Category Archives: Writing Prompt Wednesday

Writing Prompt Wednesday: The End Is In Sight

Happy Wednesday, my friends! I hope you all are enjoying the Forum web selection– I’m really happy with the pieces our editors chose to spotlight! Please look forward to more awesome writing and art in the near future.

Today’s Forum Lab is all about going over the final proof so that the book can go to the printers! We’re still finding a few trailing issues, but that’s how it always is with publishing, right?

The end is near, though, and the launch party is coming soon!
(An official post will go up as soon as I have approved art for it, courtesy of the multi-talented and over-worked Carolina Pistone.)


Which brings us to today’s writing prompt!

Since we’re busy little ants, finalizing everything for publication, today’s prompt is:

“The End Is In Sight”

What does that mean to you? Let us know through fiction, poetry, nonfiction or art.

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Wednesday Writing Prompt: Postcard-sized

Good evening, friends and family! Welcome to our penultimate Forum Lab. The magazine is coming along well, with the proofs just about ready and the acceptance letters being written as I type.

Keep an eye on this space for announcements about the launch party at the end of May– I promise, it’s coming soon!

The other major topic tonight was our class presentations on other literary magazines, ft. Poetry Editor Kevin C. giving us the history of seminal pulp mag Weird Tales and Poetry Reader C S. introducing us to three magazines: The Moth, a top-notch Irish magazine, The Hoot Review, postcards from the literary dimension, and The Caterpillar, literary writing from adults for kids.

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Alex enjoys some delicious treats provided by the ever-gracious C.

Today’s writing prompt is inspired by C’s presentation!

The Hoot Review publishes poetry and “microfiction” that can fit on a postcard– try your hand at writing short flash fiction or poetry that is 150 words or less!

the hoot review
A small sample of The Hoot postcards provided by C

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Writing Prompt Wednesday (on Thursday)

Hey everyone! I know we took a bit of a sabbatical last week (Forum Lab was canceled because Professor Young had the flu– happily she’s much better now), but I definitely missed y’all.

Here are a couple of photos from yesterday’s lab, where we wrestled with the final proofs, talked about grammar, and tried to obey Graphics’ directives about cutting some pages. Y’all, we got so many awesome submissions the editors and readers loved that Graphics had to ask us to cut 20-40 pages! So, you know, if you submitted something and it didn’t get in, keep in mind that there was a ton of amazing competition and we definitely want you to try again in the Fall.


On to the writing prompt!

I’ve seen some amazing quotes for National Poetry Month, but I think this one, from G.K. Chesterton’s essay Cheese, has to be one of my favorites.

Respond to this beautiful and extremely deep quote in any way you please:

 

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A poet’s hope: / to be, like some valley cheese, / local, but prized elsewhere. (W.H. Auden, “Shorts II”, Collected Poetry, 1976)

 


Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Writing Prompt Wednesday: Spotlight on Haiku

Happy Wednesday, everyone. We are back from spring break! Today’s topics are all about finalizing publishing documents, page counts, fact checking, and arguing about whether we should cross-publish pieces here and in the magazine (make your opinions known in the comments, y’all!)

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Professor Jen Sullivan Brych, Carolina and Obo listen to C (off-camera) holding forth

We’re also starting work on some group projects reviewing other literary magazines, because professional development is important.


On to the writing prompt!

Spotlight on Haiku

I know we all learned a very rigid definition of the form when we were in grade school– a three line form with the format of five syllables/seven syllables/five syllables. If you pick up any book of joke haiku, you’ll see this impulse at work.

There are other traditional haiku rules that we don’t talk about as much– writing in the present tense, a “season word,” (kigo) which is a nature image specifying the time of year. Still, many modern poets writing haiku break with the traditional formats– modern haiku, especially, are increasingly unlikely to follow the tradition of 17 syllables or to take nature as their subject.

But the essence of haiku is the juxtaposition of two images or ideas with a kireji (cutting word) or caesura between them, a verbal or visual punctuation mark signaling the moment of separation and relation.

Below are a few famous or Forum staff-written haiku to get you going:

Matsuo Bashō:
In the twilight rain
these brilliant-hued hibiscus –
A lovely sunset

Yosa Buson:
Over-ripe sushi,
The Master
Is full of regret.

Richard Wright:
With a twitching nose
A dog reads a telegram
On a wet tree trunk.

