Final Prompt From Writers Island

For Writers Island last prompt: Vision For the Future

Hi! My name is Elizabeth and I write. Have been doing that, on and off, since I was four years old. Sixty years, sounds soooooo long. Doesn’t feel that way. Can still remember the first time, but then they say that the first time is never forgotten, always held in a special pocket, used as a sort of yardstick for whatever comes after it.

The first time, now that was a sort of sneaky secret. I wanted to make sure that no one would ever forget who that pretty little girl was in that wonderful photo, the photographer had taken. No pencil would do. Only ink because that would last and last. I knew there were ball point pens in the junk drawer in the kitchen. I snuck one out, found a quiet corner, and with tongue clasped between teeth and lips, I wrote my name in big block letters at the bottom of the photo.

My Mother was not the least bit pleased, but oh what a sense of accomplishment I felt. She replaced the photo, but I knew what I wanted to do when I grew up. I would write something. At four, the something was way out there on the horizon, only a soft blinking light, easily dismissed, unless one thought about it for a while. Nothing more than a familiar blip, somewhere out there in the future.

I was far too young to understand the word vision, let alone the concept of a future. Yet, here I am, sixty years later writing about that little girl in that pretty pale blue dress with the white lacy bib, and all those creamed coffee curls pulled off her face in a pig tail, so everyone could see that hesitant but still willing smile. She still exists, because I can write about her.

Writers Island has put up a final prompt for all of us to write about. Not so long ago, Big Tent Poetry did the same thing. Two major prompt sites gone in a very short time. Hard. Loss is never easy, even though it happens on a pretty regular basis. And I, for one, am feeling the loss.

And want to talk about it. The poetry circuit, the writing prompt sites, have given me a real home online. A place where I can meet and greet familiar friends, new and old. But, this community has been hit hard by these two losses. Rob has asked us to write about a vision for the future. I want to talk about that loss. So what to do with the conflict?

Standing at midpoint, getting whiplash from looking both ways. About a week ago, I found a bit of discussion in the comments section of Mr. Walker’s site . A few people were commenting about how much they would like a place to just sit down and talk about writing. Not to a prompt, but what goes into the process itself, what we know, have learned, and still have questions about. How much they missed that sort of contact with other writers.

Have to admit, I feel the same way. Due to my circumstances, my physical contacts with a writing community are (other than here on the prompt circuit), behind me. And although we do visit back and forth, we restrict ourselves, in the main, to comments concerned with the present topic of the prompt. Do you want more than that?

When I saw that small discussion, I immediately thought of this site. It has been languishing while I explored new arenas of expression, and continued responding to a few of the poetry prompt sites. I realized that although this isn’t a forum type set-up, it might work.

So, here it is. My vision for the future. I will set about leaving a topic for discussion each week, probably on Friday. Then, during the week, you can come visit and see if you have anything to say about that topic, or perhaps want to introduce another one altogether. Perhaps a topic that has you stumped at the moment and you just want to see what others think, or how they feel about it.

This is really up for grabs, folks. I’m not big on rules, but am aware there is still some need for the pesky things. I ask only that you remain the friendly, hospitable individuals you have been all along. Everyone has an opinion and if you want your own to be respected, than it’s a good idea to give that energy back.

So, here goes. How do you feel and think about these two major sites shutting down? Abandonment issues? Where do we go from here? Would you like this place to discuss any or all of the above? Do you remember your ‘first time?’ What kind of writing topics would you like to see put up for discussion? Specifics about poetry, or just writing in general? What are your ideas, and how do you see this taking shape and becoming something that will keep our community alive and vibrant?  Take your pick and have at it. I’m going to sit back and see what happens.

Notes: Thank you Rob for providing the space and the ideas that have fueled all of us and our writing thirsts. No one can replace that. You will be missed.



About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here:
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14 Responses to Final Prompt From Writers Island

  1. Tilly Bud says:

    Elizabeth, what a great idea! Count me in.

    I’m sad that the sites have gone because they provided quailty prompts but it won’t matter so much to me because I didn’t write from them every week. I find there are so many prompt sites available that we’ll be meeting the same people in new places before long…like here 🙂

    Like life, the blogosphere moves on. We will remember those sites with affection, but we’ll manage without them.

  2. Elizabeth, the idea of putting up something we can discuss is a great one. I feel such loss from losing those two sites, but when I started writing (seriously) a year and a half ago. I started out on read write poem and they closed in April 2010. I met a lot of people whom I still see from time to time now. So, that is three of my most frequented sites in less than two years. It does feel a tad overwhelming. Like losing a good friend, but I understand the need to move on as well. There are always going to be new sites, but some will remain more special than others I think.

    I enjoy your collaborative prompt, but I don’t have the time to write to it at times. It is nice to know you offer it though. I like the people I have met writing, and you certainly are one of my favourites.

    your friend,

  3. pmwanken says:

    Elizabeth…First off, what a nicely-captured account of your first memory of writing. As a child I was incessantly writing my name all over everything — and getting in trouble for it! After a while it dawned on me that I would always get caught, because the infractions “had my name written all over them”! I’ve only recently (six months ago) come back to writing. Even more recently (a few days ago) I had a conversation with my mom about my new found poetry-writing hobby. She responded with “I always knew you would be a writer.” (She waits for nearly 45 years to tell me that?) I asked why she thought so, and she said that as a child I was always writing something.

