Skip to main content

An ABC project of your own making...

I had so much fun creating the ABC's of Pandemic Parenting. It combined a few challenges for me: write multiple pieces of flash nonfiction several times a week (a new form for me), use a personally selected constraint in order to jumpstart my thought process (read: create my own prompt because I am generally allergic to writing prompts), a clear beginning and endpoint (there are only 26 characters in the alphabet I leveraged), and some great animal artwork by Eric Carle (pure bonus). 

tiny scene from my life #1:
Clue on rug

Interested in creating your own ABC project? Or, maybe a better question would be, What writing assignment could you craft for yourself to unleash creativity and joy? Some elements you could consider:

Take something, anything, and make it your jumping off place. For me, that was Eric Carle's ABC book. It was handy, lovely, and felt appropriate as a symbol for both how small and specific my world was in the moment I was writing about it. You don't need to overthink this. It could be an object. A series of pictures. The color wheel. A list of trees that grew outside your childhood home. Your top five favorite books or foods. The collection of reusable water bottles that clang together in a cupboard, half of which are swag from previous jobs. Whatever. 

You can also use the actual alphabet as a jumping off place. I only just discovered Sheila Heti's super interesting ABC project wherein she took all of her old journals and typed them into a spreadsheet to look for patterns. Fascinating, right? It does not even need to be the alphabet of your first language, or second language. Perhaps it's hieroglyphics. Or an alphabet from a language you wish you knew. 

tiny scene from my life #2:
kitchen window, evening

A writing assignment benefits from constraint, i.e. the constraint of just 26 letters of the english alphabet and the animals that start with each. Constraint actually pushes you to be creative, just as much, or perhaps even more than the wide open blank page. Because it gives you something to react to, think from, shove off from, push against, embrace, whatever. It gives you somewhere to start. 

If writing prompts make you itchy but you feel like experimenting, or just need to bring a little more fun into the process of writing, why not try creating an assignment for yourself? I would absolutely love to hear about it. 

tiny scene from my life #3:
the thrill of the hill


Popular posts from this blog

My Litquake 2012 Report

I've been avoiding putting this together, because a part of me really doesn't want this year's Litquake festival to be over already.  The other part of me is still cranky-tired, wandering around trying to get to all those projects I said I'd get to after Litquake, and feeling post-Christmas like. In short, this year's Litquake was AMAZING.  Every year has been awesome, but this one was particularly special for me because I got to actually help plan the awesome.  As a volunteer during the festival for the past several years, I definitely felt like I contributed to making each event I helped at awesome, but this year, being on the committee,* I got to witness the tremendous build up to the festival that happens the whole year prior.  The amount of love, sweat and time that goes into it is incredible, and I'm not sure I've ever been part of something so cool.  Which is not to say I'm not still cranky-tired and looking forward to feeling fully recovered.

What To Expect When You Are Expecting A Pandemic

“When I think about all that has to transpire to get from pregnancy to the birth, I am overwhelmed by time and the unknown. It’s not useful to contemplate. There is only today, and it is good.” I documented my move from ambivalence about parenting, to IVF, to motherhood, as well as all of Year One. I did it longhand because that’s what I did back then. So now, finally, I’m typing all those pages up, in part because of the great What If that living amid a pandemic creates. And I came across this yesterday and it is so true for the current moment, for this, the fifth week of Sheltering in Place. Ways this time is like pregnancy: It can make you fat. It will definitely make you crave near-constant meals and snacks. You will swing from feeling good to anxiety-laden, angry, irritable and back again several times a day. You will want to know how this will all unfold, how hard it will get, exactly how you and your life will be changed. You can’t know any of that. Ther

For Mom, Twenty-One Years Later

I lost my mom twenty-one years ago today. She died from complications related to a long battle with chronic-progressive multiple sclerosis. I was a week away from turning twenty-one. Which means I have not had her as long as I did have her. It used to make me unique among my friends, to have lost a parent at such a young age. But I’m no longer young and many friends have joined this depressing club. The dues are astronomical and no one prepares refreshments. People, moms are important. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. Whether you were once a child or are currently a mom. They are the sun, moon, and stars, even when they are completely obscured by darkness. I wish she mattered less. She doesn’t. She matters more than almost anything: that first hit of love, that childhood sense of safety, that initial understanding of what it means to be a woman in the world: mom. Mom in 1974-ish Memory is funny when it comes to dead people: I can remember her any way I