Happy belated St. Patrick’s Day! Did you wear green yesterday? Wearing green on St. Patrick’s Day is said to give you good luck…or at least help you avoid a pinch! Find a four-leaf clover or spot a pot-of-gold-guarding leprechaun and you might get a bit of good luck, too!
People often talk about the luck of the Irish but, as it turns out, there is little agreement on the true origin of the phrase. Some trace the phrase back to the United States where, during the exploration for gold in the west, there were a large number of Irish people who got lucky and found their “pot o’ gold” in the gold fields of California. Some feel it simply means that the Irish are inherently lucky, that they are able to land on their feet when bad circumstances occur. Others look at Irish history, fraught with what many would consider to be bad luck, and think the phrase is actually intended to be used ironically.
Do you think of yourself as being lucky? Maybe you could write about a day when you were particularly lucky. Do you consider yourself superstitious? Do you remember a time when you hoped for a bit of good luck to come your way?
Perhaps you don’t believe in the idea of events occurring because of luck or chance. Maybe you prefer to think of yourself as being fortunate or blessed, rather than lucky. Maybe you believe that everything that happens in life is simply due to cause and effect…no luck involved. Today, I want you to write about luck.
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People often tell great stories about their first jobs. A woman I know paid her way through college working in a saw blade factory. Her job was to package the circular saw blades using a machine that adhered the plastic front to its cardboard backing. It was just a summer job, but it made a lasting impact on her and the way she viewed the world. Do you have any family members or friends who had an unusual job or who shared particularly interesting work-related stories with you?
Did you ever take on an odd job or a temporary position to help you pay the bills? What was it like? What did you learn from the experience? Is the place still in business? Maybe you had a chore or job around the house that was a bit unusual in some way. Tell us about your oddest job.
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Today, I want you to write about your childhood bedtime routine. When you were a child, how did you prepare for sleep? Did you have a bedtime routine that you followed religiously? Did you have a specific bedtime or were you allowed to stay up late? What was your childhood bed like? Did you wear a robe or slippers before bed? Maybe you had an extra soft nightgown, a comfy pair of pajamas, or a favorite set of sheets. Describe them.
Tell us about the time right before you went to sleep. Did someone read a bedtime story to you? Who read to you the most? Did you have a favorite bedtime story? What was that story about, and why did you love it so much? Did you say prayers or listen to a special lullaby? Did you share a room with a sibling and stay up whispering in the dark?
Tell us what it was like in your bed. Did you have a hard time getting to sleep as a child, or did you fall asleep immediately? Did you use a nightlight, or did you want it completely dark in your room? Tell us about what nighttime sounds you used to hear and what may have scared you as you tried to fall asleep. Did you have vivid dreams? Write all about your childhood bedtime memories.
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Welcome to day seven of the Spring 2015 Seven-Day Writing Challenge. I can hardly believe a week has passed since we started this journey together. Remember, this is just the beginning! You can keep up this daily writing habit, armed with new ideas sparked from your life’s many rich memory mines. I truly hope this week has been meaningful and worthwhile for you and that it helps sustain your writing practice. With that, why don’t you find out what you’ll be writing about today!
The prompts for this challenge will be provided by video. I have included a written version of the prompt, but I recommend that you watch the video because I’ve added a bit more information and a few writing tips in the videos that are not included in the text. With that said, here’s your day-seven prompt!
If you are unable to watch the video for some reason, you can click here to get an abbreviated text version of the day-seven prompt of the Spring 2015 Seven-Day Writing Challenge.
Today’s prompt is a little different! I’m going to give you the beginning of a sentence and I want you to fill in the blank. You can do this spontaneously and in order as you read them or you can think about them before you begin to write. Here you go!
I wonder why _________________________.
I wonder where ________________________.
I wonder what _________________________.
I wonder when ________________________.
I wonder if ___________________________.
I wonder who _________________________.
I wonder whether ______________________.
Maybe one of them stands out more than another. If so, feel free to write about just that one. These are simply suggestions to get the juices flowing. There you go! What do you wonder?
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Recently, my husband Bob and I spent the day at Busch Gardens in Tampa. Against the backdrop of screams from riders of the insane rollercoasters whipping through the sky and rocketing back down to earth, we visited the animals—tigers, monkeys, giraffes, zebras, all kinds of animals. We even fed leaves of Romaine lettuce to a giraffe named Ruby. The animals were much more fun for us than being scared out of our wits and losing our lunch.
