The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, January 1, 2019:


May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness.  I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art – write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can.  And I hope, somewhere in [this] year, you surprise yourself.

The Smart Witch meme on Facebook (h/t CO’N)


The Prompter Room

For Friday, March 23, 2018:


… [I]f one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours … If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.

Henry David Thoreau, WALDEN


The Prompter Room

For Friday, September 1, 2017:


What a singular moment is the first [dream], when you have hardly begun to recollect yourself, after starting from midnight slumber! By unclosing your eyes so suddenly … you find yourself, for a single instant, wide awake in that realm of illusions, whither sleep has been the passport, and behold its ghostly inhabitants and wondrous scenery, with a perception of their strangeness, such as you never attain while the dream is undisturbed.

… If you could choose an hour of wakefulness out of the whole night, it would be this.

Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Prompter Room

For Wednesday, March 9, 2016:


“I believe in everything until it’s disproved.  So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons.  It all exists, even if it’s in your mind.  Who’s to say that dreams and nightmares aren’t as real as the here and now?”

John Lennon

” … You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one …”

John Lennon

Some of the dreams I’ve had this last week or two sure have seemed real.  They’ve been quite bizarre, so I hope they’re not real.  They haven’t reached the nightmare stage, thank goodness, but I must be dealing with something in my unconscious to precipitate such strange people, actions, and images while I sleep.

I don’t know much about the dream life – though it is a field I want to study at some point when I’m feeling a little more courageous – and I rarely remember my dreams.  Even if I can’t remember specifics about them, bizarre or otherwise, I do carry with me a sense about them, a feeling of ‘I need to pay attention to this,’ or ‘I need to figure out why …’.  I know they’re telling me something.  They’re bringing up things I need to pay attention to.

My mother had a rich dream life.  She could remember most of her dreams almost like a flip book, those boxy little books of stop-action figures that moved across the pages in minute increments.  She was able to write them down and study them, and sometimes she even crafted stories or poems about them.

I so wish I could do that!  But then I believe in fairies – or faeries – and little people, or the possibility of them, and she didn’t.  We both believed in many myths, for there’s always at least a grain of truth in myths, but she didn’t believe in dragons and I do.  Kind of.  I have a strong symbolic connection to dragonflies.  They’re not the same, I know, but I do believe they are representative of the power and strength of dragons.  I believe there’s a freedom, an ease in and with life that speaks to me through dragon(flie)s.

Ultimately I believe in possibilities.  I believe in mysteries and symbols.  I believe in, and have experienced, what some call paranormal occurrences or mystical experiences.  There haven’t been all that many, but there have been enough over the years to assure me they are real, and some have found their way into my own stories and poems.

So maybe part of my dream life takes place while I’m awake.  When I think of all the possibilities, all the mysteries that can’t be answered or explained but that are waiting to be explored, the world opens up for me.

What if there were actually nothing to disprove?  Can you imagine that?  Surely I’m not the only one …

The Prompter Room

For Friday, January 15, 2016:


“The cost of not following your heart is spending the rest of your life wishing you had.”


If you’ve been reading here for a while, you’ll know that one of my childhood dreams was to write books.   It took me until I was in my mid-to-late 40s, but when I held my first novel in my hands, I knew I was finally on my way to achieving that dream.

Two things made that possible.  The first was a life-threatening illness and surgery.  When I survived that surgery, I was determined to fulfill my dream, whatever it took (within reason).  The other thing was that I reached a certain age, and when a lot of women reach that age, they decide not to worry about what others might think.  They’re going to be themselves, without apology.

Late yesterday afternoon I put up a new page here on this site.  If you go up to the top of the page on the screen, you’ll see ‘My Bookshelf.’  This includes a list of my books, blurbs, and links.  My books!  Plural!  And another novel and a poetry collection or two are almost ready to add to the list.

I’m not the best marketer in the world for my own writing (I’m better for others’ work), so I struggled – a little – with whether to put up this new page.  As I get older, though, I remember that childhood dream more and more vividly, I’m more and more determined to make it happen, and I’ve decided I’m not going to be shy about it or apologize.

So there you have it: ‘My Bookshelf’ is now ready for you to check it out.

While you’re at it, make your own list.  What books – or their equivalent – have you written?  I think you might surprise yourself.  Even if those manuscripts are still in a drawer, they count.  (My poetry collections that are coming, as noted above, have only recently migrated from that file drawer to the computer screen.)

Join me, then, and get your own books out!  Don’t be shy.  The world is waiting for your dream to come true.

The Prompter Room

For Thursday, December 31, 2015:


As we make the transition from one year to the next, I want to offer these thoughts to consider …

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it.  The time will pass anyway.”

Earl Nightingale

“I dwell in possibility.”

Emily Dickinson

May your new year be rich with possibility and dreams fulfilled.  In however small or large a way, thank you for including me in your journey.  If this humble editor can help further your dreams, please do be in touch.

Above all, I wish for you many blessings in your writing and creative endeavors in the new year!

