#Writober Begins Tomorrow: bring on the spooky thrills and chills

Here Comes Writober photo by Maria L. Berg 2021

In my mid-September post How to Capture the Love in Apathy and the Apathy in Love, I spent a little time looking forward to fun events in October. Now it’s almost here, and I hope you’ll join me for all the reading, writing, and photography fun.

R. I. P. XVII Readers Imbibing Peril

Peril of the Short Story! So far I’ve read a couple stories from The Weird: A Compendium of Strange and Dark Stories edited by Jeff and Ann VanderMeer, but had to return it to the library. I have it on hold, so I’m waiting to be able to check it out again. While I’m waiting, I have H. P. Lovecraft’s stories in The Dunwich Horror and The Colour out of Space to keep me feeling creepy.

Peril of the Screen! To start off my Halloween horror binge, I watched Hellraiser and Hellbound:Hellraiser II. I used to have a lot of problems with blood, and body horror, so maybe that’s why I remember these films as being scary. Now they are mildly gross, but the monster effects are entertaining. I also found my Muppet Show VHS tape with the Alice Cooper episode and the Vincent Price episode, so I’m enjoying watching that.

Peril of the Fiction Read! I haven’t started yet, but I have a lot of thrillers on my kindle I want to read. I’m going to start with These Toxic Things by Rachel Howzell Hall. I won a copy of The Year of the Monster by Tara Stillions Whitehead from Library Thing Early Reviewers, so I ‘ll also be reading and reviewing that as soon as I get it.

Writober 7

This year I’m returning to the original #Writober format of writing a flash fiction story each day. I think in the past, I found this goal overwhelming (and thus dropped out) because I was trying to write stories of just under 1,000 words. This year I’m thinking of writing stories of 250-500 words. If I get excited by my idea, I can always write more.

Each flash fiction will be inspired by an image. I’ve put this year’s selections in a folder on Pinterest. If you would like to join me, the images can be found here. I’ll be starting with the image in the top left, Fairy tales? haha, please . . . by AlvaroCardozoW.

I hope you will join me and put a link to your story in the comments, so I can read and appreciate it. If you can’t commit to a flash fiction story every day, that’s okay. Join in whenever the image inspires.

Tourmaline .’s 2022 Halloween Challenge

I found so much inspiration from this photography challenge last year. Here’s this year’s calendar:

I found the challenge a couple days after it started last year and missed “Monster” (and pumpkin), so tomorrow won’t have a comparison to last year. It’ll be a fun, new challenge.

I will still be exploring contradictory abstractions. The first couple of weeks of October I’ll be looking at wisdom and naivete, and truth and fiction to finish out the big 5. It’ll be interesting to see how my quest to capture images of these contradictions will interact with the Halloween prompts.

And I’ll be participating in the wonderful prompt from dVerse Poets Pub, so it’s going to be a busy, busy month.

Since I will be posting every day, I guess I’m also participating in Blogtober which I read is a blogging challenge to post every day in October.

What costume should I make this year? I would love some suggestions.

Come back tomorrow for the big #Writober kick-off celebration with some Stream of Consciousness Saturday too!

Spring Has Sprung

White, and a few pink, cherry-plum blossoms reach into a blue sky with wispy white clouds.
Spring is in the Air by Maria L. Berg 2022

April is coming very soon. It’s a busy month here at Experience Writing because it’s National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo), and the A-Z blogging challenge. This year, since I photo-illustrate my posts anyway, and was so inspired by one word daily prompts last fall, I thought I would add a photo-challenge to the mix.

How will I do all that AND continue building healthy habits to finish my novels? Good question.

First, let’s look at all the fun challenges and events coming up in April.

National Novel Writing Month

I started participating in NaPoWriMo in 2018. I really enjoy reading all the different responses to the prompts and the inspiration of the global community of poets celebrating poetry (language(s), perception, symbolism, creativity, imagination) together.

Writer’s Digest also has a Poem-a-Day (PAD) challenge through the month with daily prompts. I like to combine prompts, so I usually write to both.

When I renewed my membership with Academy of American Poets this year, I noticed that I can create my own anthologies: collections of poems I love from poets.org. I’m excited to do that throughout the month (and beyond). They also have special events like poem in your pocket day, and you can sign up for daily poems in your email, if you haven’t already.

Blogging A-Z

I have combined the Blogging A-Z challenge with NaPoWriMo since 2018. I really enjoy this challenge. I get to make up my own topic each year, so it adds another element to the daily poetry. For this challenge I like to explore words and language. Last year I explored Janus words; the year before it was musical terms. Look for this year’s theme on Wednesday.