Zach Hauptman (Forum Web Editor):
pilgrimage–
a late afternoon
coffee break

Kriz Natalie Monrose (Forum NonFiction Editor):
madness creeps out and
plays, in and out of the shadows
breaking my mental state

shadows play
on the raven’s wings
in my mind

Alexandra Saba (Forum Assistant Web Editor):
flickering lights shine
through early morning windows
sirens sing their song


Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Writing Prompt Wednesday:

It’s another week, that means it’s another Forum lab! Today’s topics include cover choices, finalizing choices and table of contents (look for acceptance emails once that’s done), copy-editing and getting pestered by me for blog material.

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Kriz Natalie with our cover options.

While you’re waiting, take a moment to write something fun based on the below prompt.

Today’s prompt is:
A Secret Someone Else Doesn’t Know

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

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At Earth’s End, Carolina Pistone (Photography)

Writing Prompt Wednesday (on Thursday)

I know you all must be on tenterhooks waiting for more Forum Magazine news. We’re still in the last whirlwind days of finalizing choices (there are so many amazing pieces, you guys), deciding on fonts and graphics and planning our last couple of steps.

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The talented Graphics Department passed along two Forum mock-up pages using Camille Chavez’s “Tides” and Kristopher Helton’s “Suicide Moment” from the Spring 2016 volume.

While you’re waiting, take a moment to write something fun based on the below prompt:

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Projections, Jenny Holzer 2009

Whenever you write a poem, story, take a picture, or create a piece of artwork based on these prompts, you can post it in the comments or submit it to submissions@forumccsf.org for consideration on the Forum Magazine Blog.

Make sure to follow all submission guidelines and in the subject line include “Writing Prompt Wednesday”. In the body of the email, please include the writing prompt you used for your piece.

Weekly Feature Editor #2: James (Jesse) Crawford

Mirror
By James Crawford
I.
I can’t speak for the mirror, standing
outside, I am inside & different, and
why question anything anyways if it’s
the room that thinks we live our lives
strange.
a tiny apartment, a kitchen, & a closet
is emptied of items that might suggest
— a couple is living, taking up
space (what else) standing several
feet apart they stare into a mirror.
II.
The space between us
is the void. a carpet.
the absence of a rug.
the thought of your dog
shedding in June the winter
we thought we’d lost him.
(it must be strange. alone.
in that big house)
I am behind you(hello)
I am living. more as couch
than person. you are window
(&I mess up. I call you television)
we change names the same way.
an old man complains. the summer
is hot. winter is not cold enough.
we change names hoping
humans
are seasonal things. will stick
around with the earth.
(men are not built in motion.
But in still hammocks of their own
imagination.)
Drying,
dripping wet. you come out of the
shower. the diffused
light. like a quick violence
in July. is frightening the blackbirds filling the
frame. obscuring you. (as an idea)
your form: a black cloud. your
nakedness: another kind of death. with
a towel crown. the fog dissipates. &it
appears that I am sleeping. Dreaming you
as television.
III.
As couch. A few years from now.
I sit &expect you among others.
today is your birthday. happy
birthday. I wonder if you will
leave your house. At the party,
people dance to wild music (Can
you recall the viola player’s face?
The dutiful shadow. Who stayed
Silent till morning. Needing only
the fare
to get wherever
he was going next.)
You arrive late under a large, Russian satellite.
Refusing Heaven. Like a crucifix.
You take the seat across from me.
Adjust your awkward antennae. Channel your suffering.
(with an umbrella, he shields you from the sun&
with his free hand points west, assuring you, “Arizona
didn’t kill your mother”
((no))
Your mother killed your mother in the second person,
&then poured herself a drink. I read it in a poem. It
was taped to a pipe under our sink.)
IV.
Through the open window
church bells come in& touch everything:
Your body’s black script
My own pale index of symbols. Naked by the
bookshelf where poems go missing (which poem.
this poem? I can no longer be certain) they knock
at my chest and wait for the heart to answer.
Yesterday,
I hung the mirror to the ceiling. Underneath,
our bodies took shape in a painting I’d make.
One winter alone.
Near the place where men kill chickens.
Believe the magician.
Two things can happen at once, but always
with the possibility
one or the other is forgotten.

Editors Write: Craving IV

Forum Magazine is proud to present to you our fourth installment of “Editors Write,” this time Forum’s Non-Fiction Editor and Visual Arts Co-Editor, the wonderful Elise Stewart.

