Category Archives: Weekend Warrior

Weekend Warrior 3/28/2014

weekend warrior copy

Have you tried writing a tanka, ghazal, or triolet? This week, try working in a form that’s unfamiliar to you. You can even adapt an existing draft to fit a form, or come up with your own constraints and pattern. For a list of forms and their descriptions, consult the list of Poetic Forms and Techniques compiled by the Academy of American Poets.

Prompt from Poets and Writers The Time is Now

Happy Writing!

Weekend Warrior 3/21/2014

ww3 copy

This week’s writing prompt comes from Reed Bye’s Contemplative Poetics seminar.

  • Take a walk, 30 minutes to an hour, open-minded, noticing but releasing thoughts, perceptions, feelings to stay present with the immediate environment. After returning, write the walk from immediate recollection of its mental images in 15-20 minute sitting. Look at again a few hours later; make any minor additions, corrections that come spontaneously to mind.


  • Go outside; look openly; horizon, ground, sky. Turning slowly, stop at four cardinal directions, repeating the process at each stop for one minute. Extend into sense perceptions. Feel what you feel; see what you see, before you name it. Come back in & write.

Happy writing!

Weekend Warrior 2/21/2014

weekend warrior copy

Prompt submitted to JKS by H.J VandeRiet

This week, take a look through your family history. Ask your relatives, read old journals, find a genealogy website if that’s helpful. Find out what your family is known for.

Consider where you come from. How does where you’re from affect where you’re going? What does it say about you? If your ancestors were famous for something, how did that impact the world? Did they make a difference? How can knowing where your lineage lie help inform your writing today?

Ask yourself what it means to have a heritage. Think about heirlooms, and whether people consider them important today. Does heritage have the same weight for you that it had for your parents? Your grand-parents? Your great-grandparents?

Write a creative biography about your ancestors or a family member. Be sure to play with form and content.


Weekend Warrior 2/14/2014

imageCARWV2IZ copy

From Michelle Naka Pierce’s Writers in Community course:

Prompt by Katie Dyer, MFA candidate at Jack Kerouac School.

Think a loss, of any size.  Look at the stages of grief on the Kubler-Ross map.  Re-label these stages based on moments of change – about how you or your character moved through the loss.  Use each label as a starting point to write from.  You can continue to write about the original subject of loss or whatever comes to mind.


Leslie Scalapino writes, “writing can be a state that is seen entirely at once” (Scalapino 207).  And, Melissa Buzzeo’s writes (From Want And Sound), “I opened my mouth, I rushed toward story.  As you are incomparable” (Buzzeo 59).  In an attempt to tell the untellable story rush toward the image you want to put on the page.  Sometimes when you eat your story the past is broken down into fragments.  Events, images, and sensations are chewed up and intermingle with the present of yourself as well as the present of culture and society.  Feel free to ‘mess around’ with the order of your work.

Happy writing!

Weekend Warrior 1/31/2014

typed weekend warrior copy

From Michelle Naka Pierce’s Writers in Community course:

Prompt by Joseph Mark Navarro, MFA candidate at Jack Kerouac School.

Write in an autobiography, utilizing prose, poetry, hybrid, from the perspective of someone who is no longer alive.  Explore their voice but in the context of being in the present. Write as if they are exploring their own personal history or their own understanding of your mapping project.  The idea is to put yourself outside of your traditional mechanism of internal narrative.  Walk a mile in another’s shoes. Utilize what you have developed this semester in your understanding of the mapping project.  Incorporate if you so wish, images of the map itself; the exploration of magic; language, both academic and vernacular or regional dialect.

Weekend Warrior 1/24/2014

weekend warrior copy

From Michelle Naka Pierce’s Writers in Community course:

Prompt by Kat Fossell, MFA candidate at Jack Kerouac School.

Lie down on your back, somewhere you’ve never lied on your back before. It could be your kitchen floor, an outdoor park, underneath your bed….

As you lay, look up. Look around you. Let your thoughts drift. Try not to focus on anything in particular, but keep observing what you are seeing. After 5-10 minutes, turn on your side if you wish. Look around again. Think about the movement your body made to turn. Think about how your perspective has changed. Think about the turn in a poem, the ‘turn’ in a project, the movement that is needed. Let your thoughts drift.

When you’re ready to come back, do a free write. Try to take up as much space on the page as possible, and try turning the page every so often. Write sideways, up-side-down, however. See if the movement of the page influences a turn in your thought pattern. Your thoughts don’t need to be connected, but they should be given space on the page. When you’re through writing see if you can trace the ‘turn’ in your thinking. See if you can find your fold point.

Happy writing!

Weekend Warrior 12/6/2013

type and coffee copy

From Michelle Naka Pierce’s Writers in Community course:

Prompt by BZ Zionic, MFA candidate at Jack Kerouac School.

Language, for the majority of the world’s speaking cultures, is primarily mapped to the left frontal hemisphere or left frontal lobe.  (Some languages, such as Chinese and Japanese, which utilize pictographic and ideographic characters, do demonstrate some right parietal lobe activity.)  Furthermore, it has long been established that most people tend to belong somewhere along the spectrum of pure verbalizers (left brain) and pure visualizers (right brain) in their object-spatial reasoning.

Consider what it means to process language as a pure visualizer (with the right brain). Can language be experienced the same way our brain processes a picture?  Can it produce evocative, spontaneous reactions just as music is experienced, or as a Rothko exhibit might be?  (As writers, all of you will say yes to these questions, I’m sure.)  In what way can you imagine the different regions of our brain communicating or corresponding?  What brain functions and regions do you expect are involved in your creative process?  How would the imaginative or the creative process be mapped in your head?

Now, consider what writing exercises you might conceive of to access this right brain activity while you are writing.  What techniques, what drills, what practices can you design to stimulate your writing to become less planned, and more spontaneously emotive?  Design at least three writing activities for this purpose.

Happy Writing!