From the monthly archives: July 2014

Blackout New York Hurricane Penthouse Sandy Manhattan City

The lights have gone out before, but they have always come back on. –Combustion Hour by Yoon Ha Lee

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene set during a blackout.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time that the lights went out in your life.

Art Prompt: Blackout

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a humorous or dramatic story about a blackout.

Photo Credit: Michael Tapp on Flickr


Today’s heroin users are older — 23, on average — when they first try the drug. Most got high with prescription drugs acquired illegally before switching to heroin. They tend to live in suburban or rural areas rather than the inner city, and more than 90 percent of the study subjects who began using heroin in the past decade are white.
Previous research had reported that in the 1960s and 1970s, more than 80 percent of heroin users were young male minorities who lived in inner cities and began using the drug at about age 16.
“Our earlier studies showed that people taking prescription painkillers thought of themselves as different from those who used heroin,” Cicero said. “We heard over and over again, ‘At least I’m not taking heroin.’ Obviously, that’s changed.” –Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a working person who becomes addicted to heroin.

Journaling Prompt: What are your feelings about drugs and the people who become dependent on them? 

Art Prompt: Heroin

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the new face of heroin addiction and what it means for our society.

Photo Credit: James Gardner on Flickr


Back when Mary and Stacia first became friends, they’d both worn the black turtlenecks and hiking boots that were still Mary’s daily uniform, but after college Stacia had reinvented herself as an über-femme. Now she had special eyelashes that fluttered all on their own, hypnotically, and her black hair cascaded in waves around her creamy shoulders. Stacia’s ankles crossed sinuously on the bottom rung of the barstool, with her red ruffled skirt lapping against them. Two separate guys were trying to send her drinks, and she was rolling her eyes at them. –The Unfathomable Sisterhood of Ick by Charlie Jane Anders

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about Mary and Stacia’s night at the bar.

Journaling Prompt: Write about one of your close childhood friends who changed dramatically since they grew up.

Art Prompt: She’s All Grown Up

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a humorous story about a childhood friend.

Photo Credit: Tenille Martinez on Flickr

Six countries lay overlapping claims to the East and South China Seas, an area that is rich in hydrocarbons and natural gas and through which trillions of dollars of global trade flow. As it seeks to expand its maritime presence, China has been met by growing assertiveness from regional claimants like Japan, Vietnam, and the Philippines. The increasingly frequent standoffs span from the Diaoyu/Senkaku Islands, on China’s eastern flank, to the long stretch of archipelagos in the South China Sea that comprise hundreds of islets. The U.S. pivot to Asia, involving renewed diplomatic activity and military redeployment, could signal Washington’s heightened role in the disputes, which, if not managed wisely, could turn part of Asia’s maritime regions from thriving trade channels into arenas of conflict. -Council on Foreign Relations

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story using a trade dispute as your main conflict.

Journaling Prompt: If you could travel anywhere in Asia, where would you like to go and what would you like to see and do there?

Art Prompt: China Sea Trade War

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about geopolitics of trade in the China Sea and how it could impact their lives.

Photo Credit: *Nom & Malc on Flickr

Welcome to the Carnival of Creativity for July 27, 2014. 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.

 The Creative Mindset

Maria Popova presents David Lynch on Where Ideas Come From and the Fragmentary Nature of Creativity posted at Brain Pickings.

Tara presents The 5 Es of creative ease posted at Tara Leaver.

Susan K. Perry, PhD presents Creativity Rocks When You Walk posted at Psychology Today.

Alena presents Art Transforms Life posted at Alena Hennesy.

Writing Quote of the Week

My aim is to put down on paper what I see and what I feel in the best and simplest way. -Ernest Hemingway
Thanks to André Hernâni Meca on Flickr for the background.

Creativity Prompt

Quinn presents Creativity Prompts: July 19, 2014 posted at Quinn Creative.

Liza and Eric Grundhauser presents Kastania’s Cave posted at Atlas Obscura.

Leah Schnelback presents Fun with Outbreaks! posted at Tor.

Kevan Lee presents How Creative Hobbies Make Us Better at Basically Everything posted at Fast Company.


Larry Brooks presents a 7 part series on Characterization at Story Fix.

Writing Tips

Chrys Fey presents Writing About: A Car Accident posted at Write with Fey.

Chris Gerwel presents Society, World-building, and Estrangement in Spy Fiction posted at Amazing Stories.

Bryan Hutchinson presents Invaluable Advice From Seth Godin Every Writer Needs to Read posted at Positive Writer.

