Archive for June, 2015

PROMPTuesday #238: I Survived…

Monday, June 8th, 2015

Upon looking back on one’s life, one might marvel at how he (or she) survived certain events. For instance, one’s 46-year-old self may wonder why his (or her) 18-year-old version got into a Tijuana stranger’s car at 2AM in a drunken bid to get back to the U.S. before curfew. Or a person may rethink walking down a dead-end alley near Chicago’s Cabrini Green in 1996’s pitch black, heading straight toward the voices of ne’er-do-well youth wielding baseball bats.


That same person could possibly NOW be baffled at his (or her) extreme willingness to stay platonically in a Baja California hotel room with a shifty someone he (or she) just met because his (or her) best friend asked him (or her) to occupy him (or her) self for a few hours while his (or her) best friend entertained a certain young man (non-platonically). Could be one, now a capable and sane adult, now questions why he (or she) spent so much damn time in Tijuana.


“One” may (or may not be) me. I mean him (or her).


Which begs the question and this week’s PROMPTuesday creative writing prompt:


What have you done that you can’t believe you actually survived?


You can be serious or funny with your response. I’m pretty confident that if you’re over the age of 20, you’ve got an answer or two that applies.


Here are the PROMPTuesday rules:

  • Respond to the prompt by midnight Tuesday
  • Post your response in the comments section.
  • Write your response in 10 minutes of less – don’t stylize it or agonize over it or overthink it.

I’m already imaginating my response. And guess what? It didn’t happen in Tijuana!


How to Get Your Child Interested in Netflix, I Mean History

Friday, June 5th, 2015



Booger composes her outfits like a symphony. Each element fuses to the whole and results in a perfectly constructed blend of beauty. Somehow, in her hands, stripes go with plaid, and scarves go with summer. Her masterpieces take time and plenty of brainstorming, but she approaches each wardrobe arrangement with a positive attitude and heaping doses of imagination.


The same cannot be said of her homework.


Instead, she rushes through math, mopes into social studies, and postpones reading.


No amount of coaxing or threatening motivates her. She’d just as soon eat 20 worms with a spider-leg chaser than practice multiplication. For a parent such as myself who approaches Tiger Mom status with schoolwork prioritization, this lack of interest in anything studious on Booger’s part is disconcerting and aggravating.


Until something amazing happened.


A few weeks ago, one book captured her attention – the Ripley’s “Believe it Or Not” series – and one story in particular – the Titanic.


She couldn’t get enough. “Who found the Titanic shipwreck?” “How did the iceberg get there?” “Did anyone survive?” “Did you know it set sail on my birthday?” “Why did the band play while the ship sank?”


We nurtured her curiosity. I purchased Kindle book after Kindle book to feed her interest. We Googled Titanic facts. We talked about intrepid shipwreck enthusiasts, ice formations, and metallurgy. We downloaded Titanic on Netflix.



 (I’m a member of the Netflix #StreamTeam)


THAT turned out to be a roaring success. She viewed the three-hour epic again and again. Each time, Celine Dion’s voice nearly drained my earholes of all life, but this was for my kid’s education, dammit.


The first time she watched the drama unfold, she ran to me after, excited and completely out of breath.


“Mom? I’m going to put Titanic facts in my journal and write a book!”


Next I saw, she was running down the stairs two at a time, arms filled with pencils, notepaper, a desk lamp, paper clips, and Harry Potter glasses. Apparently, writers wear glasses. (I’ve found that to be true.)


She set up shop at the dining room table, and after five minutes, decided she needed to wear more studious clothes.


You can take the outfit off the girl, but you can’t take the girl off the outfit.




I’m just thankful she felt moved by history for a brief moment. At least enough to delve into actually reading and wanting to know more about something. All it takes is happening upon an interesting fact or picture or book or movie that strikes a chord with your child. And if you’re raising a fashionista, flash her a pic or two of the Titanic necklace. That ought to do it.


And if you really want to get your kid’s head wrapped around the Titanic for learning purposes, here’s some non-snarky ideas:


Read the Titanic story in Ripley’s.

If facts are packaged funly (made-up word alert), it can make all the difference in how kids receive them.


Buy or download “I Survived: The Sinking of the Titanic.”

If true stories of history are packaged excitingly (what? no underline inferring this is also a made-up word?), then kids are triply interested.


Watch a documentary.

I believe the last Titanic survivor recently passed away, but to watch a documentary where you see the survivors’ faces and hear their words, is a powerful curiosity-piquer (yep, made-up) indeed.


Read a bit on the Robert Ballard discovery.

There’s something about this man. His passion for historical significance and exploration is infectious.


See the exhibition if you can.

The Titanic “The Artifact” Exhibition was in San Diego a few years ago and I missed it. Now that Booger’s mind pump is primed, I think it’s time to go.


Watch the movie as a treat for vibe and mood and sense of history.

And for the necklace-ness. (Had to end on a made-up word).


PROMPTuesday #237: Regretful

Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015

Smashing fears - PROMPTuesday


In 2008 I “launched” PROMPTuesday, a series of weekly creative writing prompts designed to stoke the writing fire. The whole idea was to get me – and whoever read my blog – writing without the mind weight of perfection, judgment, or inner criticism.


As I wrote back then, my intention was to encourage all current writers, wannabe writers, and writers-for-the-day to respond to the prompt by “free-writing” for 10 minutes, and posting their submission in the below comments section for self-expression, encouragement, or just because why not.


And many of us did write, and shared their words here. Some of my favorite prompts remain the ones that got us to dig deep, or just throw a little dirt at the evil internal editor:


Like this one.




This one.


After several years of continuing to post PROMPTuesdays, I abandoned the prospect a few months ago in favor of going crazy at work and attending to life’s details. BUT, I keenly felt the loss and the existential pounding in my gut brought me back.

And so it is Tuesday and I once again return with a writing prompt.


As always, here the rules:


  • Respond to this prompt by midnight Tuesday:
    What would be your greatest regret if you didn’t accomplish it before you die?
  • Post your response in the comments section.
  • Write your response in 10 minutes of less – don’t stylize it or agonize over it or overthink it.


Like is my norm, maudlin and melancholy marks the prompts. Because I’m pretty sure that’s what drives me to write.


I’ll be back tonight with my answer.