~~ Genie

The Prompter Room

For Friday, November 27, 2015:


“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”

C. S. Lewis

As a lifelong optimist, I have always set new goals and dreamed new dreams.  Yes, sometimes it’s out of necessity, but I’ve always needed — and wanted — something to strive for.  It can be a little disorienting at times, especially when life needs to be rearranged or rearranges itself, but for me it’s better than wallowing in the same old-same old.  Even as much as I relish and need routine, a new goal or dream, especially one where I can be creative, keeps my soul alive.

There are goals and dreams that are waiting for you to claim them.  Maybe it’s to write five new sentences today.  Maybe it’s to finish your work-in-progress or start a brand new one.  Maybe you’ve wanted to apply to school or for a course of study.

What is waiting for you?  Go for it!  Maybe, just maybe, that dream will come true!

The Prompter Room

For Wednesday, October 28, 2015:

“Poetry puts starch in your backbone so you can stand, so you can compose your life.”

Maya Angelou

My mother used to have a rich and vivid dream life, one she relied on, one she would often write about.  When she had to undergo chemotherapy, though, her dreams seemed to dry up.  One day she was in such despair she was almost in tears.  In a flash of insight or intuition, I made a suggestion.  Instead of her usual pre-sleep habit of doing crossword and other word puzzles, I recommended that she read poetry.  We had a large and varied library of poetry books and collections, so she had plenty from which to choose.

The next morning she came out smiling.  The first words out of her mouth were, ‘I had some dreams last night!  I don’t remember much about them, but I know I dreamed.’  From then on, that became her new habit — and not just at bedtime.  Sometimes she read poetry throughout the day, and it wasn’t long before she started writing poems herself.  Though she wrote a lot during her life, and was a very good writer, she had never written her own poetry.  Frequently her poems were based on the dreams that were once again a regular part of her life, sometimes they were just a few lines about the goings-on in the natural world she could see from her windows, some were humorous, some were poignant reflections about her journey with cancer.

If I’ve never done anything else right in my life, I know my seemingly simple suggestion was right for my mother at the right time.  I believe it helped my mother compose what turned out to be the last several months of her life, and I often give thanks for that unsought and extraordinary insight.

It Never Gets Old

A couple of mornings ago, the mail had a treat for me.  Wrapped in a thin cardboard mailer was my third book, A Short Guide to Hospitable Writing.  It is thin and it is short, but it was just as exciting to open it up, to gaze upon the front cover, and to hold it in my hands, as it was my first book.  And my second one.  It doesn’t matter the length or the genre — each one is my baby, and it just never gets old to see them come to fruition in the world.

Once upon a time, wa-a-ay before email and PCs and print-on-demand publishing, my dream was to establish my own desktop publishing enterprise.  Like many writers — and maybe some editors, too — I produced a family ‘newspaper’ that I designed, laid out and typed out (this was so long ago I had to use carbon paper to make multiple copies!), and distributed.  At that point in my life, I planned to be a print journalist, so this was, in my mind, a natural thing to do.  I still remember sitting at a rigged-up desk up in the attic for the whole process, using a little manual typewriter that had been my mother’s.

I had such a good time doing that little ‘newspaper,’ and about two decades later, that morphed — evolved? — into my dream of desktop publishing.  Those papers were followed by much more official newsletters for churches or organizations to which I belonged.  Over the decades, I graduated from manual to electric typewriters, then to a word processor, and then to computers.  I never did become a journalist, even though much of my school training was geared towards that career, but my dream of publishing never died.

As it turned out, I didn’t need to get into desktop publishing because print-on-demand emerged onto the technological and publishing scenes.  Regardless of whether one thinks POD is vanity publishing, it turned the world of books on its ear.  I do not think most POD enterprises are vanity presses.

Rather I think it’s a new take on the newspaper, which, unfortunately, is going the way of the dodo.  Print-on-demand and ebooks now enable myriad people who cannot, or who choose not to, get into the traditional publishing houses.  This, then, means more and more people, authors, writers, have more and more options for getting their own words out into the world.

That is unbelievably exciting, and I am delighted to be part of it on a small scale, both as a writer and as part of a POD enterprise, Branch Hill Publications (  In the five years we’ve been in operation, we’ve published over a dozen books and I’ve edited several others.  That may not seem like a lot, but it means poetry collections, memoirs, novels, short story collections, and non-fiction manuscripts that never would have seen the light of day — or would have taken years to do so — are now available for people’s reading pleasure.  We don’t publish every submission because we’re more than a little picky.  We do, though, read every manuscript, make suggestions for improvement, and encourage each and every author because we know the thrill of holding that book in our hands and want others to have that experience as well.

And now I’ve held my third book, my third baby.  My third!  Well, actually, it’s a proof copy, but it’s the same feeling because I know the real thing will be available in 24-48 hours for others to hold.  It just never gets old — which is a good thing, because more are coming, manuscripts I’ve held onto for years!