April Daily Photography Prompts Calendar

I will be putting my one word daily prompts into a calendar like I did last November and December and include it with my A-Z announcement on Wednesday.

White and pink cherry-plum blossoms against a cloudy sky with part of the slope of Mt. Rainier in the background.
Sprung by Maria L. Berg 2022

Haibun Monday

Today’s prompt for Haibun Monday at the dVerse Poets Pub is “cherry blossoms.”


Last week, the house had a stroke. I plugged in the air-popper and the lights dimmed. Then part of the house was out of power, and my desk monitor was flashing madly. I ran to the fuse boxes, but nothing was flipped. The overhead light was pulsing and I heard a clicking noise.

I pulled the main switches down then sharply up again. The pulsing and clicking continued. I pulled each of the fuses to the right and then the left, and checked the water heater. It was the source of the rhythmic clicking, blinking rapidly on and off again and again, the beat to the pulsing lights. Not wanting to lose my newish water-heater, I shut it off at the fuse box. I unplugged everything. Turned everything off, and went to sleep with memories of cold showers, and expectations of hard days ahead.

The morning after the morning I called the power company–and they sent someone out and then some more someones and had the problem fixed by the afternoon–I opened the door to my cherry-plum trees in full bloom. I heard a loud electrical hum, and only imagined more electrical problems. I stepped outside and saw the trees writhing with bees in every blossom.

A yard book-ended in pink
overnight blossoms
pulsing in pollination

{Strange note: I started a draft of this post yesterday. When I came to work on it today, it was published, back-dated to March 8th. The only thing I can think of is the cat walking on the keyboard, and that’s pretty impressive, even for him.}

#SoCS: Celebrating 100 Days

Feet on the Ground by Maria L. Berg 2022

If you’re curious and want to look back over what I created every day for 100 days, you can click on October 2021 in the column on the right under Archives, and hit “older posts” at the bottom of each page until you get to October 1st when this posting streak started.

Head in the Sky by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “In the.”

Wading In

In the gray
in the office warming
in the office chair
in the house that
rejected its drainpipe
tossed it to the porch
In the expectation
of a possible visit
for repair In the
cleaner, but still messy
interior with the vacuum out
and waiting in the fifth
hour since waking, still hazy
drinking coffee and
chomping on a candy cane
In the morning pages
in the artist sketchbook
in the middle of the desk
I let the words flow in the
stream of consciousness I hope
to wade in all day

New Poem

For today’s new poem prompt I browsed my WordPress Reader and found:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC). Today’s word is Answer.

Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday is Clean Slate.

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #243 is Temerity. This challenge includes a word limit of exactly 69 words.

Facing the Future

If, after a year of temerity,
one finds oneself in disparity
and wishing for a clean slate

wait, and think if erasure
is truly the only answer
before taking such a drastic step

all those hard-earned failures
failed better to face again
and the neural trauma
it will take to clear
every foolish and rash
deed from your pate

might be worth this heap
of embarrassment
in the end

Kitty Yells 100! by Maria L. Berg 2022

And we have arrived! Here we are at the end of the journey: 100 days of photographs and poetry. It has been fun, and I have explored so many new ideas, techniques, and forms. I hope you have enjoyed my triumphs and failures through this writing experience. I’m going to attempt a week (or two) off, then come back with some new experiences for 2022.

If you’ve enjoy the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. If you get a chance to take a look, please press the hearts on the images you like. It will help my work get noticed. Thank you.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Blackout Poetry Art Day

Putting Art in the World by Maria L. Berg 2022

This is it, the penultimate post of my daily photos and poetry. It’s fun that I will reach day 100 on a Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Yesterday, I got a rainbow of both chisel tip and thin Sharpies for putting words on the world, so I thought I would continue my found poetry project with some blackout poetry. I’ve seen some blackout poems that don’t only black out the words but make pretty designs over them, and I have wanted to give it a try.

Childhood Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Childhood Quest

Did you ever quest for
a hundred other objects
of value, clamored brilliancy
extravagant, wonderful,
and mirth-provoking
mindful of the foam
of perilous seas
through these enchanted
windows the dreaming
hedged about with dangers
at the end?
Childhood has this:
no power to prevail
against its simplicity and
unconsciousness of evil

While looking through and collecting some lovely examples of blackout poetry on Pinterest, I discovered the work of Tom Phillips. His altered book A Humument is a large volume of blackout poetry. I highly recommend giving it a look.

