From the monthly archives: May 2012


NASA is developing technologies that will allow a human explorer based on Earth, or in the relative safety of a space station or habitat, to actually experience exploration of a distant location. If the technology can be tied to robotic ‘avatars’ on a planetary surface in real-time, the user would not simply experience a simulation of the world – but could directly participate in exploration and science as if they were there…

“If every habitable world in the universe is unique, and the precise chemical conditions of a planet helps shape the life that evolves there, then avatars could allow aliens to visit other worlds from the safety of their spaceship,” reported “Could it be that all the stories of alien encounters on Earth were really encounters with alien avatars? Maybe aliens don’t actually look like grey humanoids with large eyes and no noses. Instead, that haunting image may simply be what we look like to them.” –The Daily Galaxy

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about exploring another planet via an avatar OR about meeting an alien avatar here on earth.

Journaling Prompt: If you could visit any planet via an avatar, which one would you like to visit and why?

Art Prompt: Alien Avatar

Nonfiction / Speech Writing Prompt: Write about your dreams to explore space.

Photo Credit: liber on Flickr


“We think children are born with a skeleton of general expectations about fairness,” explains Sloane, “and these principles and concepts get shaped in different ways depending on the culture and the environment they’re brought up in.” Some cultures value sharing more than others, but the ideas that resources should be equally distributed and rewards allocated according to effort are innate and universal.

Other survival instincts can intervene. Self-interest is one, as is loyalty to the in-group — your family, your tribe, your team. It’s much harder to abide by that abstract sense of fairness when you want all the cookies — or your team is hungry. That’s why children need reminders to share and practice in the discipline of doing the right thing in spite of their desires.

Still, says Sloane, “helping children behave more morally may not be as hard as it would be if they didn’t have that skeleton of expectations.”

This innate moral sense might also explain the power of early trauma, Sloane says. Aside from fairness, research has shown that small children expect people not to harm others and to help others in distress. “If they witness events that violate those expectations in extreme ways, it could explain why these events have such negative and enduring consequences.” –Science Daily

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about children using the information in the study quoted above.

Journaling Prompt: What are your expectations about fairness and sharing? How do your expectations match up with the reality in your family? in your workplace? in your social circle?

Art Prompt: Children Sharing

Photo Credit: .jocelyn. on Flickr

reality leaks

“Reality leaks,” he told us at the first meeting. “The consciousness that imagines us into existence doesn’t always remember all the details. It gets distracted. It lets things slip. It can’t keep up the illusion in all places and all times, and it’s our job to find those places and times, to peel back the edges.” -Will Ludwigsen, We Were Wonder Scouts, (Asimov’s Science Fiction Aug 2011)

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem about being someone else’s dream. What happens when the dreamer is awake? What is life like?

Journaling Prompt: Are there things about reality that make you suspect that reality leaks?

Art Prompt: Reality Leaks

Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Create a tall tale or paranormal story for the entertainment of your audience.

Photo Credit: woodleywonderworks on Flickr


We must support our rights or lose our character, and with it, perhaps, our liberties. -James Monroe, US Presidential Inaugural Addresses

Writing Prompt: Write a character sketch for someone who sacrifices in order to protect the rights of others.

Journaling Prompt: How do you support the rights your country grants you?

Art Prompt: Responsibility of Freedom
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Persuade your audience that every freedom carries with it responsibility and challenge them to start living up to it.

Photo Credit: Gilbert Stuart on Wikimedia

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for May 27, 2012. All links will open in a new tab or window, so feel free to click through and leave some love in the comments. Once you close that window, you’ll be right back here for more linky goodness.


I took last week off due to an ability to get my feet back on the ground after winning the District 3 International Speech Contest. I’ll be traveling to Orlando in August to compete in the International semi-finals, and then, if the judges smile on me, to compete in the finals. I’m still floating up amongst the stars, but I’m trying to get back on track for this week with my blogging. So let’s have a carnival!


