Say it new

by Jun 11, 2020

A writing challenge: One Syllable

Today’s post is another one inspired by a daily prompt from The Isolation Journals, a creative writing project with daily prompts from Suleika Jaouad. I previously wrote about this challenge last month in What’s in A Name?

(description from the website)
A Daily Creativity Project to help make sense of challenging times.
This spring, Suleika will be serving up daily journaling prompts from some of the most inspiring writers, artists, musicians and unsung heroes she knows. We hope this creativity project sparks your imagination and helps us all process and stay connected during these difficult times.

The Prompt

This daily prompt (day 43) came from Victoria Redel, (@Victoriawriter)

Write at least one full page of prose or a poem. It can be a made-up tale, a scene, a thing you’ve just done or seen. It can be a dream. But the one thing you can’t do is use a word that’s more than one syllable.

Huh? Wait? What! No way! Come on, it’s fun. Trust me, it is. And, sure, it is tough. At least when you start.  But your voice will jazz in new ways. The beats of the words will pop in new ways. You will have to walk this way and that and bend and stretch to find your way to say the thing you need to say. Which means you will write in new ways.  Which is cool. It will not sound as odd as it seems.  (Just look… the one word in this whole long prompt that is not one syllable… is the word “syllable.”)

P.S. If you need more of a boost, here are some more words to use:  wood, whir, first, red, brush, trace, friend.

I wrote this last month in response to the One Syllable challenge issued on  Thursday, May 14, 2020

I do not tend to write in poetry form, and definitely not for sharing, so I am stepping out of my comfort zone to share this with you here. It was somehow simultaneously both difficult and freeing to write in this format.


Just Breathe

Stay home to stay safe
And do what?
Just breathe.

Be still.  Rest.
Give thanks.
Dream. Dream large and dream small.
Just breathe
And dream once more.

Then ask 
What can this new world bring?’
Change? Why not?
Take a chance. Try new things.
AND learn from the past.

Sit. Write.
Give thanks.

Plan. Think. Read.
And then? Act!
Break through – with a new you.
Be part of change for a new world
In these new times.
You can do this.
WE can do this.

Chip out the old that does not suit.
Let it go.
Do not look back. Look to growth.
Be free of what has not worked, will not work.
Know it will not do.
Move with strength to build.
With small steps each day.
Start now. Stay strong.
See it clear. Take aim. Act now.

And when you lose faith as you will do.
Just breathe.
And let go. Start fresh.
With no guilt.
With no “I should have” or “I blew it

Shed the old that does not serve.
Know that it will take time.
That is how it works.

Keep at it. Look to the change you want to see,
The YOU you want to be
Speak the change out loud.
Tell your heart.
Tell your mind.
Be a you that makes you proud.
And Just Breathe.

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Mary Elizabeth O'Toole

Educator, Artist, Storyteller


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