The Prompter Room

For Friday, December 14, 2018:


The Tao Te Ching is partly in prose, partly in verse; but as we define poetry now, not by rhyme and meter but as a patterned intensity of language, the whole thing is poetry. I wanted to catch that poetry, its terse, strange beauty. Most translations have caught meanings in their net, but prosily, letting the beauty slip through. And in poetry, beauty is no ornament; it is the meaning. It is the truth.

Ursula K. Le Guin, A BOOK ABOUT THE WAY AND THE POWER OF THE WAY, on the legacy of Lao Tzu’s TAO TE CHING



The Prompter Room

For Friday, March 31, 2017:


If sometimes our great artists have been the most critical of our society, it is because their sensitivity and their concern for justice, which must motivate any true artist, make [them] aware that our Nation falls short of its highest potential.  I see little of more importance to the future of our country and our civilization than full recognition of the place of the artist.

… We must never forget that art is not a form of propaganda; it is a form of truth …

John F. Kennedy – Eulogy for Robert Frost, October 26, 1963, Amherst College

The Prompter Room

For Friday, January 6, 2017:


As you start out in rough drafts [of your memoir], setting down stories as clearly as you can, there begins to burble up onto the page what’s exclusively yours both as a writer and a human being.  If you trust the truth enough to keep unveiling yourself on the page … the book will naturally structure itself to maximize what you’re best at.  You’re best at it because it sits at the core of your passions.


The Prompter Room

For Friday, November 4, 2016:


Among the great questions of the human heart, none is more central than the question, ‘Who am I?’  And among the great answers of the human spirit, none is more central than the experience of ‘I am.’  In fact, in the course of an intensely lived life – a normal human life filled with the search for Truth – this question and this answer eventually run parallel to each other, coming closer and closer together until the question becomes the answer and the answer becomes the question.

Jacob Needleman, I AM NOT I

The Prompter Room

For Tuesday, March 8, 2016:


“A writer is a person who cares what words mean, what they say, how they say it.  Writers know words are their way towards truth and freedom, and so they use them with care, with thought, with fear, with delight.”

Ursula K. LeGuin

It’s hard for me to believe, but I started this site ten months ago, and this daily feature of a writing prompt five or six months ago.  My purpose in both is summed up in Ms. LeGuin’s statement above.  I wanted then, and I want now, to serve as a writing companion for other writers, some of whom may be starting out, some of whom may be struggling, some  who may just want company in this sometimes-solitary work we do and who might keep me company.

When I started this venture, my hope was that, via the blogging universe, I could reach others who care about words and writing and creativity as much as I do, or more.  I hoped I could help one or two sister or brother writers move closer to fulfilling their dreams.  If I could do that on occasion, then I could count this adventure a success.

Well, apparently I have managed to do that, at least once in a while.  Others’ feedback and responses have all been generous and positive – sometimes glowing, if I may say so – and I appreciate that more than I can say.  It keeps me going.  Thank you!

Thank you, too, to the two bloggers who recently nominated my blog for two separate awards!   I’m still new enough to this form of community that I need to figure out how to accept these accolades, but when I do, there should be some ‘bling’ here on the site somewhere.  I’m looking forward to that – I may be old, but I still enjoy some fun once in a while!

Thank you to everyone who’s been along on this journey, and I hope you will continue.  It delights me no end that all of us care enough about words – our own and others’ – that we come together through our blogs to help each other and keep each other company.

Bless you all!

~~ Genie


The Prompter Room

For Monday, February 22, 2016:


“Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original mind.  It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.”

Allen Ginsberg

“Artists are the gatekeepers of truth.”

Paul Robson

Part of me wishes we were still in the era of smoky coffeehouses and Beat poetry.  Those single, individual poets spoke – one at a time – for those who couldn’t, and for those who weren’t aware enough to know that they should.  Another part of me is glad we aren’t still there, as much as I’m grateful for their courage and example.

Gradually those voices grew in number and volume.  “The times, they were a-changing,” and calls for revolution, for ‘speaking truth to power,’ were heard in poetry and song and underground newspapers, on the streets, soap boxes, and college campuses, from jail cells to concert halls to muddy farmlands.  The ‘establishment’ was horrified, of course, but over time the voices for change eventually led to much-needed and new ways of thinking, doing, and being.

There’s still much work to be done, of course, and today’s political cacophony – or circus, as some pundits have dubbed it – is evidence of that.  Look around, though, and you can still find poets, writers, songwriters, and artists on the stage, the front lines, and smack dab in the middle of marches.  You probably know some personally.  Maybe you’re among them.

I’ve long pondered why artists are such political creatures, why so many end up being change agents in big and small ways.  Is there something in their genetic makeup?   It’s such a general truth, though, that I think art schools and writing curricula should include – if they don’t already – classes on protesting and revolution because, more than likely, their students will need to know what to expect.

Perhaps we’re political because we’re creative, we’re intimate with the creative process.  We see possibilities, we can see beauty in people and places that others can’t.  Conversely, we can see terror or heartbreak or loneliness that others can’t, and that propels us to do anything to make others understand and change all that.  We see beyond what is static in front of our eyes, we can make the intuitive leap into imagination and something better.

We help open the doors and the gates behind which so many are trapped, where so many cower, either from their fear of being thought wrong or because they are seen as different.

Whether we incite change alone or with others, quietly or loudly, slowly or quickly, we owe it to those whose shoulders – whose words, songs, visual art – we stand on to continue the good fight.  The world needs artists to be aware for those who aren’t.  The world needs artists to protect and give voice to the truth and to those who can’t speak for themselves.

Thank you for being an artist.