing. I love photography. I love craft beer and the stories behind each unique brew. I love donuts. That's it, I'll shoot and write about The Longest Beer & Donut Run in History. I'll document brewery and donut shop stops, meet the masters behind the flavors, and share the sweet stories in a book.
Isn't it interesting how the mind of a writer works? From eating donuts and drinking craft beer to a road trip of over 10,000 miles. I still have much planning to do and funds to raise, but come September, I'd like to be on the road to new places and new tastes. Stay tuned!
I'm Going Home
Just over a week from today, I'll return to "The Sunshine Town" of Newport. New Hampshire - my hometown. I'll be joining other writers, the Newport Native Writers Group, for two days of writing workshops, readings, and Q&A sessions.
I always look forward to going home, except for in the winter months. I have family in the area, friends that I typically only see at class reunions, and there are familiar sights and foods that simply bring a comfort to my soul. There will be breakfast at the Country Kitchen, a Village Special at Village Pizza, and cold beer at Salt hill Pub. My daily workout won't be at the gym, instead taking my steps to Main Street, Small Town USA and maybe a few laps around the high school track. There will be time set aside for reflection on a bench, or on the steps on the gazebo, on the Town Common. In all of these places, there will be storylines continuing to develop in my head for current and future works-in-progress.
I hope the sun will actually shine as I know this time of year brings many showers to The Sunshine Town. I'll be returning to jeans. shoes, and a light jacket instead of the shorts and sandals that have become much more to my liking. I'll be ribbed as I shiver if the temperatures are less than 70 degrees, "That Southern weather is making you soft." I'll laugh and say, "Come enjoy the heat during the Florida summer days." We'll see who's soft and call it a draw.
If you are in Newport on May 11th & 12th, join me and other native writers at the Richards Free Library. We'll share stories and laughs. If you want to join a workshop, register here.
I've Been Writing
It's been a while sine I've shared any first drafts with you all. My apologies, between a busy Spring with graphic design services and efforts to complete my first collection of poetry, and a chapbook, I've fallen behind on my website updates. Here's hoping that this new blog entry changes that as I move forward. Without further ado, here a few micro-poems that I've written over the past month.
Resist by Robert Stanhope
and, you too,
I Fall for Autumn by Robert Stanhope
The shining colors
of Autumn's leaves
seduce me home.
Word Therapy by Robert Stanhope
I believe I've written through the pain, my pen no longer bleeds to the page.
Falling In Love by Robert Stanhope
You can't fall in love without taking a risk with two hearts.
Emotional Deliveries by Robert Stanhope
Flowers were delicately placed
into a slender vase,
taking great care to preserve
the emotions clinging to each soft petal.
Writer and photographer.