Review: A Month of Writing Prompts 2016 by Julie Duffy

A Month of Writing Prompts 2016: A Writing Guide (A Month of Writing Prompts from Book 3)A Month of Writing Prompts 2016: A Writing Guide by Julie Duffy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Julie Duffy, the creator of StoryADay May, provides a great roadmap for successfully writing a story a day in May 2016, with prompts organized by weekly focus topics including constraints and craft elements. I quickly browsed the prompts and feel ready to start writing on May 1st! Glad to have this book to guide me, because I was worried about keeping up with the objective.

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StoryADay May 2016 Day 0

A Successful NaPoWriMo 2016!

During National (Global!) Poetry Writing Month 2016, I managed to write over thirty poems, only struggled for ideas or with sickness or laziness on a few days, and discovered that ideas are at least as plentiful as there are days in April. I also committed to self-publishing on my blog at least one poem a day; sharing approximately thirty of them during a month of quick quantity over quality seemed like a no-brainer because I plan to write thousands of poems in my life.

Thank you Maureen Thorson for creating and managing this wonderful annual activity. Thank you everyone who read and shared my work. Thank you to all the poets who shared their work and provided me with daily inspiration. And thank you to the following poets and artists especially who participated and shared their frequently astronomy and planetary science-related poetry and sketches on Twitter, shared my work, and kept me honest and inspired every single day:

Here is a list of all my published NaPoWriMo 2016 poems for easy reference:

  1. April
  2. Bad Neighbors
  3. Brother
  4. The Ancients in Their Frozen Tombs
  5. Shock Level Zero
  6. Caught on Camera
  7. In which new followers learn I’m gay
  8. Return to Oz
  9. Shock Level One
  10. The City as Fairy Tale
  11. Dragging
  12. Shock Level Two
  13. But Why, The Shape of Things, and En Them Que Rumble
  14. Mountain Gerunds
  15. Planetary Protection Nursery Rhyme
  16. Hi, I’m Not Lucy and Hi, I’m Not Rebecca
  17. Shock Level Three
  18. Hi, I’m Not Sacajawea
  19. Meta Malone
  20. Shock Level Four
  21. His Mother and the Juniper Tree
  22. Airport, Watching People
  23. Stone’s Thrown
  24. Legendary
  25. Visitors
  26. Vineyard
  27. Sick Day
  28. One Night Stand
  29. Below the Ice
  30. April Recap

April Recap

When the words spilled
out, I had lost my mind,
let all the grime—
y past return.

In a watchful hour,
or fleeing minutes,
served seconds of whom
I don’t know I introduced.

These April showers
on the thirtieth for drowning
glory and hope
of mourning, end

on a new May morning;
after a modicum
of poesy
a month for writing prose—

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 30

Below the Ice

We as a people were warned
about falling, about losing
ourselves to the gaps, while
the master classes hunched,
huddled, held us, and dared to drop

us into horrible abyss. A haunted
fear heated high enough hid
a daring dream: to fall. To fall fast
enough that the bursting happened
after new wonders were witnessed,
after our skin hardened, after
those who fall leave behind
those who fall further, stronger,
hand over hand over hand out
of bodies soft without use or
wondering what it was

beyond a metaphor used to keep
us where we were most wanted
just what we were falling into.

For counting, more than enough
hands. For remembering, more
brains and passing along the count
to our children and theirs.

And so the holding held, the
hands kept counting, the hands
evolved, and the uprising
arrived with demons from below,
the fallen returned, climbing
to say hello while ignoring
clutching classes that
tried to tear us in their holding
hell, then threw us, go then,
may we never see you ever
again, monsters, and how do we
do for ourselves?

With enough time, everyone
remembered falling and everyone
remembered having fallen and
then falling was just another
direction to stand upright
again and free,

hand on the ice, looking up at rock
and deciding the space between
was good enough for solvent industry,

falling just another venture,
and with the heat of our
old source holds, the liquid
transport, and the ever ice and its
breaches to even more ground,
we stood our ground and gained
ground and the Empire between
found better use for class
than masters and slaves.

These kinds of changes take time,
but it seemed like no time at all
before the ground heat rock and
the ground ice were laced
with our cutting-edge
column striving, poisoning our
composite people, making industry
its own slave master. So we dug,
we enslaving hands and heads,
specialized swimmers, and machine-braced
former miners and masters now body, into the ice,
looking for deeper holes and the secret
to not killing everything above. In deeper holes
already weak and in the guise of branching
discontinuities we found the geysers, into which
falling was dangerous again, and with them
erupted new myth-
building and rebellions, and

the drilling and mapping of a mirrors and windows
firma, its own currents cracks
and labyrinths begetting in violence
new composite people
losing their fears while finding
freedom in dangerous spaces
that seemed to get brighter and more distorting
until we evacuated the final truth.

At the same time we peaked up
to distances unimagined by our fictions
or falling, under the whirlpool
of gas ball we had no name for, amidst
a frigid cold we would need to adapt soon for,

an alien people had sent their stark metal means
to find their own way in, down, into all of our down,
our rock and ice and the ocean between.

Braced in that complex zone of phase transitions
we hands-brains-body symbiotes in harmonious
excitement took turns imagining
appropriate ways to say hello,
in all that endless empty space,
to other explorers.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 29

One Night Stand

I can’t with waking yellow eyes
see who I went to bed with,
nor smell him or touch him,
when night we entered
is stranger. A plague upon
you, he wakes, and I once
watched my husband
curse on a mountain,
holding a plaque,

(did he say plaques?)

while the books I read
all titled He Held Me
missed words and were about how
I could not discover his name
until I authored them. That smell,
my goodness,
it’s the musty


smell of books (him) that sniffs
back his face and his old
unnerving display
of despair. I forgot
he’s not a danger, he’s
the man I love, and
the tock of our synchronized
clocks tick less and less
the few days we have left.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 28


Tonight the wine turns to water
and flows back uphill, leaving
the gripes behind, and our son,
the vast acres of land owned
by our parents, the local
heap of help and acceptance,
the mountains and their valley
stomping, marriage equality,
clouds of vinegar, dust
and moisture, our fermenting
curse words under years
of labels, bottled
up, corked, stored
for the two of us to sell
or on this perfect
anniversary shatter at our
feat of lasting this long a part
of a bouquet sniffed without
identifying cedar or caramel,
care or amends, the chances
we took, hints of smoke,
when the sun froze,
when he noticed, and now old
enough and adopted,
he rises to toast much more
than the vintage whines of his fathers.

#NaPoWriMo 2016 Day 26