Currently viewing the tag: "superstition"

Forty-four Turkish Fairy Tales, p. 63

If we wish to know the true history of a people, to understand the causes of its sorrows and its joys, to estimate its worth, and to know how to rule it wisely and well, let us read such old-world tales carefully, and ponder them well. Even if prejudice or ignorance should induce us to undervalue their worth as authentic records of its ancient history, let us remember the undeniable fact, that they are authentic records of its deepest national feelings, and let them, at least, have their weight as such in our schemes of social economy, for the present and the future. -An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 by Mary Frances Cusack

Fiction Writing Prompt: Add to your character sketch. What tales did your protagonist grow up hearing? How did they affect him or her.

Journaling Prompt: What was your favorite folk tale or fairy tale when you were growing up? What lessons did it teach you?

Art Prompt: Folk tale

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience a folk tale from your culture and share what it has taught you.

Photo Credit: plaisanter~ on Flickr

Laugh-Out-Loud Cats #2007

A falling star! What luck! -Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold

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: What do you think about when you see a falling star?

Art Prompt: Falling star

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about an upcoming astronomical event and how they can best view it in your area.

Photo Credit: Adam Koford on Flickr

Cold?

To salute a person who sneezed with some form of benediction, was a pagan custom. It is said to have originated through an opinion of the danger attending it; and the exclamation used was: “Jupiter help me!” In Ireland, the pagan custom still remains, but it has been Christianized, and “God bless you!” is substituted for the pagan form. -An Illustrated History of Ireland from AD 400 to 1800 by Mary Frances Cusack

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story about a pagan custom that you’ve created. Trace its practice through the centuries.

Journaling Prompt: How do you react if someone around you sneezes or coughs? What protective steps do you take to stay healthy?

Art Prompt: Sneeze

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the origin of some of our customs and rituals.

Photo Credit: Allan Foster on Flickr

Land mine victim 2

…the just world hypothesis. This is a phenomenon where people act as though the world is fundamentally just, so if a person witnesses something that seems to be an injustice, they blame the victim as if the victim had done something to warrant punishment -Alexander Drake, The Invention of Religion

Fiction Writing Prompt: How does the just world hypothesis operate in your story?

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe that people get what they deserve?

Art Prompt: Just World

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell your audience about the just world hypothesis and challenge them to begin to question some of their assumptions.

Photo Credit: tonrulkens on Flickr

224.365 - August 12, 2010

In one study, participants were presented with an unfavorable horoscope and then asked to choose between either an indulgence (going to a party) or a virtuous alternate (cleaning their home). The results showed that for people who believe they could change their fate, an unfavorable horoscope increased the likelihood of that person going to the party.
Interestingly, the researchers observed that the act of counter-arguing the unfavorable horoscope required mental resources and left the fate-changers unable to resist temptation. Participants who believed in a fixed fate did not exert any mental energy on the subject, and were consequently able to stay focused on the day ahead.
“Conventional wisdom might suggest that for people who believe they can change their fate, an unfavorable horoscope should result in an attempt to improve their fate,” the authors conclude. “Our results showed that reading an unfavorable horoscope actually has the opposite effect on a person.” -Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene or a story where your protagonist makes an unlikely decision based on a bad horoscope.

Journaling Prompt: Do you believe in fate?

Art Prompt: Horoscope

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Inform your audience about superstitions that flourish today. 

Photo Credit: meddygarnet on Flickr

pinky-swear.

Why do people insist on pinky swearing? What’s so special about the pinky? Why is it considered such an honest appendage? -Eddie Wright, Broken Bulbs

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a scene where characters take an oath using a physical token such as the pinky swear.

Journaling Prompt: What ritual do you use when you are making a promise? Do you believe it makes the promise stronger somehow?

Art Prompt: Pinky swear

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell a funny and/or touching story about a promise you made to a friend when you were a kid.

Photo Credit: opacity on Flickr

Confusing Sign_Newhall Street_Birmingham_Sep12

This morning, going against all convention, I turned right instead of left and took my circuit—one of my circuits—in reverse. -Sven Birkerts, The Other Walk

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: What is your usual routine? How do you feel if you break routine?

Art Prompt: Routine

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about the benefits and dangers of routine. Suggest some ways that breaking a routine can lead to growth.

Photo Credit: Ian Halsey on Flickr

Arcadia II

In the twelfth century, a letter started circulating around medieval courts. This letter was from Prester John, the ruler of a utopian Christian nation with utopian societies and perpetual miracles. It was one of the first fantasies about stepping through a special passage to a magical land.
For three centuries, European monarchs sought out the kingdom of Prester John. Cartographers put in on maps, moving it from Asia to Africa to the Americas, as geographic knowledge expanded. Expeditions, many of which never returned, were sent out bringing letters and gifts to the great king. -Esther Ingliss-Arkell

Fiction Writing Prompt: Write a story or scene set in the time of Prester John.

Journaling Prompt: How do you envision a perfect place? 

Art Prompt: Utopia

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Tell the story of Prester John and how it captured the imaginations of people.

Photo Credit: Daniel Stark on Flickr

monsters in de muren

…some monsters in fiction are simply manifestations of the worst parts of us, or a trait that is out of control.
“When ideas get out of control, you get monsters,” says Cook. “Monsters, as an archetype, are simply a reflection of some aspect of our human nature greatly magnified to the level of destruction. That is where you get the werewolf, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, or the Hulk — something that’s inside of us that comes out.” -Science Daily

Fiction Writing Prompt: Create a monster for your story. Read the entire article at the link above for more ideas.

Journaling Prompt: What is the scariest monster for you?

Art Prompt: Monster

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about our fascination with the monster archetype and what we can learn about ourselves by examining it.

Photo Credit: Sytske_R on Flickr

Unknown Couple, Tintype, Circa 1895

Victorians were cautious about giving meat to women or sedentary scholars as it was believed to arouse passions that, finding no outlet, would lead to nervous introversion and illness. But it was regarded as the ultimate food for the strong, aggressive, and manly Englishman. -Lizzie Collingham, Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerers

Fiction Writing Prompt: What does your protagonist believe about different foods, healthy or dangerous?

Journaling Prompt: What foods do you believe help your health? What foods do you believe hurt it?

Art Prompt: Meat is for Men

Non-Fiction / Speechwriting Prompt: Write about a strange dietary fad.

Photo Credit: lisby1 on Flickr