Introducing Pen Your Ten, A Writing Prompt

Introducing Pen Your Ten, A Writing Prompt

I am very excited to announce the inception of a writing prompt and new adventure I am undertaking beginning April 1. It is titled Pen Your Ten and if you’d allow me, I’d like to tell you a bit of its back story and of its purpose.

In 2013 I was on a journey of publishing my first novel and in the throes of having my manuscript edited. To say I learned a lot about my writing within that first edit is an understatement. I discovered quickly by way of what I called the handwriting of the devil (those red love notes on the sidebar my editor would leave me) that I had a love affair with many words. That is, the usage of the same words repeatedly. Words that served absolutely no purpose to move my storyline along. Words that couldn’t even be described as darlings. They were page fillers. Dead zones. Useless.

It is around this time that I discovered the writing community on Twitter. More specifically, the writing and poetry prompts of Twitter. For those of you that might not be familiar with Twitter, each post or “tweet” you create is limited to 140 characters. A lightbulb clicked on. I could totally use this to strengthen my writing. What a great tool to eliminate useless words and get to the point in order to create an interesting story or inspiring piece of poetry.

I instantly fell in love with the idea and connected with several different prompting hosts. One of those prompters was a woman who I formed quite a friendship with and later would dedicate my second poetry book, Delicate Doses to. Her name was Janie and her writing prompt was entitled, HangTenStories, a daily prompt to inspire a story or poem in using only ten words.

On a personal level she reminded me of my grandmother not only in her physical appearance but also in her demeanor. On a writing level, I admired her kindness and support within the writing community and her dedication to hosting a prompt and providing so many with inspiration for years.

Sadly she contracted COVID and it acted quickly, ultimately taking her life. So many of us within the writing community were devastated from her sudden death. I unfortunately found myself with no desire to write. Inspiration had left me. I mourned for a month, unable to participate in any kind of writing nor the desire to do so for in participating with her prompt I learned just how much I loved the concept of simplicity in words. Less became more and I woke every morning to her prompt and nearly every day made it part of my routine. Its absence, her absence became this void I couldn’t fill.

Then slowly slowly I felt a little spark, enough to get me to start reading again. Then slowly slowly that spark became a flame and I found myself writing again. It wasn’t long after this that I began to consider creating my own ten- word prompt to carry on the legacy of what she left behind. With the support and encouragement from friends and fellow writers within the community, I made the decision to begin this new journey.

For now, I plan to only make it available on Twitter but I may carry it over to Instagram in the future. At its inception, I plan to share words twice weekly, on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s where writers can create as they become inspired. No expectations. Simply, a free space to create with the challenge of only using ten words.

I’m walking into the unknown with this and as a Mom that works full time outside of my home, time has always been a challenge for me even to write. However, I felt I needed to do this, for myself and in my small way, a way to honor my friend. I don’t know what the future holds with this, but for now, I’m excited to start this new journey as reading other writers affords me such inspiration and helps strengthen my own writing. If you’d like to participate you can click on the logo below and it will take you to the Pen Your Ten Twitter page where prompts will be penned at the top of the page for that day.

I hope to see you there!

Friends of Pen Your Ten

winter gown

winter gown

she dreams of serengeti
in the folds of her winter gown

where kings and queens cross winds in fertile bliss

parading in raffia robes and organic crown

she nests in the blue of its iris
as amber breath climbs the limbs of every tree,

her eyes rest upon the naked scars of the acacia

to her, a most treasured filigree

with cautious lips, she grazes the constellations
of its time

tracing the curve of its every year

each line fortelling of a resilience

of an unchained wildness to persevere

treading within its thrumming abyss 

the fragrance of time stands still

as she drinks of that it holds hidden

in slow doses it does reveal

as copper kisses the horizon

she falls into its lean
the roar of the forest then
claims the beast in she

she dreams of serengeti

in the folds of her winter gown

as the roar of the forest then

stirs eyes awake anext her waiting crown

Treading The Abyss - Mimi Page 

This piece came to me in a dream. I shared a bit of it on Twitter but wanted to expand it to the depth of how it unfolded in my dream. I don’t dream often, but when I do, I get magicial visions such as this. I’ve never visited Africa but I’ve watched countless documentaries as well as pictures that reveal the beautifully wild, unchained landscape that is the Serengeti. Perhaps this was a sign that one day I shall be given the opportunity to do so. Thank you for reading.

lilacs and wine

lilacs and wine

fear my foe,

in every opportunity

to wane the wine of me

to pluck the lilacs i breathe

to drink this every possibility

that soaks my flesh

in feathery

fear my foe,

that tries
that lies

to ground this me

to clip my wings

this me that need not close her eyes

to hear the river sing

this me that finds her light

in darkest of night

for it is there (i know for i’ve heard it so)

where the silence

befriends the black bird

in solitary flight

fear my foe,

that mutes my reflection

that starves my every thought

casts out its anchor

in my tides of low

for fear my foe

my hard core lover

is not quite ready to let me go

       Nina Simone - Lilac Wine