Friday, July 13th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Talismans and Lucky Charms

Picture of an airplane breaking up in the sky.It’s possible I’m dead right now. Check the news. I’ll wait.

Did you see anything about a plane crash? One heading to Oregon from the Eastern Seaboard? If so, I might be on that plane, and therefore dead.

It would also mean that all the lucky charms and talismans I stuffed in my pockets before I left, did not work.

(You might have figured out that I have a fear of flying. I don’t know where it came from. I’ve flown to Europe on more than one occasion, have been up and down the East Coast and as far west as Colorado…and I enjoyed each of those trips. But somewhere along the line, my brain wrinkled.)

I’ve been advised to take a pill and have a drink.

Instead, although I’m not normally a superstitious person, I’m carrying with me:

  1. Several rosaries.
  2. A scapular.
  3. A lucky sea bean.
  4. An acorn.
  5. A wad of Patron Saint, Miraculous and Bleeding Heart medals that I inherited from my grandmother.
  6. Some medals of my own, purchased at the Vatican on Easter Sunday – which makes them holier, right?
  7. A tiny, tiny statue of statue of Saint Christopher, inherited from another grandmother. It’s encased in brass, no larger than a bullet (and very easy to carry in my pocket).
  8. I have also made a promise to donate money to a charity upon my return. Because according to Jewish wisdom, there is extra protection given to someone who is en route to perform such a mitzvah.

If it offers protection. I’m game. I just hope they can all work in harmony. I’d hate for one lucky charm to cancel out another.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about your good luck charm.
  • Take a character in one of your stories and give him a good luck charm. Think of something unusual for the charm or talisman. Write the back story for it: why does he carry this particular item?
  • Write about:
    • a lucky shirt
    • a four-leafed clover or bamboo
    • lucky sigils, crosses, runes or rings
    • a lucky ‘piece’ (a penny)
    • a horseshoe – with the luck run out!
    • lucky runes
    • crickets, lady bugs, dragons, or scarabs
    • acorns
    • a rainbow

  • Find a penny, pick it up
    and all day long, you’ll have good luck!
  • Write about someone who throws a coin down a well, and gets his wish: but not exactly the way he wanted it to happen.
  • “Luck of the Draw,” his tag read. She stared at him, and he stared back. Now how was she going to get him home?
  • …Star had sent to them as its messenger. The bird was stuffed and preserved as a powerful talisman. They thought that an omission of this sacrifice would be followed… ~ From The Golden Bough, 1922. Chapter 3. Human Sacrifices for the Crops by Sir James George Frazer.
  • Write a scene (or more) from the point of view of person who is very superstitious.
  • Luck can change in an instant. Write a scene where a person’s luck changes by the end of it.
  • His mother pleaded for him too, but it was not needed. He had enclosed in his letter the strongest talisman of all, a letter written by Elizabeth in the long ago when we were children together. ~ From The Making of an American, 1901. Chapter V. I go into Business, headlong by Jacob A. Riis.

Good luck!

Friday, July 6th, 2012

Writing Prompt – Woof! The Dog Days are Here

Sliced tomatoes - photo from the ARS Image Gallery, USDAIt’s not even mid-July and the dog days have arrived. The weatherman predicts triple-digit heat today and even hotter triple-digit heat tomorrow.

Makes me wish I were floating on a raft, catching some rays, reading a really good book.

(To be sure, I’d also be wearing a hat and sunglasses and be slathered from head to toe in sunscreen. I don’t tend to burn, but I don’t want shoe-leather skin by the time I’m 50….) 🙂

What do you think of when someone says dog days of summer?

I think of high school summers: lazy days on the hammock, sunning myself on the deck, crazy corn-field parties at night, loud music, driving with the windows down, dancing.

Here’s Your Prompt:

  • Write about what you like to do when it’s too hot too move outside. Or, write about hot-summer memories.
  • Are you completing a character sheet for a work in progress? Write about what your character does/likes/did during long, hot summers.
  • Write about a summer job.
  • A prompt just for today, July 6: On July 6 the first picture post card was made. If you could make a postcard, what picture would you put on it? Who would you send it to? What would you say?
  • The real foundlings, the children of the gutter that are picked up by the police, are the city’s wards. In midwinter, when the poor shiver in their homes, and in the dog-days when the fierce heat and foul air of the tenements smother their babies by thousands, they are found, sometimes three and four in a night, in hallways, in areas and on the doorsteps of the rich, with whose comfort in luxurious homes the wretched mother somehow connects her own misery.

    ~ From: Waifs of the City’s Slums in How the Other Half Lives, Jacob A. Riis, 1890.

  • Dog-days of summer word association. Write whatever comes to mind when you hear one or any of the following words or phrases:
    • lazy days
    • ice cream
    • steamed crabs
    • street festivals
    • swimming
    • water balloon fights
    • tree houses
    • bullfrogs
    • home-grown tomatoes
    • on the beach
    • car washes
    • roller coasters
    • ice cold watermelon
    • open-air concerts
    • berries plucked and eaten off the vine
    • lightning bugs, fireflies, glow worms, dragonflies, June bugs, Japanese beetles, moths, mosquitoes, chiggers, deer flies, hover flies, see-me-nots, bumble bees, ladybugs

  • There in the morning, still, while the fierce strange scent comes yet
    Stronger, hot and red; till you thirst for the daffodillies
    With an anguished, husky thirst that you cannot assuage,
    When the daffodillies are dead, and a woman of the dog-days holds you in gage.

    ~ Epilogue, from Amores. D.H. Lawrence, 1916.

  • Uses your senses. Choose one sense: sight, smell, touch, sound, or taste…and only write about that:
    • The smells of summer
    • The sights of summer
    • The sounds of summer
    • The touch of summer
    • The tastes of summer

  • Let not experience disqualify or excellence impeach him. There is no third term in the case, and the pretense will die with the political dog-days which engendered it.

    ~ From Roscoe Conkling’s speech nominating Grant for Third Term for President, 1880

Good Luck!

Saturday, January 21st, 2012

Completely Off Topic: Jimmies or Sprinkles?

Cake Pops - Made by Kelly A. Harmon!Discussion: who knows what jimmies are? There was much discussion around my kitchen table the other day as we were eating some home-made confections…

Apparently jimmies (sprinkles, for those of you who are unfamiliar) must be a local (or regional) term. Is this actually the case? Please let me know in the comments.

What spurred the discussion was my creation of these little ladybug cake confections.

I received one of those “cake pops” pans for Christmas this year. Totally unexpected. I bake a lot of cookies — mostly Italian style biscotti using my Grandmother’s recipe — but I don’t bake cakes.

Single Ladybug Confection created by Kelly A. HarmonIt’s not that I don’t like cake. It’s just that a cake, even a small one, usually rots on the counter after a few days in this small household. It’s just a waste.

But cake pops on the other hand…are a neat way to economize…

…unless you decorate them, I’ve found. I could have bought a HUGE bakery-made sheet cake — fully themed – for what I paid for candy melts and icing pens, junior mints and confetti and jimmies.

But it was a lot of fun…if not as delicious as I thought they should have been.

Frankly, a slice of cake would have been fine.

But these do look so cute on the counter.

Now… no derisive comments about my decorating skills, okay? I’m a novice.

A plate of Ladybug Confections created by Kelly A. Harmon