Monday, February 28, 2011

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, February 28

It's Monday, the sun is shining, it's the last day of February, the Spring issue of Mia is being distributed, and I'm working with my dog at my feet. She snores, but I find it an acceptable accompaniment to my fingers clicking away on the keyboard. So in honor of Grace, my nine-month-old black lab, here is your writing prompt for today:

Write a story from the perspective of your favorite childhood pet. Make sure to include details about how the pet sees you and your family.

Happy Monday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, February 21

Some Mondays are harder than others. We had snow here for a week and a half, so life came to a grinding halt. It was kind of nice, I have to admit. Several friends and I agreed that being trapped in your house can be quite productive: no meetings, errands, school, social events. I got cleaning and work done, took some naps, learned how to do most of the exercises on my Wii Fit, and checked several need-to-see-movies off my list. But then the sun came out and the race was on to make up for lost time. Now it's Monday again and I don't feel quite as rested as I did last Monday. Sometimes it's good to take a deep breath before we begin. If you're feeling like me, here is a writing prompt to wake you up and get you going today:

Sit in total silence for five minutes and observe things around you. Write a story about the sense of awareness this brings you.

Happy Monday!

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, February 14

Happy Monday!
It's the beginning of a new week and the middle of the month of February. Valentine's Day, 2011. You can be as ambivalent as you want about Valentine's Day, but it looms large in the stores as soon as the after-Christmas sale items have been picked through and whisked away. Suddenly, red and pink lace hearts are everywhere and we're hit with reasons to buy chocolate, jewelry, flowers and cards that sing. Not to sound too humbug, but I don't get terribly caught up in the commercialism of Valentine's Day. I do, however, love the opportunity to remember to be grateful that I have people to love, most notably my husband. So we do a little Valentine's dinner and buy each other a funny card. But mostly we share memories of our lives over the past several decades and talk about how we would be different people if we hadn't been introduced by a mutual friend on that windy day in front of the college dormitory.

A long introduction, but here is your writing prompt for Valentine's Day:

Write about the first time you laid eyes on the person you love the most. Describe the setting, the person, the moment.

I'm collecting the responses to the writing prompts you are sending because changes are coming to the blog soon. I have been doing most of the writing, but I'd like to turn that over to you. Just as Mia is your magazine, this blog belongs to you also. We want it to be an extension of the magazine and of the storytelling that we publish in print. So keep sending your stories in! They don't have to be long, just a few paragraphs. You can email your writing to me at

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Monday Morning Writing Prompt, February 8

No need to check your calendars. February 8 IS Tuesday. That's today. Snow has a way of making the days run together.
So here is your writing prompt for today:

Clare Boothe Luce told President Kennedy that "every man is a sentence." At Mia, we would tweak it to say, "Every person is a sentence."

If you were a sentence, what would it be? Write your sentence using third person.

Watch the video below about Daniel Pink's book Drive and think about your own sentence. We would love to read yours. Send it to us! Or you can comment here.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Last week, Lisa promised a favorite photo and the story behind it. Here it is:

In 1958, my mother developed an unquenchable thirst. She and my father had been married for only a few years when she was diagnosed with diabetes, but this photo was taken a year before that diagnosis. They were living in Baltimore, Maryland in a garage apartment. My parents were small town kids, transplanted from Kibler, Arkansas where they had grown up only a half-mile from one another. She was 20 years old in this photo, newly released from the edges of impoverished backwoods Arkansas and still a bit dazed by the world. I love this photo without reason. She doesn't look particularly happy or unhappy, but it's not her face that captures me in this photo. It's her leg.

The disease that she was diagnosed with about 11 months after this photo took her life, but first it took her legs. She battled diabetes from the age of 21, but it was the last ten years of her life that it landed its cruelest blows. Her kidneys stopped working and she was kept alive by dialysis. About the time her body seemed to have gone its distance with the dialysis, she noticed an odd blister on her foot. That was August of 2007. By March of the following year, doctors had amputated both of her legs. Along with breaking apart and killing vital organs, diabetes causes neuropathy - nerve damage that decreases blood flow. Her lower limbs were literally starved to death of life-giving blood and they became an enemy that had to be separated from the rest of her body. In two separate surgeries that were shockingly quick and simple, my mother's legs were removed.

When I look at this photo, I remember a statement she delivered a few days before she died. "I have been blessed every day of my life," she said with absolute sincerity. And on her face was that same expression that I see in this photo. She faced life with determination, her jaw set with it and a look in her eyes that meant business. She was tough to the end - never bitter, always grateful. She felt blessed, and in proclaiming it, even when her beautiful legs were gone, she was showing us all how to live above the difficult circumstances of our lives, and in the end, defeat them.