February 07, 2020

An Inspiring Concept "Prompted" Me to Write this Post


Please note that this post is not sponsored in any way.  I’m not affiliated with, recommending or receiving payment from any person, company or organization mentioned.  I simply wanted to share with you what I consider to be an intriguing concept.

I’m interrupting my own regular programming here by taking a break from the series of posts recounting last spring’s Big Switcheroo journey to Florida and back.  Why?  Because I’ve had some thoughts tumbling around in my head recently that are refusing to leave until they’ve been articulated, and those thoughts are being pretty insistent about it.  This post is going to start off slowly because I need to provide you with the backstory.  Please hang in there; the post is about a concept that I truly believe can enrich your life.  Important note:  If the words “journaling” and “writing prompts” widen your eyes, bring terror to your soul and make you want to give your Nikes a good workout by running immediately in the other direction, just take a deep breath and keep reading.  You can do this.  Really.

I have to thank Kristen over at The Frugal Girl for inspiring this post.  (You can access her blog from the list of My Favorite Blogs in the column at the right.)  Kristen recently shared with her readers that she had started a personal blog having nothing to do with frugality.  Having come across a list of writing prompts via a company called Rustico, Kristen decided to use the prompts to jumpstart personal essays on this new blog to feed her creative soul.  (It’s called Kristen, Prompted and, if you’re interested, feel free to hop on over and check it out - link HERE.  Just don’t get so enthralled that you forget to come back.)

Kristen is using a list called 365 Days of Writing Prompts developed by the folks at Rustico, a company that creates stylish journaling supplies of high quality, and she was kind enough to provide a link to that list for her readers.  (I’ve done the same at the end of this post.)  The responses to the prompts (in blue) are my own.

January 22nd – Things you always did with your Dad
On some Sunday mornings, while my Mom was preparing our Sunday dinner, my Dad and I would take a sleeve of graham crackers to the small zoo in our town to feed the goats and the llamas.  On other Sunday mornings, we’d go down to the big creek and skip stones.  On the really good days, we did both.

Before we go any further, there is something you should know.  At different times throughout my life, I’ve been discouraged from using the word “hate” because “it’s such a strong word.”  Well, sometimes a strong word is just what you need and I HATE journaling.  Yup, I enjoy creative writing and I love blogging about our State and National Parks and the RV lifestyle, but I HATE journaling.  I’m pretty sure it’s because I’m a very private person, and journaling was forced upon me at various times during my years of formal education.  I was too na├»ve to figure out that I could just make stuff up as I went along, so those journaling assignments were always excruciatingly painful.  Although I know enough to “never say never,” I’m pretty darn sure that you’ll NEVER see me with a personal journal in my hand.  (Note to my kids:  Don’t even bother to look for a Secret Diary filled with juicy tales from your mother’s life.  It doesn’t exist.)
March 8th – The most disappointed you’ve ever been
I’ve loved horses for as long as I can remember.  When I was a child, the woman who lived in the upstairs apartment of my parents’ home, promised to take my Mom and me to Florida to visit her brother who had a small horse farm.  When the plan fell through due to her brother’s illness, I was devastated.  Still am.

Back to Rustico’s writing prompts . . . When Kristen announced her new blog, I headed over there to check it out.  It’s obvious that this new outlet will, indeed, allow her to post items of a more personal nature than what she generally covers in The Frugal Girl, and a reader can tell that the prompts are resulting in some careful thought and soul searching.  Kristen’s essays prompted me (sorry, just had to say that) to access the entire list over at Rustico and what I found, really, was a gold mine.  I don’t know if the list of 365 prompts was created by a single person or an entire team but, let me tell you, this is an incredible list of thought-provoking topics quite conducive to introspection.  The mix is excellent – some prompts are just for fun; others are extremely serious.  Some will tease great memories from the past out of you; others will challenge you to give concentrated thought to what’s going on in your life today.  Some prompts will bring to mind special people; others may re-open old wounds.  Every single one of them will make you think, feel, laugh, cry, remember or dream.  And you don’t have to write a d*mn thing.

May 26th – Three things you want in a relationship
Honesty, respect and trust

Why, oh why, am I bringing up this list of writing prompts in a blog about travel and the RV lifestyle?  Here’s why:  As avid RVers, Alan and I spend a lot of time together in our truck, towing our retirement home from one delightful location to another.  We’re definitely road trippers, and both of us are comfortable with a long stretch of open road and the gorgeous scenery that accompanies it.  What better time and place to share our thoughts, our memories and (at the risk of scaring Alan into silence) our feelings?  The many companionable miles we share in the cab of the pickup lend themselves to a quiet environment that breeds good discussion.  But then so would an evening spent around a campfire or the quiet time we spend over our first cup of coffee in the morning, watching the world wake up.  In fact, you don’t even have to go camping to put this list to good use.  Tackling one of these prompts while on a daily walk could add new insight to a facet of your life.  Choosing one to discuss while sharing an after dinner drink with your “someone special” could jumpstart an enlightening exchange of ideas.  (That being said, it’s probably best not to dwell on some of these prompts if you’ve enjoyed too many after dinner drinks.)

