Quarterly Prompts

1st Quarter Prompts: Community (July-September)

Prompt 1: Where I’m From…

Read Where I’m From by George Ella Lyon, from her book by the same title.  After you read the poem, take out a sheet of paper and a pen and write for fifteen minutes.  If you like you may begin as the author does by writing, “I am from…”

Here’s a sample of a song “Florida Song” written by Cathy DeWitt’s StorySongs workshop participants.  Classes are offered on Mondays at 3:30pm at the Senior Recreation Center.

Prompt 2: What’s my name?

Spend 15 minutes interviewing someone about the origin of their name.  Use the following questions to get started, then create your own.

  • What does your name mean?
  • Were you named after someone?
  • Is your last name also the name of a place, occupation or thing?
  • Does your name have cultural significance?
  • Do you have any nicknames?
  • Did you change your name or think about it?
  • How have you made your name your own?
  • Do you have a secret name?

Here’s a sample of a poem created by VA Chaplain Glen Busby about Art in the Gardens’ Veteran artist, Glenn Moody.  Art in the Gardens is a bi-weekly visual art program for local veterans.

Prompt 3: Home Sweet Home

Draw a picture of a favorite house where you’ve spent time with people you love.  It could be your childhood home or a relative’s house.  Feel free to draw to include or focus on an outdoor space like a park, beach, or yard that evokes happy memories.  Also feel free to write about your experiences in these spaces along with your drawing or in place of it.

Ms. Mackey created this drawing while working with dance/movement therapist, Elizabeth Snow, in response to the prompt to draw a home that would feel safe, comfortable, and pain-free. Ms. Mackey described sailing to the Caribbean, swinging in a hammock, and feeling the ocean breeze and warm sun.

“Working with Arts in Medicine, and expressing my mind, body, and spirit has helped me through my hospital stay.”    – Bertis Mackey, age 27






2nd Quarter Prompts: Gratitude (October-December)

Prompt 1: Write a letter to an emotion.  For further inspiration, read the poem “To Happiness” by Carl Dennis.

Prompt 2: Recall a particularly memorable meal.  Consider writing a journal entry or poem about the experience or draw 3 to 5 of your favorite ingredients.

The above piece was created by AIM Volunteer, Kailee Vickaryous, who works with Dance for Life and AIM Kids.

Prompt 3:  Read the poem “Witness” by Denise Levertov.  Take a minute to do whatever you do to center yourself–close your eyes, focus on your health, or bodily sensations.  If you are connected in some way with the poem, write, draw, or paint from the “witnessing presence” she talks about.

3rd Quarter Prompts: Creativity (January-March)

Prompt 1: Speed portraits: Find a friend.  Spend no more than 5 minutes drawing portraits of one another.  Take turns.  And leave out any criticism of the finished drawings.  The goal is to relax and take time to look closely at your friend.

Prompt 2: Write a poem or short story by starting with the phrase, “If I were a…” For inspiration read “If I Were a Dog” by Richard Shelton.

Prompt 3:  Find a sturdy piece of paper. (Watercolor paper works well for this activity). Gather magazines or colorful pieces of scrap paper.  Spend 10 or 15 minutes making a collage. Don’t put too much thought into arranging images.  Allow the process to flow naturally.  When you are finished with the collage, spend a few more minutes writing about the process. Did any new creative ideas spring to mind?