Currently viewing the tag: "culture"

Kitsune is the Japanese word for fox. Foxes are a common subject of Japanese folklore; in English, kitsune refers to them in this context. Stories depict them as intelligent beings and as possessing magical abilities that increase with their age and wisdom. According to Yokai folklore, all foxes have the ability to shape shift into human form. While some folktales speak of kitsune employing this ability to trick others—as foxes in folklore often do—other stories portray them as faithful guardians, friends, lovers, and wives.

Foxes and human beings lived close together in ancient Japan; this companionship gave rise to legends about the creatures. Kitsune have become closely associated with Inari, a Shinto kami or spirit, and serve as its messengers. This role has reinforced the fox’s supernatural significance. The more tails a kitsune has—they may have as many as nine—the older, wiser, and more powerful it is. Because of their potential power and influence, some people make offerings to them as to a deity.

Conversely foxes were often seen as “witch animals”, especially during the superstitious Edo period (1603–1867), and were goblins who could not be trusted (similar to some badgers and cats). –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story involving a trickster or kitsune.

Journaling Prompt: What animal do you associate with trickery? Why?

Art Prompt: Kitsune

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the tradition of the kitsune in Japan.

Photo Credit: Christopher Lance on Flickr

Now the chi-lin, the Chinese unicorn, is not only an altogether different species from the white European variety or the menacing Persian karkadann; it is also a different matter in its essence from either one. Apart from its singular physical appearance—indeed, there are scholars who claim that the chi-lin is no unicorn at all, but some sort of mystical dragon-horse, given its multicolored coat and the curious configuration of its head and body—this marvelous being is considered one of the Four Superior Animals of Good Omen, the others being the phoenix, the turtle, and the dragon itself. –The Story of Kao Yu by Peter S. Beagle

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a mythical creature, like the chi-lin, that wanders into modern society.

Journaling Prompt: Would you like to meet a chi-lin, which is a creature that punishes falsehood? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Chi-lin

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about a mythical creature that they may not have heard from and what we learn from it about the society that imagined it.

There are those who suggests that a child is a tabula rasa when born, a blank page, which remains to be filled out by life experience. That is not true. Children are born with encoded nature of their genetic being, and they are born with a history of their culture and their family infused into their very conception, and as the context into which they are received. This becomes what is innate and in each of us yearns to be heard and recognized, to be named and known in relationship to others-to exist. –In the Moment: Celebrating the Everyday by Harvey L Rich, M.D.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the background of your protagonist, considering genetics, culture, and family history. 

Journaling Prompt: What part of your personality do you believe you were born with and what came through life experiences?

Art Prompt: My personality

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the interplay between innate personality and life experiences in shaping a personality.

Photo Credit: Jlhopgood on Flickr

On December 1, 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks refused to obey bus driver James F. Blake’s order to give up her seat in the colored section to a white passenger, after the white section was filled. Parks was not the first person to resist bus segregation. Others had taken similar steps, including Bayard Rustin in 1942, Irene Morgan in 1946, Lillie Mae Bradford in 1951, Sarah Louise Keys in 1952, and the members of the ultimately successful Browder v. Gayle 1956 lawsuit (Claudette Colvin, Aurelia Browder, Susie McDonald, and Mary Louise Smith) who were arrested in Montgomery for not giving up their bus seats months before Parks. NAACP organizers believed that Parks was the best candidate for seeing through a court challenge after her arrest for civil disobedience in violating Alabama segregation laws, although eventually her case became bogged down in the state courts while the Browder v. Gayle case succeeded.

Parks’ act of defiance and the Montgomery bus boycott became important symbols of the modern Civil Rights Movement. She became an international icon of resistance to racial segregation. She organized and collaborated with civil rights leaders, including Edgar Nixon, president of the local chapter of the NAACP; and Martin Luther King, Jr., a new minister in town who gained national prominence in the civil rights movement. –Wikipedia

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene about someone who becomes a symbol for a movement.

Journaling Prompt: Who is your hero for instigating societal change?

Art Prompt: Civil Disobedience

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about Rosa Parks or another hero of the civil rights movement.

Photo Credit: Richard on Flickr

The king died a little before nine o’clock on Thursday evening. His death was made a secret; but in the same hour a courier was galloping through the twilight to Hunsdon to bid Mary mount and fly. Her plans had been for some days prepared. She had been directed to remain quiet, but to hold herself ready to be up and away at a moment’s warning. –James Anthony Froude, The Reign of Mary Tudor

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a king or queen who is waiting for the current ruler to die.