August 21st – If you won the lottery what would you do?
Pay someone else to finish these prompts

Here’s my point:  These prompts are really, really good.  If you want to get to know your spouse better, almost any one of them would “prompt” an insightful sharing of personal information.  If you want to know yourself better, find a quiet corner and challenge yourself to consider one of the many prompts that, if addressed honestly, may help you understand yourself, your past, and maybe even your future.

October 7th – Do you have a favorite National or State Park?  (No, I did NOT make this up.)
Every. Single. One.

Here’s my plan:  I’m going to print out this list of 365 prompts and keep it in the Camping folder that travels with us.  I won’t tell Alan that it’s a list of writing prompts, though.  If I do, I know he’ll never get in the truck.  And I can’t say that I’d blame him.  How about you?  How would you respond to one or more of the five prompts above?

Special thanks to Kristen at The Frugal Girl, for inspiring me to look beyond a concept I didn’t like and magically transform it into one I do.  To access the list of 365 Days of Writing Prompts, just hop on over to the Rustico web site (link HERE).  If you happen to love journaling, you might enjoy the story of how the company came to be (link HERE).  Their products appear to be lovely and well-made.  Just don’t buy any for me, thank you very much!

8 comments:

  1. Mary, this post is fantastic! I love your blog and following along with you on the many trips you have taken. Now, the detour into how to motivate and stimulate the process of writing really struck home for me. Yes, I am an ardent journal writer - and yes, sometimes the journal entry looks like blah blah blah! . Yes, I am an on again off again blogger- http://woodstockflea.blogspot.com/ https://viewfrommykitchenwindow-janine.blogspot.com/ - and I think a form of writers blog does prohibit me from making more entries. I'm excited to have a few new ideas to explore and expand my writing world. Cheers! Janine

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    1. Janine, I'm glad this post struck a chord with you (I was hoping it wasn't just me) and, of course, I'm delighted to know that you're enjoying the blog! I didn't think of this prior to reading your comment but now, considering your interest in genealogy, I'm thinking that some of these prompts would make good interview questions when asking family members about their lives and histories.

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  2. I'm with you Mary and don't journal. However, I really like your idea of printing out the prompts and then talking about things during a long road trip. Hmm, might be something I do for our 2,000 mile drive this summer ��

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    1. My copy is already printed and in our Camping folder. (Sshhh! Don't tell Alan!) I'm sure you and Al find all kinds of things to talk about when you're on the road, just like Alan and I do. But being left-brain oriented, my mind would never come up with such creative questions, and I'm really looking forward to tackling some of them.

      By the way, just yesterday I finally had a chance to listen to the interview you had included on your last post over at Live, Laugh, RV. You did a splendid job! I know that you're more comfortable behind a camera than in front of one, but it's not obvious at all - you looked like a natural. Good for you!

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  3. Hmmm. I don't pretend to speak for all of us of the male gender, but I'm pretty sure this concept might not find all that many zealouts among the majority of us linear-thinking simpletons whose basic interests can be counted on one hand and, for some, have fingers left over. But not all of us, of course, are here just to waste oxygen and inflate the CO2 levels. While I am not much into reminiscing (it tends to frustrate me that I cannot actually go back and re-live the really good times), I could be interested in subjects that would inspire my snarky and satirical bent. These are not admirable traits, I know, and I try my best to throttle them in my blog, to varying degrees of success. But for you, I get it, and I say, "Go for it." I will light a candle for Alan.

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    1. Do you know what I think? This comment is a carefully constructed smoke screen, couched in thirty-five cent words and designed to hide the fear in your heart - the fear that your lovely wife will learn the answers to such things as what is your most embarrassing moment, the best practical joke you've ever played and the most outrageous thing you've ever done. (Don't you even think of criticizing my run on sentence, Mike Mills!) I think I'll send the list directly to Sandy, and then, my friend, we'll see who needs the candle!

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    2. Oh gosh! I never figured you for such a fiendish scheme. Did I tell you I have a rather low pain threshold? (Another common trait of my gender.) There are a couple of things that provide a little protection if I should have to delve into something a ghastly as answering these questions you espouse. 1) Having lived with me for nearly 44 years, Sandy has been witness to some pretty peculiar things I've done. 2) At my age, I tend to have a significant loss of memory of acts in the distant past that could be viewed as, um, unseemly. By the way, you didn't say anything about telling the truth, so that's another 'out' that just occurred to me. Not wanting to give you the bum's rush or anything, but isn't it about time for you to get back to blogging about nature or something?

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    3. You are too funny, Mike! Thank you for always brightening my day in such a delightful way!

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