    As for this forum for discussion…I LOVE the idea. As just mentioned, I’m new to writing. And have loved the prompts and the exchanges of comments following our respective responses to the prompts. There are times when I feel I’m going in cyber circles as I tab through the sites: read the prompt, write my response to the prompt, post my prompt, read others’ responses, comment on their poems, go back and read comments on my poem, go back and read replies to my comments on their poems….you get the idea. Do this for a different prompt (or two!) each day? It has a dizzying effect!

    But one that I would not trade for all the world!

    I have absolutely fallen in love with the poeming community out here. I have no one that I know, locally, that really WANTS to talk about writing with me. Their eyes glaze over and I know it’s time to change the subject.

    Last Monday I had the extreme pleasure of sitting across the table with Margo Roby, a fellow blogger and poet with whom I had only recently crossed cyberpaths. I had learned she was passing through my city and suggesting meeting for coffee. We ended up meeting for dinner…and three hours of conversation. What a delight for me to talk with someone whose eyes didn’t glaze over–they sparkled with the enthusiasm matched in mine.

    That is how I feel when I interact with my new friends here online. So…Elizabeth. By all means–YES. I support the idea of this being a forum for us to gather…to exchange thoughts, ideas, questions and comments. Brilliant idea!!

    And now…off to bookmark this site…

    • pmwanken says:

      PS: Not that it makes a difference so much, but it was Tuesday I met with Margo. But I’m also replying to my reply so this time I can click “notify me of follow-up comments”, which I forgot to do the first time! 🙂

  4. wayne says:

    how do I reply?????….hmmmm YES……thanks Elizabeth

  5. vivinfrance says:

    Paula has summed up perfectly the only possible answer. Some days it can feel like a bit of a treadmill, and I have guilt feelings when I don’t get round to see all my poeming friends. Other days are full of treasures. Having just finished Katherine Gallagher’s weeklong workshop, the joy I felt at sitting round a table all day with committed writers, and the pleasure from the evening readings and the lively discussions, made me realise how valuable this interraction is to me. And that convoluted sentence demonstrates how far I have to go as a writer!

  6. Mary says:

    I’m really sad about the closing down of the two sites,and will miss them as they were there for me when I initially began to venture into the poetry blogosphere, but I am glad to meet a lot of frends I made there in other places. I definitely would be interested in having a site where we can discuss different writing topics.

  7. Mr. Walker says:

    Elizabeth, I think it’s a wonderful idea. I would enjoy having a place to talk with others about writing. I was surprised, but delighted, at the comments that were appearing on my blog, perhaps not oddly about priorities. Clearly this is something that surfaced spontaneously, but you had the vision to see it for what it is.

    I don’t feel abandoned, but a little sad. It’s like sending students off at the end of a school year; it’s a little sad, but it’s mostly joyous. They’re off to bigger, brighter, newer things. I personally am grateful for what others do online, hosting prompt sites, for example. And I certainly understand when they need to take care of themselves, whether it’s their health or just their own writing needs. As a teacher, I work and serve others on a daily basis. This whole poetry writing and sharing thing is something I do for me. I won’t say it’s selfish, but it is a clear and healthy self-interest. And I don’t have anyone in my real life who really gets it, except for one friend/colleague who is also a writer.

    I’m glad that Brenda has recently started up The Sunday Whirl, and I really appreciate how We Write Poems reached out and asked us to suggest writing prompts. That really made me feel like a part of the community, and not just some creepy lurker. So, I think this is a great idea, to give us a place to voice the things in and around writing that we care about. So, thank you, Elizabeth, and count me in.


  8. brenda w says:

    You are all my friends in an odd invisible way. We imagine life together. I may not be prolific in the forums, but will read them when I can, and participate when moved. Elizabeth, you have a pure and gentle spirit that blows through all of our lives. Thank you for being you.


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  10. Susannah says:

    Sorry I am late to this Elizabeth.

    Firstly, I love your story about you as a child and I adore the photo too.

    Though I never found my way to Big Tent poetry I did participate occasionally in the writers Island prompt. And though all the losses of places we enjoy is sad, I suppose it is the cycle of things. Like in nature, things recede and others come forward to take their place. That is the way of things. Seeds are dropped and blossom into new ideas. . . like this one. 🙂

    I think it is a really nice idea to have this as a place for discussion, and though I haven’t any ideas to contribute at present, I look forward to visiting, participating and watching it evolve.

  11. margo roby says:

    And I may be coming in under the wire, but the new post isn’t up.
    I am fairly new to the poeming community although with the daily rounds as described by Paula I feel as if I have known everyone for years and I do think of those whose paths I cross and recross as friends and colleagues.
    Having just retired from teaching I miss the collegiality and the discussions on the workings of writers. A couple of times we have reached a discussion point in comments and I remember how much I enjoyed talking with others about the craft.
    I fell in love with Big Tent and Writer’s Island as soon as I arrived on their pages. I always felt a sense of comfort and welcome. With Big Tent and We Write Poems I posted my first poems. It felt, as Richard says, like a school year ended and people moved on, when the sites closed down. There is a little heartache but there is as Writer’s Island tells us, a future to move toward. I am glad to be moving forward with this group.


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  13. Yes, I felt the loss. But I continue to amuse myself with my writing. Love to read what is being written, by the incredible talent on the blog. This sounds like such a good idea. I look forward to this.

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