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The immense volume of water in the five Great Lakes holds heat that allows the lakes to remain relatively warm for much later into the year and postpones the Arctic spread in the region. During the autumn months, two major weather tracks converge over the area. Cold, dry air moves south/southeast from the province of Alberta and northern Canada; warm, moist air moves north/northeast from the Gulf of Mexico, along the lee of the central Rocky Mountains. The collision of these masses forms large storm systems in the middle of the North American continent, including the Great Lakes. When the cold air from these storms moves over the lakes, it is warmed by the waters below and picks up a spin. As the cyclonic system continues over the lakes, its power is intensified by the jet stream above and the warm waters below.

The result is commonly referred to as a “November gale” or “November witch.” Such a storm can maintain hurricane-force wind gusts, produce waves over 50 feet (15 m) high, and dump several inches of rain or feet of snow. Fuelled by the warm lake water, these powerful storms may remain over the Great Lakes for days. Intense winds ravage the lakes and surrounding shores, severely eroding and flooding the shorelines.

November gales have been a bane of the Great Lakes, with at least 25 killer storms striking the region since 1847. During the Big Blow of 1905, 27 wooden vessels were lost. During a November gale in 1975, the giant ore bulk carrier SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank suddenly with all hands, without a distress signal. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set during a November gale on the Great Lakes.
Journaling Prompt: Write about the worst storm you’ve ever weathered.

Art Prompt: Storm at sea

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a dramatic story about a storm on the Great Lakes.

Photo Credit: Great Lakes 1913 Storm Shipwrecks on Wikimedia

We might, had we time, consider the birds of Irish folk legend from many other points of view besides that of storytellers and historians. There are the seabirds at whom Cuchulain aims his sling stone and who turned into maidens the most beautiful that the world had ever seen. There were the lovely birds of varied plumage who flew two and two linked together with silver chains to guide the Ulster heroes to the place where Cuchulain was to be born and who, flinging off their bird skins, showed themselves as Dechtire, his mother, and her 50 companions. There were the scall crows and ravens into which the goddesses of war, Badb and Morrigu, transform themselves when they follow the march of armies or hovered over a battlefield.

And there were the birds of fairyland, singing everlastingly from the pure purple trees which stand at the eastern door of the haunts of the blessed. It is but a short step from this conception to that of the birds of paradise, where a bird of red gold with its hundred wings sings from the very golden cross which guards the entries, and the splendid bird flock sustains a perfect melody from the flowering tree of life within the heavenly bounds. -Encyclopedia of Celtic Wisdom by Caitlin Matthews

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which a bird plays a prominent role.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite bird.

Art Prompt: Birds

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about birds in folklore.

Photo Credit: Shelly Prevost on Flickr

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

When I was seventeen years old and still living in the seaside town where I spent my childhood, I would go for a few hours every Sunday morning to the home of a retired teacher of English literature to talk about books. –My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead

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: Which of your old teachers would you like to meet to discuss books?

Art Prompt: Seaside Sundays

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story about your favorite teacher.

Photo Credit: Paul Townsend on Flickr

precocious
  • Characterized by or characteristic of exceptionally early development or maturity (especially in mental aptitude); as, “a precocious child”; “a precocious achievement.”
  • (Botany) Flowering or fruiting early.

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

Journaling Prompt: Write about someone who is precocious.

Art Prompt: Precocious

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

Photo Credit: Bill Kasman on Flickr

The developments of graffiti art which took place in art galleries and colleges as well as “on the street” or “underground”, contributed to the resurfacing in the 1990s of a far more overtly politicized art form in the subvertising, culture jamming, or tactical media movements. These movements or styles tend to classify the artists by their relationship to their social and economic contexts, since, in most countries, graffiti art remains illegal in many forms except when using non-permanent paint. Since the 1990s a growing number of artists are switching[citation needed] to non-permanent paints for a variety of reasons—but primarily because is it difficult for the police to apprehend them and for the courts to sentence or even convict a person for a protest that is as fleeting and less intrusive than marching in the streets. In some communities, such impermanent works survive longer than works created with permanent paints because the community views the work in the same vein as that of the civil protester who marches in the street—such protest are impermanent, but effective nevertheless.

In some areas where a number of artist share the impermanence ideal, there grows an informal competition. That is, the length of time that a work escapes destruction is related to the amount of respect the work garners in the community. A crude work that deserves little respect would be invariably removed immediately. The most talented artist might have works last for days. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Use graffitti as a plot device in your story.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about graffitti?

Art Prompt: Graffitti

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of the history of graffitti.

Photo Credit: Bethlehem Wall Graffiti on Wikimedia

Can’t smoke, hardly drink, no drugs, don’t borrow money or play cards, can’t tell a lie without beginning to sweat is though I’m passing over the equator. Sure, I say fuck a lot, but I assure you that’s about the sum of my success with transgressing… why is a little turbulence so beyond my means? Why must the least deviation from respectable conventions caused me such inner hell? When I hate those fucking conventions! When I know better than the taboos! Doctor, my doctor, what do you say, let’s put the id back in yid. Liberate this nice Jewish boys libido, will you please? Raise the prices if you have to – I’ll pay anything! Only enough cowering in the face of the deep dark pleasures! –Portnoy’s Complaint by Phillip Roth

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a rant in your protagonist’s voice. What is he/she angry about? What are his/her demands?

Journaling Prompt: Write out a rant about something you hate that’s happening in your life right now. Get it it all out!

Art Prompt: Come on now!

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the benefits of venting in a safe space.

Photo Credit: Thomas Hawk on Flickr

On New Year’s Day, if you pass by the parking lot of Chicago’s Adler Planetarium around 11 o’clock in the morning, you’ll come across a surprising collection of cars and drivers readying themselves to run a very unusual rally. In years past, the gathered machines have included rare sports cars, a 1961 Cadillac hearse, and a school bus—everything from Ferraris and Maseratis to absolutely average cars.

At noon, every car registered for the rally will be given a sheet with anywhere from 30 to 100 places to try to visit over the next three hours. This is the Heroes’ Happy Holiday Hangover Hassle.

Started in 1955 by a group of sports cars enthusiasts, the Holiday Hangover Hassle has been run every year since; the guardians of this tradition believe it is the second oldest continuously run car rally in the United States. –Chicago’s Greatest New Year’s Day Tradition Is a Car Rally Scavenger Hunt by Sarah Laskow

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that occurs in one of the cars participating in the rally.

Journaling Prompt: Write about a scavenger hunt you participated in.

Art Prompt: Sports car rally

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a unique New Year tradition from your birthplace.

Photo Credit: Susan Williams on Flickr

I made soup tonight
and all my ancestors danced
in the pot, with the barley
the beans, the knuckle and neck bones,
enriching this brew;
Here women joined
love and ancient wisdom, the knowledge
salt and pepper bring; Secrets
that are ritual and legacy.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that involves food and magic.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about cooking? 

Art Prompt: Cooking magic

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the magic of cooking your own food.

Photo Credit: wuchale59 on Flickr

Create whatever this visual prompt inspires in you!

Photo Credit: LaVraieMode14Juin1903 on Wikimedia