TAG | writing prompts
Sometimes we wish or dream for something that may take us to a place we didn’t expect to be. The prompt for this poem was “Some dreams are dangerous.” The poem was written by WATL member Mary Fox, who is a very gifted poet.
cloud our morning coffee
with foggy intentions
then exhale distorting mists,
cloaking barriers to blind us.
We grope through them
and find bruised knees.
Some dreams are seductive sirens;
they coo and entice us with sweet promises.
They are heart-pounding kisses,
embroiled in passion,
depleting us, infecting us, and leaving us bereft.
Some dreams grow relentless;
unheeding, treacherous vortexes,
they tornado around us, spinning us
dizzy in swirling kaleidoscope potential.
Some dreams are just reckless.
They hijack us at crossroads,
and, brakeless, run stoplights,
and ping-pong the curves.
Some dreams just slither round our hearts,
and wrapping themselves in
squeeze us breathless.
just too dangerous
©2014 Mary Fox
©2014 Photo of Lake Superior taken by Rosalie Sanara Petrouske
Last summer Writing at the Ledges member, Rosalie Sanara Petrouske, spent one week staying in a cabin in the Porcupine Mountains in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. This reflection was written for the “Pile of Pebbles” writing prompt. After a brief hiatus, we are returning to our member’s musings with a promise to be more diligent in our postings.
Along the coast of Lake Superior, there are secret coves and inlets where pebbles are stacked and polished at the shoreline, washed clean from the lake’s tides, time-worn, spit onto the sand and then washed out again not to return for centuries. This summer as I walked the beaches in the Porcupine Mountains, I spent several hours one afternoon searching for agates.
Agates are not like the gems we normally think of, banded with color, crafted by the skill of the lapidary—they are rather plain, golden brown or marked by russet hues—easily mistaken for quartz or chert, you have to know how to find them, have an eye for unseen beauty, and the ability to pick out the subtle streaks of tan, yellow or orange imbedded deep in their opaque surface. The translucency is rarely obvious unless the stone is wet.
As the waves rolled to the edges of my toes, I bent over, scanning piles of pebbles, picking some up, turning them over in my palm, tossing others aside. The sun beat down on my shoulders, even now several months gone by—I can still hear the soft rumble and splash of water, a seagull sailing overhead, calling out, smell the air filled with the green fragrance of spruce, cedar, and mosses melded and drying on driftwood—the deeper depths of the lake itself—sun drenched beach grass, and algae floating in the silt at lake’s bottom.
Finally, I found one lovely stone, an agate I am almost certain; it glows with stripes of red and burnt sienna when I hold it up, still wet, and place it in my palm. I will keep it to remember this peaceful afternoon—to remind me that not everything I see is always clear at first—some facets are hidden and take time to find—such as knowing who my true friends are, being thankful for my family, or being appreciative for the small kindnesses in my life. When I am living day-to-day, I don’t always notice a sunset, or the dragonfly that lands on the porch railing, and then waits a moment before flying off.
There is much to recommend for an afternoon sitting on a picnic table in a spot of shade, a breeze caressing my shoulders as I write these words. There is much to recommend for the simplicity of minute moments in time.
Photo Credit: “A Pyramid of Pebbles”
©2014 Rosalie Sanara Petrouske
A few days ago we posted the first Wading Through Water story by Ashtyn Rapp. Today we offer another one written in response to that prompt, by WATL member Shelby Pontius. Shelby has had the distinction of being the youngest member of our group, since she joined while still in high school. Now she can be found walking the campus of Michigan State University where she studies fisheries and wildlife.
Wading Through Water
By Shelby Pontius
“Tyler!” I shouted as the beach ball sailed right over my head, landing with a wet smack in the lake far behind me. I glared at him as I turned to see where the ball had landed and of course the waves were large and crashing onto the beach as well as carrying the ball out further. They were probably cold waves too as lake Huron was apt to be. I turned back and surveyed my circle of cousins hoping for a friendly volunteer, but being family there was of course not one.
“Fine!” I said, stomping out into the water and trying not to flinch when the cool water hit my knees, then my waist. I had almost waded out far enough to grab it when a rogue gust of wind blew it out a little further.
“Of course.” I muttered, I could just picture all of my cousins laughing behind me.
I stared down the ball determined that this time I would grab it. I bent my knees, waited for a wave to pass and leapt straight for the ball, landing face first into the water. I should’ve known. I sat at the bottom with my face in the sand for a minute, cursing my ill luck before popping my head back up and smacking it right into the ball. I stared at it shocked it was right there before reaching and grabbing ahold, but instead of grabbing onto the rough plastic, I grabbed onto a hand. I let go immediately to look up at who was stealing my ball after I had tried so hard to catch it.
“Hey,” came a deep voice.
I looked up into the face of an angel, okay, maybe that was exaggerating, but he was cute.
“H-h-hi.” I managed to squeak out.
He smiled and I melted a little inside, “Can I play?”
“Uh, yea, sure.” I smiled to myself, yup, sure was a good thing I went to get that ball.
At the last Writing at the Ledges meeting, attendees were challenged to write in response to pictures provided by Rosalie Petrouske, WATL founder. The prompt was Wading Through Water, given to accompany the pictures. This short, short story by member Ashtyn Rapp is the first of several brief pieces written in response to the prompt that we will feature here.
by Ashtyn Rapp
Noah dragged his feet through the muddy river bank, trying his best to mask his footprints. He hesitated at the water’s edge. It was late fall, almost winter really and the water was sure to be freezing. That morning when he had slipped from bed just before the sun began to rise there had been whorls of frost on the window pane and the tip of each blade of grass was silver with frozen moisture. “Noah!” His mother’s frantic voice broke the still and a flock of mourning doves rose from the trees not far behind him. Taking a deep breath, Noah began wading through the water. At its deepest the frigid water was thigh-high and the current was stronger than he remembered from the times he had swum in the river’s wide arms in the lazy heat of summer. He struggled against the pulling water, trying to hurry. Reaching the other side, he scrambled up the embankment and began running to where he had seen the soldiers camping the day before. His feet sunk into the wet soil and there was a constant crackle of leaves crunching underfoot, punctuated by an occasional stick cracking like a gunshot. It didn’t matter anymore. He was almost there. “Noah,” his mother cried again, but less desperately, as if she already knew it was too late.
The following story was written by Lori Hudson, a long-time member of Writing at the Ledges, at our May meeting where we were given the prompt: “She never should have gotten that tattoo.” It was such a great story, we decided to post it here for your reading pleasure. We hope it will inspire you to write your own story in response to the prompt.
by Loraine J. Hudson
Marika is my best friend. She will always be my best friend, and I will support her no matter what— no matter what she says, where she goes, or what she does.
She is the kindest person. She loves puppies, recycles her neighbor’s newspapers, carries spiders outside rather than kill them, marches against war. She even makes delicious brownies.
That is why when I walked down West Street with her yesterday, I glared at the mail delivery man when he burst out laughing.
And even though I think I’m a pretty kind person myself, I said, “Mind your own business!” to Mrs. Brogan when she said pityingly to Marika, “Oh honey…”
And I yelled, “Shut up!” at the college kids whistling and calling, “Hey, baby!”
Marika’s face was flaming red when that happened.
Marika has just one fault, and that is that she can’t spell. She is such a terrible speller that I guess she didn’t realize “peace” is not spelled P-I-E-C-E.
Yes, Marika is my best friend, and I will support her no matter what she does, but she never should have gotten that tattoo.
To learn more about the author, click here.