This piece was inspired by the prompt “craving.”  Please take a look, and always feel free to post your own work in the comments section below, or send it to submissions@forumccsf.org, subject heading “Writing Prompt Wednesday.”  Thanks, and enjoy!

_

“Craving and aversion are the source of your misery. Remain perfectly equanimous.”
I took a 10-day silent meditation course and hoped it would answer all my questions and solve all my woes.
“Scan the body,” asserted the teacher. “You may feel unpleasant, gross sensations; do not react with aversion. You may feel pleasant, subtle sensations; do not react with craving. You will only multiply your misery.”
One night I woke up tapping my knuckles against the wall in my dorm. I wondered if I’d woken anyone else up. I wanted to hug the girl in the dorm next to mine, who I had met right before we entered silence: “Le Chaim,” she said, as we walked up to the meditation hall for the first time. “Le Chaim,” I repeated back, realizing that Chaim now not only came at the end of the course, but book-ended it.
I wanted desperately to hug her when I woke up knocking on the wall. I wanted to hug my mom, and the guy who I had gone on two dates with before I left. I chided myself for craving these hugs. I developed an aversion to the craving. “Do not react. You will only multiply the misery. Do not react.”
I left the night before the end of the course. I told them I needed to be with my family, and that I could not be late. They said they would not allow it–that I was rebelling. I thanked them for the free food, and showed them my keys.
At the cemetery the next morning, I craved my uncle’s presence, and felt an aversion to his absence. Only, I welcomed this misery as a compliment to the joy that also existed within me, in remembering my time with him. “You are allowed to react,” I thought to myself, as they unveiled Chaim’s headstone.

Editors Write: Craving

Forum Magazine is proud to present to you some pieces from our very own staff here on the blog!

Over the next few days, we’re going to post some pieces inspired by our very own Writing Prompt Wednesday.  This week’s pieces were inspired by the prompt “craving,” and was written by our Social Media and Assistant Non-Fiction Editor, Leith Mahoney-Maver.   Please take a look, and always feel free to post your own work in the comments section below, or send it to submissions@forumccsf.org, subject heading “Writing Prompt Wednesday.”  Thanks, and enjoy!

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Post-It_War.jpg
Post-It Wars.  Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Post-It_War.jpg

“You know why people are poor?  Because they’re not hungry enough!  You have to be hungry if you want to succeed.  That’s it!”

I dated this man, and he wasn’t talking about needing a cheeseburger.  He meant “hungry” in a more metaphorical sense.  People didn’t crave power enough, he said.  That’s why they amounted to nothing in the end, he said.

He told me how, when he was a kid in middle of one of his 18-hour marathon video game runs, it occurred to him that life is, in fact, a video game, only there’s no restart button.

“You only get one life.  You only get one chance to win.”

I rolled my eyes.  He stared at me.  Hurt.  Confused that I didn’t subscribe to his creed.  I mean, I played my fair share of “The Sims Unleashed” back in the day, but this was a whole new level of boyhood fantasy I wasn’t accustomed to.

His statement seemed absurd to me, but he couldn’t have been more serious.  Which forced me to picture him as one of the Mario Brothers–the green one, since he always looked so good in green–walking to work down Market Street, dodging cars, power-stripping up escalators, and collecting an obscene amount of coins from clients in New York as the best damn securities litigation attorney Nintendo had ever seen.

We broke up shortly after his revelation.  I could sense his judgment.  I didn’t crave power enough.  I was Player 2.  He was Player 1.  And only one player gets to win in the end.

Last I heard, he was on the level where you work 18-hour days in the office.  We spoke over dinner.  He sounded lonely.  Distant.  Like he was about to jump and miss his landing.  He was losing.  Staring at me.  Hurt.  Confused.  Fingers creeping across the table toward me, like I might be the restart button.

Writing Prompt Wednesday, and Happy Birthday Robert Frost!

Our own San Francisco native poet would have been 140-years-old today.  Alas, he died at the age of 88, but his poems live on and in celebration of his genius, we’re devoting this week’s Writing Prompt Wednesday contest to his poem “The Road Not Taken.”

Submit your piece inspired by today’s writing prompt to submissions@forumccsf.org and you could win a Spring 2014 issue of Forum Magazine, have your piece featured on the blog and be considered for publication in the Fall 2014 issue!

All you have to do is create a work inspired by the last stanza of one of Frost’s most celebrated works,

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