I used to be a writer. A paid writer. No, really. When I was a kid, I wrote short fairy tales. Illustrated them, too. And I sold them to friends for fifty cents. I could have bought most of a gallon of gas for that back then, if I had been driving. Little young for that; couldn’t have reached the pedals. Not if I wanted to be able to see, too.

The Last Matinee
I performed on that stage. It was a happy place.

I sold four or five of those back then. I wrote sequels by request. And at school, I wrote stories and poems, essays and articles. I had teachers challenge me, unwilling to believe an 8-year-old had the vocabulary I did. I stood at the teacher’s desk, explaining what each word she didn’t believe I knew meant, using them in context outside of the paper I’d written, and faced by repeated demands to tell her my mother had written it for me. She ignored the previous teachers who recognized me early on. She wasn’t the only one, either. Fortunately, though, they were few and far between. By the time I got to high school, though, the cat was out of the bag. I had to live up to something. Especially since I went to the first school in the country to marry an arts and an academic curriculum. Long school days. Wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Initially, I was focused on theater and writing. I was in a choir, too; I’d been in a choir of some sort since I was 8. But by then, I had several journals for random thoughts, books of poetry I wrote and illustrated, and a few I bound – with yarn, but still…

I’d written more stories, mostly short stories, and more poems. I wanted to branch out, to see what I could do with my time and a pen and paper. I wanted to get into journalism, write for a newspaper or television station. Given the way the investigative reporting and writing have gone, I’d probably have been out of work by now anyway, so I guess that worked out. Sorta.

Newport on the Levee
Wonder what I could write about this.

I miss my writing, though. I have arthritis in my lower back, and it affects my hands and arms to the point where I can only write with a pen for so long. I use almost exclusively gel pens because they write more smoothly. that’s hard for me, because even though I can use a QWERTY keyboard without anything but the home keys marked, there’s something about putting pen to paper that feels so much more satisfying.

Still, I tried. I have a journal I’ve been writing in for over a decade. I bought it shortly before the new millennium began. Oh, and I used it. It’s a large book, no lines or anything, but something like 200 pages in a spiral-bound book, thick, hard, cardboard covers on front and back protecting it. There are still several pages left, so I think actually it’s closer to 300, but that’s not important. It’s nearly full. That’s what’s important. Sketches and drawings, even some painting, stories, story starters, and just what came out of my head.

But I still don’t write as much as I’d like. That’s part of why I started keeping a blog in the first place. I didn’t do it for the followers; I did it for me. For those of you who read, I am grateful. Gives me the incentive to keep doing it. But I run out of ideas. So, I thought I’d try following writing prompts. This is prompt #162:

Bradford Pear
Early summer blooms

Use all of the following in a poem: “a culture of solitude,” “faithful blue sky,” and “where we still discover.”

Sticky, sweet, hot and loud
Junebugs bumble through the sky
Cicadas chirp loudly from the trees
Stand outside, listen, feel
the world where we
discover the beauty
of a sultry night
the return of the faithful blue sky
the smell of the rich, black earth
the joy of being with others,
or creating your own
*culture of solitude
Fleeting, flying, passing quickly,
Each day is longer, hotter, more.
Then fall arrives, and it begins to fade.

Yeah, off the top of my head. I don’t think Maya Angelou has anything to worry about.


*It’s poetry. A little poetic license isn’t exactly out of character, y’know.


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