Journaling Prompt: What are you waiting anxiously for and prepared for?

Art Prompt: Waiting

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience the story of Mary Tudor’s rise to the throne of England.

Photo Credit: Maria Tudor on Wikimedia

The consultation of the ancestors is more usually called necromancy, a vigorous tradition which is discernible from Aeneas to Hamlet. The major reasons for consulting the ancestors usually fall into the following categories, in order to:
1. Divine or gain a prophetic insight about the future.
2. Regain lost knowledge.
3. Access ancestral wisdom by oracular means.
4. Discover ancestral precedents for legal validation.
5. Reconnect one spiritual tradition with another.
6. Gain healing or revelation by proximity to an ancestral tomb.

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene that involves communication with the dead.

Journaling Prompt: How do you feel about seances, Ouija boards, mediums, etc? Do you believe we can talk to the dead?

Art Prompt: Talking to the dead

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the history of necromancy.

In the Middle Ages, knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification) during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect’s heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight. It was this accolade which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or “dubbing” him, as is still done today. In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families. –Order of the Bath

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story in which knighthood (or another special status) is conferred upon your protagonist.

Journaling Prompt: Write about your favorite story about the era of knights.

Art Prompt: Knight

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about rituals from the Middle Ages, such as the the ritual of knighthood.

Photo Credit: Accolade by Edmund Blair Leighton on Wikimedia

Civilization existed before money, but probably wouldn’t have gotten very far without it. Ancient humans’ invention of money was a revolutionary milestone. It helped to drive the development of civilization, by making it easier not just to buy and sell goods, but to pay workers in an increasing number of specialized trades—craftsmen, artists, merchants, and soldiers, to name a few. It also helped connect the world, by enabling traders to roam across continents and oceans to buy and sell goods, and investors to amass wealth…

In the centuries that followed, trade routes forged more cultural connections between nations and regions. Besides exchanging money and goods, traders also spread religious beliefs, knowledge and new inventions, creating cross-pollination among far-flung cultures. –The Journey of Humankind: How Money Made Us Modern By Patrick J. Kiger

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story that shows how money spreads between cultures.

Journaling Prompt: How does money exchange feel to you? 

Art Prompt: Spread of civilization

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a story of how trade and money created today’s world.

Photo Credit: Lawrence Chard  on Flickr

On the 20th of March in 2019, Life Pharmaceuticals finally received Food and Drug Administration approval to market their new product LifereNew. This revolutionary product used micro-machines called nanites to repair cells. The nanites were so small, they could actually repair DNA, reverse the aging process, repair body damage and maintain the body. The promise was that after taking the product, you would lead a long life in a fit, young body. Most of humanity had dreamed of such a product. Needless to say, when LifereNew was approved, there was a rush on the market. People lined up to pay the $1,500,000 for the treatment, which potentially would extend their life hundreds and maybe thousands of years, while looking and feeling young and fit. New ReLife loans were set up so anyone could afford treatment, even though some folks would be paying back the loans for decades to come. Within six months, more than four million Americans experienced this life-changing procedure, the majority of those being rich retirees desperate to fend off death and start life anew. Not having to wait for a loan, they were the first to receive treatment. They became known as the New Lifers. –ZomoSapienS by David Moon

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story set in a society where some people can afford to live as a young person forever but most people can’t.

Journaling Prompt: If you could afford this kind of treatment, would you have it? Why or why not?

Art Prompt: Fountain of Youth

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the current research in nanotechnology.

Photo Credit: Aida diLeto Lundquist on Flickr
12/21/1982 view White House Christmas decorations in the Green Room

12/21/1982 view White House Christmas decorations in the Green Room

The really unforgivable acts are committed by calm men in beautiful green silk rooms, who deal death wholesale, by the shipload, without lust, or anger, or desire, or any redeeming emotion to excuse them but cold fear of some pretended future. But the crimes they hope to prevent in that future are imaginary. The ones they commit in the present — they are real. –Shards of Honor by Louise MacMaster Bujold

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write the story of a calm man in a green room who suddenly realizes the consequences of his decisions.

Journaling Prompt: If you were in a position of power, what is the first thing  you would change?

Art Prompt: The Green Room

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience your opinion of a current event and how it was handled by the authorities.

Photo Credit: White House Green Room on Wikimedia