One of my favorite features on Morning Edition (NPR) is StoryCorps. Since 2003, Story Corps has collected and archived more than 40,000 interviews from nearly 80,000 participants. Head over there and take a listen if you’re in need of some inspiration for your story, journal, or art. At the top of site is a link for “question generator.” Great for journaling ideas! (Thanks to Loren at Conversation Matters for reminding me of this great resource. Sign up for Loren’s newsletter. It’s great!)

Sharing Our Work

Eula presents Robots posted at View from the Winepress.

Liz presents The Time Traders Series Book Review posted at

Writing Quote of the Week

We writers and teachers don’t change lives, and we certainly don’t make lives. We nudge them. We nudge the nudge-able. Let’s not let anyone tell us that the Internet is going to murder the book, because the automobile has yet to murder the bicycle. The book, like the bicycle, is a perfect invention, and perfection dies hard. What object is more beautiful than a book? And if Keats’s calculation is correct and beauty equals truth, then we need to understand that the right books in our hands are paramount for our survival as a species. There’s this great line by W. S. Merwin that I always carry with me: “But we were not born to survive, only to live.” Books, like love, make living possible. -William Giraldi, First Fiction, Poets & Writers Magazine, July 2011

Writing Tips and Prompts

Gail presents Time Management Tuesday: Why Writers Might Want to Take Part in Projects Like “The May Days” posted at Original Content.

Chrys presents Characters Make a Book posted at Write with Fey.

C.S. Lakin presents Muddle the Middle of Your Scenes at Live Write Thrive.


I’ve got two great podcasts from Writing Excuses to share with you this week. The first is on Cathartic Horror with guests Michael Collings and Michaelbent Collings. The next is a Project in Depth look at Howard Tayler’s new book, Force Multiplication. Fascinating!

The Business of Creativity

Michael presents Business Thank You Notes posted at

Derek presents Can You Use the Kindle Store as a Marketing Channel? posted at Concentrix.

Spam of the Week

You are in truth a good webmaster. The spider’s web put loading velocity is dazzling. It seems that you are doing any one and only trick. Additionally, The contents are master-work. you’ve performed a splendid reprimand on this point!

That’s all for this week. Be sure to submit your article for next week’s Carnival of Creativity by Friday at midnight!

Vintage Postcard ~

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by chicks57.

How Stars Are Born . . .

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo by Krystn Palmer Photography on Flickr.


“The one clear thing I can say about Wednesday, the worst and most amazing day of my life, is this: it started out beautifully.” -Rajesh Parameswaran, I Am an Executioner: Love Stories

Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week to start a story or scene, or as the inspiration for a poem.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a day that started out well and then surprised you.

Art Prompt: Morning

Photo Credit: rolfekolbe on Flickr

Castle siege

beleaguer v. [with obj.] (usually as adj. beleaguered) lay siege to: he led a relief force to the aid of the beleaguered city. put in a very difficult situation: the board is supporting the beleaguered director. late 16th century: from Dutch belegeren ‘camp round’, from be- ‘(all) about’ + leger ‘a camp’.

Writing Prompt: Write a story, scene, or poem using the word beleaguer.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you felt beleaguered.

Art Prompt: Beleaguer.

Photo Credit: Matija Grguric on Flickr

old man

“I’ve kind of contracted a habit of enj’ying things,” he remarked once, when Anne had commented on his invariable cheerfulness. “It’s got so chronic that I believe I even enj’y the disagreeable things. It’s great fun thinking they can’t last. ‘Old rheumatiz,’ says I, when it grips me hard, ‘you’ve GOT to stop aching sometime. The worse you are the sooner you’ll stop, mebbe. I’m bound to get the better of you in the long run, whether in the body or out of the body.'” -L.M. Montgomery, Anne’s House of Dreams

Writing Prompt: Write a character description for someone who has an interesting habit.

Journaling Prompt: Write about an interesting habit you have.

Art Prompt: Habit of Enj’ying
Nonfiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Talk about the strength of habits and the importance of choosing your habits wisely.

Photo Credit: moyerphotos on Flickr