Seeing the animals made me think about some of my early encounters with animals of the wild kind. As a young child, I know I went to the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans, but I can’t remember much about that trip. Then, there were visits to other zoos and wildlife sanctuaries where I once rode on the neck of an elephant and took a spin on the back of a tortoise. We didn’t go very fast or get very far. I had a close encounter with an ostrich one time, and even the other day, a white tiger jumped at the glass and roared at me as I stood alone at a viewing area, taking a picture. That got my attention. Each one of those animal encounters could be its own story.
So what about you? What experiences have you had with wild animals or visits to the zoo? Does any particular animal encounter stand out in your mind? If so, what type of animal did it involve? What happened? What made this moment memorable for you? Maybe your animal encounter wasn’t in a zoo; maybe it was in the wild. Then write about that. Pick a point in time when your life intersected with that of an animal and tell us about it.
This is going to be interesting. Take a sheet of paper or open a new document on your computer. Skip a couple of lines, then number your paper, going down, from one to twenty. At the top of your paper, write these words: I want… Then start writing a list of twenty things you want.
Your list can include anything you desire—tangible, intangible, realistic, unrealistic, anything you can think of that you’d like to have. Then pick one of the items on your list and tell us about this thing you want. What is it? Why do you want it? What would having it give you? What would you do with it? Ready? Go.
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Recently, my husband Bob and I started doing jigsaw puzzles, electronically, on my new tablet. We’ve been on an African safari, visited beautiful waterfalls, mountains, and deserts all over the world, and picked gorgeous flowers of all colors and shapes. Even though the pieces don’t come out of a cardboard box and get set up on a board that we can slide under the couch when company comes, I still have all the same feelings I did as a kid—a sense of accomplishment when I close in the frame, excitement at finding an elusive piece, joy in watching the image take shape.
The first jigsaw puzzle I remember putting together was of a beautiful palomino horse, posed with its front hoof raised and leg slightly bent. The palomino was my grandfather’s favorite horse. He bought me the puzzle, and we sat close to each other on the couch as we spread the pieces out on a board resting on the coffee table. We put that puzzle together and took it apart until the pieces of the picture came off the cardboard backing. It’s a sweet memory I hold close to my heart.
What about you? Did you put jigsaw puzzles together when you were a child? Did you like this activity? Did you have a favorite puzzle you chose to work on over and over again? Did anyone help you with the puzzles? Did you have a strategy in putting them together or did you just go for it? When is the last time you’ve done a jigsaw puzzle, electronic or otherwise? So for today, write about jigsaw puzzles.
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Let’s use this writing time to get to know each other a bit better. I’m going to ask you a series of ten questions. Write the first answer that comes to mind. Don’t ponder your answers. They aren’t those kinds of questions, but your responses do reveal a good bit about you.
Once you’ve answered all the questions, look them over. Are there any answers you’d like to change? If so, go ahead. I’ll let you. But remember, often times our first answer is the most honest. Then, write a paragraph about the person you’ve described in your answers. You may focus on one answer that captured your attention or discuss what these responses reveal about you and the person you are. Maybe one of the questions triggered a memory. If so, write about that. Let your writing tell us a bit more about the wonderful human creation you are. Ready? Let’s go.
- What time did you get up this morning?
- What was the last film you saw at the movies?
- What is your favorite television show?
- What do you usually have for breakfast?
- What food do you dislike?
- Do you own any animals? If so, what kind?
- When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?
- What is your favorite flower?
- Chocolate or vanilla?
- What is the best quality you have?
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Let’s work on a listing exercise today. You know how much I love lists.
First, set a timer for five minutes and make a list of all the countries you’ve visited. Think of ones that were destinations where you actually saw some of the sights, not just those in which you explored the airport.
Now, set your timer for five minutes a second time, and make a list of all the countries you’d like to visit before you go on that final trip. Once you’ve made your list, write about why you’d like to go to each country and what in particular you want to see and experience in that place.
Before you call the travel agent, write about your dream trip. If money and time weren’t factors, where would you go? What would you do there? How would experiencing this trip impact your life? What would you gain? Tell us about this magical trip, so we can go along with you.