Grace Robinson presents Names in Fantasy – 3 Ways to Invent Names for Characters and Creatures posted at Mythic Scribes.


Daniel Scocco presents 5 Blogging Goals Worth Chasing After posted at Daily Blog Tips.


This week’s podcast at Writing Excuses is all about Critiquing A Fire in the Heavens.


Visual Arts

Christopher Jobson presents Bird Sculptures Constructed from Wire by Celia Smith Look like Detailed Sketches posted at This is Colossal.

Editor presents Patterns for Meditative Drawing posted at Strathmore Artist.


Clair de Boer presents Discover the Healing Power of Writing Your Story posted at The Gift of Writing.

Miriam presents Art Journal List Idea: Alliteration Name Game posted at Schulman Art.

Paper Blanks presents Writing Wednesday: 15 Thought-Provoking Prompts for a New Journal posted at End Paper.

Tammy presents Art Journal Tangents & Tactics: The Series posted at Daisy Yellow.


The Business of Creativity

Cherie Haas presents When Your Work is Used by Someone Else: Copyright and the Internet posted at Artists Network.

Spam of the Week

Fantastic goods from you, man. I have be mindful your stuff previous to and you are simply extremely wonderful.

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


Look Out Bubbles!

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo Credit: Jeff Kubina on Flickr

Blood Drop

“Prick your finger, blood beads red. Forever and always, friends ‘til we’re dead.” –Friends ’Til the End, Bethany Neal

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the first line of the week as the starting point or inspiration for a scene, story, poem, or haiku.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a childhood friendship. Did you ever swear an oath or make a promise to each other? How did the relationship change over time?

Art Prompt: Blood oath

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about a childhood friendship.

Photo Credit: Mattia Belletti on Flickr


verb (used with object), muddled, muddling.

  1. to mix up in a confused or bungling manner; jumble.
  2. to cause to become mentally confused.
  3. to cause to become confused or stupid with or as if with an intoxicating drink.
  4. to make muddy or turbid, as water.
  5. to mix or stir (a cocktail, chocolate, etc.).
  6. Ceramics. to smooth (clay) by rubbing it on glass.

verb (used without object), muddled, muddling.

  1. to behave, proceed, or think in a confused or aimless fashion or with an air of improvisation:


  1. the state or condition of being muddled, especially a confused mentalstate.
  2. a confused, disordered, or embarrassing condition; mess.

Verb phrases

  1. muddle through, to achieve a certain degree of success but without much skill, polish, experience, or direction.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use the word of the week in whatever you write today.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a time when you had to muddle through something. How did that feel? How did it turn out?

Art Prompt: Muddle

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Use the word of the week in your article or speech.

Photo Credit: istolethetv on Flickr

The western horizon still glowed with the dying light of another sweltering summer day, and a thin haze shrouded the quarter moon and obscured all but the brightest stars in a darkening sky. Not a breath of wind stirred the humid air, heavy with the sour stink of tidal mud; even with the sun down, the heat remained unabated. The city itself seemed to be in the throes of ague. –A Plunder of Souls by DB Jackson

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a description of your setting on a hot evening.

Journaling Prompt: What does your city look and feel like in the summer? What do you enjoy about it?

Art Prompt: Sweltering city

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Describe a summer evening where you live. Appeal to all the senses.

Photo Credit: Agustin Rafael Reyes on Flickr

Angry  guy

Timely new research suggests physical abuse against wives and girlfriends may be triggered by a specific psychological state: The emotional stress that can result when males perceive themselves as less masculine than their peers and cultural role models.
A research team led by Dennis Reidy, a violence-prevention scholar at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, refers to this as “discrepancy stress,” and defines it as “a form of distress arising from perceived failure to conform to socially prescribed masculine gender role norms.” …

Men who felt stress over their perceived inadequate level of masculinity were more likely to have admitted abusing their partners, even after a variety of other factors were taken into consideration.
“Men who experience stress related to perceiving themselves as being less masculine than the typical man—or believing that they are perceived as such by others—may be more likely to interpret ambiguous interactions as challenges to their masculinity,” Reidy and his colleagues write. -Tom Jacobs

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the internal monologue of a man experiencing discrepancy stress and the actions it triggers.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel when you think that society is expecting something out of you that you can’t do?

Art Prompt: Discrepancy stress

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about the stress created by expectations and how this affects men and their relationships.

Photo Credit: Ben Raynal on Flickr