What’s happening in November?

To begin with I joined the November poema-day (PAD) chapbook challenge, always led by Robert Lee Brewer, Writer’s Digest poetry editor. He does this challenge twice a year. The next one will be in July.

I think it’s a wonderful exercise. He provides the prompts which are sometimes silly and not like anything I would choose to write about on my own, yet they give me the little bit of push I need to keep at my poetry writing.

Today is Day 4 and the prompt is:

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Night (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles might include: “Night Hawk,” “Night Rider,” “Night and Day,” “Night Watchman,” or even “Nightmare.”

I haven’t written to this prompt yet, but I will share what I wrote to the Day 1 prompt:

Write a once upon a time poem. The title of the poem could be “Once Upon a Time,” or the first words could be. Or you could do what I did in my attempt below: I pretended the words “once upon a time” preceded the first line of my poem.

Once Upon A Time

It seems so long ago
when I believed in
once upon a time,
in fairy tales, nursery rhymes,
prince charmings,
and play acting with little friends
and our dolls.
I wonder if children
now even bother
with make believe anymore.
If not, it’s too bad.
Every child needs
their once upon a time moments.
Isn’t that what childhood is for?
But these days the lives of children,
especially those separated
from their families at the border,
will never be able to emulate
those happy once upon a time days.
How could they?
While reeking in neglect,
a once upon a time story
would be nothing but
a mystery to them.

I encourage you to join me this month. It’s still not too late. Go here to get your prompts.

The other writing event I’m participating in is the Digital Author & Indie Publishing Writers Conference this coming weekend, November 9th and 10th. I’ll be on a panel discussion on the topic, “Assembling Anthologies and Getting Small Press Love,” Saturday morning, November 9 at ten fifteen.

So please come on over. It’s at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel, Los Angeles – Westside, 6161 West Centinela Avenue, Culver City, California, 90230-6306.

Besides these events I’m still working on my other writing and reading projects. I’m about half-way through a book a writing friend asked me to read and review, and after I finish that I’m on to the other books in my never-ending queue.

Plus I’m revising my new memoir, which I’m sad to say is going much slower than I’d like to admit. That I still journal every day is a good way to jump start me in the memoir work every day. I’m a huge fan of journaling. I encourage all of you to fill in those blank pages either online or in a paper notebook. Your writing work will definitely blossom as a result.

So on to the rest of my day – that Day 4 prompt is waiting for me.


  1. Re: journaling. One year, for many reasons, I could not do much writing other than journaling. This went on for about five months. I regretted not working on other material and felt that I was losing time. When I resumed writing beyond the journal I was amazed at how more fluent I actually was. I attributed it to the free-form writing of journaling. Journaling is not separate from your writing practice.

    • Madeline Sharples says

      I totally agree with you, Denis. I couldn’t write other things if it weren’t for my journaling practice. I journal every day.

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