Another Quest by Maria L. Berg 2022

Another Quest

smear thyself
Plunge boldly
to the surface
the bridge

Art Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happy Reading and Writing!

A Fun Found Poetry Project

Magic Casements by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poetry

Today is Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub. Head on over to read a diverse selection of poetry and share a poem of your own.

Yesterday, while looking at New Pages and planning submissions, I happened upon a call for found poetry from Heron Tree. The call is to create found poetry from works published before 1927. I hopped up and grabbed my copy of More Fairy Stories Every Child Should Know: Magic Casements edited by Kate Douglas Wiggin and Nora Archibald Smith and published in 1907. I found this lovely treasure in an antique store a long time ago and have not spent enough time with it. I was inspired by this call for submissions to dive into the book and interact with it in new ways.

I did a little research, and it turns out that Kate and Nora were sisters. Kate is best known as the author of Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, but she also was an educator that started many kindergartens in and around San Francisco. I tried to find out more about my book and the series it was a part of “What Every Child Should Know Library,” but the only thing I came up with was a Project Gutenberg digital copy of one of the other books in the series, Tales of Wonder Every Child Should Know.

Beautiful Title Page by Maria L. Berg 2022

After reading some of the past issues of Heron Tree, I realized that there is an area of found poetry I haven’t tried: fitting to form. I enjoy trying poetry forms each year during NaPoWriMo and OctPoWriMo, and the form challenges from dVerse Poets Pub, but I have never tried a form with cut-ups or collage poems.

I have photocopied the preface of the book and a few of the stories to get started on my quest for found poetry. Along with blackouts, cut-ups and collages, I’m going to try fitting my found words and phrases into some of my favorite forms.

A Parent’s Worried Mind

Three unmarried were too many.
Over with according to the
forest. And be careful. Soon they
recognized anything, that feast.

A father threatened had spoken.
Three unmarried were too many.
Ordered his son, the Hedgehog, be
together and he would cleave to

business brought sharp spines enjoying
themselves then three drops exactly
three unmarried were too many
making straight seven years only

to longer endure parents would
choose one question, so they thought. They
parents thought hedgehog and hedgehog.
Three unmarried were too many.
Truth on the Rain by Maria L. Berg 2022 (because I wanted some extra truth in the world today)

That was time consuming, but fun. I started trying some Cinquains, but liked the repeated line of the Quatern. I found the repeating line amusing.

Happy Reading and Writing!

Poetic Bookshelves

From the Outside to the Center by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today I thought I would have some fun and combine my photography and poetry for Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “On the Shelf.” I rearranged my bookshelves to create poems from the book titles.

Here is how I read the first bookshelf poem:

From the Outside to the Center

The outsider
in the garden of blue roses
below the golden house
is nowhere wild, or
the watcher in the woods
lying in wait
I hear the owl call my name
and say, “The heart is a
lonely hunter. Teach yourself
to dream while on your
journey to the center
of the earth.”
After 20,000 dreams,
does the center hold?

Roads to the City of the Beasts by Maria L. Berg 2022

Roads to the City of the Beasts

Stained glass back roads,
Gaia star mandalas of
cognitive rehabilitation
pass the hollow where
the people of paper
are story-telling. It’s easy
just looking at great cathedrals
along the road to
the city of the beasts.

A cute cat with the word ZEST across him in orange print.
Zesty Kitty by Maria L. Berg 2022

That was fun. Unlike book spine poems I’ve done in the past, both of those feel like starts to longer poems, or works that may become strong poems through revision. And to go along with my title “poetic bookshelves,” the poetry books I’m reading and enjoying right now are (amazon associate links):

Indigo by Ellen Bass

Hybrids of Plants and Ghosts by Jorie Graham

Erosion by Jorie Graham

Happy Reading and Writing!

Winter Comforts

Pretty Pose by Maria L. Berg 2022

I had a pretty visitor.

Eye of the Hummingbird by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem


And some days are about comfort
like furry cuddles and pizza
and foreheads full of purrs
that leave the big questions
unpondered or wrestled
and wrangled by other minds
while I wrestle warm blankets
and purloin pets
not striving
for more

Winglight by Maria L. Berg 2022

These images fit with Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “Pretty Little Things.”

Happy Reading and Writing!

Celebrating Play and Treats

What a Difference a Day Makes by Maria L. Berg 2022

As you can see, the snow is gone. I know I said I wasn’t going to publish all my word pictures here, but I wanted to show the result without the snow, and then I did some playing indoors.

Playing Indoors by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

The dVerse Poets Pub is open after a two week vacation and today Lisa invites us to write a “celebration” haibun. I haven’t written a haibun in a while, so I think I’ll give it a try.

Celebrating Release from a Beautiful Imprisonment

I saw large, white flakes fall during my white-knuckle drive home through thick rain and sporadic drivers with speeds from infrared to ultraviolet.

Ten days it snowed since we opened presents, and ate Mother’s delicious strawberry cake, everyone generous and grateful. I remained sustained.

Overnight snowmelt
frees me from joyous ice jail
I return with treats

Playing in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

And this image of the Mirrorworld fits with Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “Chill,” I think.

Chillin’ in the Mirrorworld by Maria L. Berg 2022

Happy Reading and Writing!

Unlocking New Doors

Wonder World by Maria L. Berg 2022

I’m sitting at my desk, looking at these pictures, singing “This is freakin’ fun, this is freakin’ fun.” Though many of this morning’s experiments didn’t work (the filter didn’t work with my other lenses, so I couldn’t put “WONDER” on the mountain), I’m still so excited about my ability to put words in my world. I love to put wonder in the world and it is also one of Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompts. It was also fun to discover that the color of the ink is captured, so that can add more possibilities. I’ve decided, as a little side project, I’m going to put my favorite words on my world, one a day all year. I won’t post them here, but maybe at the end of the year, I’ll make a book of them or something.

A fish-eye lens view of the lake and sky with the word "WONDER" in orange floating in the clouds.
A Sky Full of Wonder by Maria L. Berg 2022

New Poem

Poetic Bloomings Prompt #367 – Old or New challenges to write an “open door” poem or a “closed door” poem.

Opening Doors

A revolving door is
at first, fun, exhilarating
pushing the heavy bar
running in circles
watching sidewalk then lobby
park then escalator
man walking dog
woman with briefcase
through the glass

Now I’m stuck and want out
to reach my destination
but I’ve built up speed
and inertia keeps
a body in motion

I want new doors
perhaps heavy oak
with worlds of secrets behind them
I want keys to locked doors
big, ornate, heavy keys
that are kept in locked chests
that need little keys to unlock them
because the process
is the adventure
and unlocking those doors
opens awe and wonder
that won’t come around again

Wonderful Snow by Maria L. Berg 2022

I haven’t heard from any of you yet about what you would like to experience this year on Experience Writing, so I thought I would try a poll. Thank you in advance for sharing your answers.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#SoCS: Resolve to Dissolve

Sky Writing by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today, in response to Of Maria Antonia’s 2022 Weekly Photo Challenge prompt “A New Year,” I tried something I’ve been thinking about. Using the same clear plastic that I used for my “snowglobes,” I created a filter with written words and put them in the world. This opens up so many possibilities, an exciting discovery to start the year.

Snow Writing by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday. The prompt for today is “resolve.” I am resolved to have a day of stream of consciousness. Let those thoughts flow unfettered. When I looked up resolve, I was surprised to find it’s almost a janus word. It has the definition I expected: to come to a definite or earnest decision, but it also means to break up or disintegrate. It also has the musical meaning to progress from dissonance to consonance which could work well as a triple meaning in a poem. If my song ends resolved, is it determined to act, dissolved and broken, or just not dissonant? It can also mean to clear away or dispel (doubts, fears, etc.), so in that way it is a janus because if you resolve an issue, you can come to a decision about it or clear it away and dispel it.

New Poem

For today’s new poem prompt I browsed my WordPress Reader and found:

Fandango’s One Word Challenge (FOWC). Today’s word is Harbinger. I am a big fan of the word harbinger.

Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday is Light.

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt #242 is Goodnight. This challenge includes a word limit of exactly 45 words.

On the Cusp

We have said goodnight but
light’s fingertips grip the horizon
the triumphs and horrors dissolve
and for a moment peacefulness
smells like melting orange dreamsicles
and the chill of brain-freeze
does not hurt but excites
almost every note I breathe
is a harbinger of resolve

A Bright & Shiny New Year by Maria L. Berg 2022
Dreaming of a Happy New Year by Maria L. Berg 2022

If you’ve enjoy the photographs I’ve been taking, I’ve added some to my RedBubble store and I’m excited about the new products. The abstract bokeh really lends itself to product design. So fun. If you get a chance to take a look, please press the hearts on the images you like. It will help my work get noticed. Thank you.

Happy Reading and Writing!