#SoCS: Peril of Purloined Patience

The Patience in Impatience and Impatience in Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Contradictory Abstract Nouns (Photography Challenge)

Today I’m looking at finding the impatience in patience and the patience in impatience. While thinking about what I wanted to say about patience and impatience I thought “It takes time to have patience,” so I thought of my cog-clock filter. It wasn’t raining, so I hurried outside to play with my outdoor light set-up.

Wow, it was bitey cold out there! That’ll make someone impatient, but it takes patience to find the shot that represents these contradictory abstractions. I think purple LEDs represent the agitation of impatience well. And I liked how the net lights brought a patient order to the ticking of time.

Impatience in Patience by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS)

Today’s prompt for some stream of consciousness writing is “your favorite word.” Linda invites us to choose our favorite word and use it however we would like. But how to choose?

Purloined is not my favorite word; it just seems to go very well with peril. For today’s peril poem, I did some word collecting and came up with around two hundred words having to do with peril. A lot of them are great words like exposure, gash, slipperiness, and one of my favorites wonder. But what to choose for my favorite word?

I just opened The Art of Voice: Poetic Principles and Practice by Tony Hoagland and read:

“A poem strong in the dimension of voice is an animate thing of shifting balances, tones, and temperature, by turns intimate, confiding, vulgar, distant, or cunning—but, above all, alive. In its vital connectivity, it is capable of including both the manifold world and the rich slipperiness of human nature.”

Tony Hoagland 2019

How often do you read the word slipperiness twice in one morning? It’s a great word. And I love that phrase, “the rich slipperiness of human nature.” So great. But slipperiness is still not my favorite word.

In April 2021 in response to a NaPoWriMo prompt, I made a Personal Universal Deck. It’s a deck of cards with words you like on them. I kept it, so I pulled it out this morning, shuffled it and picked a card. Each card has two word on it: one at the top, and one upside down at the bottom. The card I picked had the word “silence” at the top. I read it out loud to the cat twice, then said “That’s wonderful,” so I’ll go with “silence” as my favorite word today.

I adore this time of year for its silence. The boats of summer pulled and gone, the whooping boaters and their horrible choices of blaring tunes forced on everyone so they can hear barely an impression of them over the boat engine as they wake-board or wake-surf, or whatever the latest new fad is for pulling a body behind a boat. Now is the time when the vacation homes are vacant and the full-timers return to indoor lives. The revving of chainsaws, howling of leaf-blowers, and high-pitched squealing of power-tools lay dormant as glistening raindrops fill the air. And there is no sound, except the occasional haunting train whistle in the distance, even the planes and helicopters seem sparse today. So do I sit silently and soak in this silence? No. I put on a movie I’ve seen a million times, to silence my inner-critic, drown-out my mind-voice, and distract, so these words will flow. It appears I love silence, so I can choose what to fill it with when I can’t stand it anymore.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a peril poem.

Exposure to the Risk of Being (Destroyed)

Prickly sweet almond smoke
Obtuse spikes hazard taste buds
Exposing misconceptions of danger
Trouble steeped in gasoline fumes
Rough and hard and suddenly too close
Yells yield to yawns needing more air

Injury can be seen and unseen
Menacing snarls alarm the senses
Pitfalls surround the doubtful
Exhibitions of horrible imaginations
Remembered after nightmares
Indecision leaves one vulnerable
Looming risks a nuisance or threat
Soaked in sweaty incertitude

Stabbing in the pitch-black night at
Intimidation, an evil laugh’s shadow
Lording over, bigger than you
Endangerment, anxiety’s wager
Nerves afire go for broke
Chance brings quicksand’s change
Expressed as an exposé of panic

Patience in Impatience by Maria L. Berg 2022


I woke up thinking about my novel! I’m excited to report that my draft is coming along very well. Though I have yet to have a day that I get to my novel before noon, it appears to be working for me, because I’m already over 17,000 words. I think this is my best start ever. And since I barely managed any planning, I believe the success so far is due to 4theWords.

This weekend I would like to organize what I’ve written so far into my Scrivener file, and into a chiastic outline; take some time to plan out my major plot points. But as long as the words are flowing, I’m going to keep having fun.

#Writober Day 29: #SoCS Surprise Halloween Element

Happy Jack by Maria L. Berg 2022

I’m so excited to share that I am now a published photographer!! One of my photographs is in the latest issue of Wrongdoing Magazine. You can view it online (pages 98-99).

Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS)

Today’s prompt for some stream of consciousness writing is “element.” Here’s an excerpt from this morning’s journal pages:

These days everything is an element of novel prep: story broken into characters, settings, plot points, broken into their elements: physical, psychological, sociological. My life, each day broken into its elements, sleep, work, play broken into their elements, trying to gear everything toward novel writing, to organize to efficiency and motivation.I’ve seen a periodic table of writing tropes, I wonder if there’s a periodic table of novel writing. How would I organize it? Like the periodic table of elements has metals, metalloids, and gases: my table would have story elements, writer’s life elements, and what else? Or maybe it needs for categories like the four elements: earth, air, fire, and water. What am I thinking? I don’t have time to be making some silly periodic table of novel writing, I still need to develop my characters.

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is Pumpkin. I didn’t get a pumpkin this year, but I did grow some adorable tiny acorn squash in my garden. They are delicious. I bake them with a tiny bit of olive oil and fresh herbs. I thought I would have some fun attempting to carve one this morning.

I am so happy with how my tiny Jack-o-Lantern squash turned out. I put some color-changing fairy lights inside and this is now my favorite Halloween decoration!

Pumpkin Envy by Maria L. Berg 2022
Fairy Scary by Maria L. Berg 2022


Death News by Maria L. Berg 2022

Today’s prompt is about writer’s block, and the challenges of birthing something new. Bianca mentions blackout poetry, and I decided that would be fun since I’m having a crafty morning.

Death News

When it comes,
timid and predictable,
It’s been watching the world.
You don’t survive
when it comes
nobody does

View—for the night has fallen

Switch on
in the early evening
You will see
I know scared,
ponderously slow,
ferocious, and seeking
to survive

View—for the night has fallen

Many are the figurative,
especially those
under the bus tomorrow
who are pretty and
have totally collapsed
that, of course, is no accident
I swaggered into a hotshot;
they carried me out in a body bag.

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s inspirational image is “Shhh” by Gary Bedell. This somehow manages to take the monster in the closet to a new level. So creepy. Here’s an excerpt from “Clown Closet:”

As I reached for the handle to pull the closet open, he slid around my waist, clinging to my pink terrycloth robe like a security blanket. He had never been a clingy kid, not a thumb sucker or a blankie or teddy needer; this felt like a strange reversal to babyish behavior. My mind was searching through all the development books I studied while he was in the womb. Everything had gone so smoothly so far, I had forgotten most of it. ” Reese, what happened? What’s wrong?”
I yanked both doors open all the way as quickly as I could, imagining this was like yanking off a band-aid.  I paused for a moment taking in his box of toys on the floor, the lasso flopping out of the box, from his short-lived cowboy faze, the broken model plane from the dangerous dizzying glue faze, some strange stuffed animals—gifts that were never played with. His clothes all neatly hung across the rack looked in order at eye level, and on the upper shelf his collection of board games that we keep trying to play as a family when his dad has a free half-hour after dinner, which is almost never.
“Look, Reese, honestly, there’s nothing out of place. Everything is as it should be.”
Reese pushed me forward so my chest was touching the clothing on the hangers. I now knew what it felt like to be a human shield. He pushed around me to the right . The pause made me think he was examining up and down, every possible section of wall, then he pushed around to the other side. 
Certain that he must have been convinced, I said, “So what do you want to wear today? We’ve got to get a move on or you won’t have time for any cartoons.”  But when I tried to step back so he could see his clothes too, I felt resistance. “Reesey, come on. Let go of my robe.”
“Mommy, stay still. Don’t move. And don’t look up.”
I looked at the games. There was Twister, Chutes and Ladders. Nothing to be afraid of.
“I said, don’t look up,” he whisper hissed. “Mom? I’m feeling pretty sick. I don’t think I should go to school today.”
“Honey, if that were true, you would have said you weren’t feeling well when I first came in. There’s no such thing as sudden-sick.”
“Sick has to start some time. There’s always a start.”

#Writober Day 15: #SoCS Busy Spiders Fill My Happy Place with Webs

Ghost Spider by Maria L. Berg 2022

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s prompt for some stream of consciousness writing is “happy place.”

My happy place is filled with stinky smoke. Frustrating sunny days full of sharp, acrid haze make me long for rain. This time of year, here, wishing for rain feels so wrong. My happy place all summer has been at an old picnic table on the porch, writing, pausing to stare out at the lake, hearing the splash of jumping fish, the scream of eagles, and brisk clicks of the kingfisher. Today it is in my room with the fan; even the living room smells of smoke. And yet, this is such a happy place, far from the fires threatening lives and homes. I sit comfortably in safety reading, writing, and watching Arachnophobia. So today, this is my happy place.

Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge

Today’s prompt is Spider. After capturing a macro image of one of the local spiders at work, I tried out some of my new filters with the light glinting off the webs.

Spooktacular Spider by Maria L. Berg
Strix in a Web by Maria L. Berg 2022


Today’s prompt is “Surrendering Fear.” I though I’d give the recommended Terzanelle form a try.

The Sun Defeated, Shadows Form

The sun through smoky haze drips red as blood
in early defeat to the powers of darkness
the sun through smoky haze drips red as blood

shadows of trees smooth and barkless
branching fingers reaching toward the moon
in early defeat to the powers of darkness

fears distort like faces in shiny spoons
songs of loons to cries of demon flight
branching fingers reaching toward the moon

to battle fright, flood this world with light
fleeing shadows revert to rational mind
songs of loons from cries of demon flight

in surrendering illusion truth will find
real fears are warnings of survival’s pain
fleeing shadows, revert to rational mind

and until the fires are quenched with cleansing rain
The sun through smoky haze drips red as blood
Real fears are warnings of survival’s pain
The sun through smoky haze drips red as blood

Writober Flash Fiction

Today’s inspiration is “Shaman Concept” by Fanny Poulain. This very creepy creature looks like Hellraiser II concept art by Guillermo del Toro.

When we went through the broken gate into the overgrown churchyard, I expected a stream of costumed people ahead of us, but we were alone. “Are we early?” I asked Dahlia, suddenly chilled.
Dahlia hooked my elbow and tugged me forward. “We’re right on time.”
On the steps, I heard fluttering above us, and saw large crows pecking at the bell in the bell tower. I dropped Dahlia’s arm, and hurried to the door. It didn’t matter if some people thought getting shit on by birds was good luck, I did not agree. Dahlia laughed behind me.
The large arched doors were open, and the huge room glowed with more candles than I had ever seen. My eyes had to adjust, but I still didn’t see the other party-goers. “Dahlia, what’s going on? Where is everybody?”
“They’re here, silly. They probably found the treats. Go on.”

Maria L. Berg #Writober7 Day 15 2022

#SoCS: Rev Up My Stream of Consciousness

Holly Jolly by Maria L. Berg 2021

For today’s images, I tried three ideas. First, I created a holly filter with my new filter design that goes over the lens guard. Then I tried grouping my red and green lights on the multi-color strand with twist-ties. Then I put some plastic santas and snowmen on my white lights and made some Holly Jolly lighting as well.

Abstract Holly by Maria L. Berg 2021
December Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Stream of Consciousness

It’s stream of consciousness Saturday, and with my cold going into my lungs and not letting up, any activity in this mucous-filled brain at all is a feat of pure determination. The prompt for today is “rev.” To use the word rev or a word with rev in it. My first thought was rev your engines, then reverend and reverse. Then, of course, revise: what this blog was supposed to be all about this year, revision. I made a pretty good go of it until I landed back on creation in October. But I’m really enjoying these daily photos and prompts. For so long, writing these posts felt like time taken away from my work, when now, they feel like pure inspiration, part of my work. I would much rather enjoy what I’m doing than stick to the plan. So I’ve revised that plan of a year focused on revision, to push myself to try new things every day in my bokeh filtered photography and share my daily poetry practice. My main goal of completely revising and completing my novels is ongoing in its stuttering way. The experience of completely rewriting a novel is going well. The previous draft only had a few good scenes, and really was a barely fleshed out idea. So the year of revision continues, it just isn’t as fun to put on this blog. Also, I am beginning the revision process of the thirty poems I wrote for the challenge last month, so I guess this is still the year of revision. There’s no getting away from it. And each time I crop, or rotate, and resize these photographs to share with you, that is revision. There you have it. I have not strayed from my intention. It looks like next year will be another year focused on revision until I master, conquer, and find the joy in 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 taciturn.

Misky posted a lovely poem about blackberries on Plumb-Lines in response to Quickly’s prompt Now / Then / When. The prompt asks to list words and phrases that evoke pleasant thoughts about the past then write their opposites next to them, and use your list to “play with ideas of pleasure and contradiction.” I love this theme and it should work well with taciturn.

And Judy Dykstra-Brown’s poem Balm on lifelessons led me to Paeansunplugged’s Ragtag Daily Prompt Saturday. Today’s prompt is The Extraordinary in the Ordinary. A great companion to pleasure in contradiction.

That was a fun bit of discovery. Let’s see what that all inspires.

Calf Muscle Exercises

Holiday Mood by Maria L. Berg 2021

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.

The Changing Focus Blogging Challenge

December’s theme is Rest, Sleep, and Hibernation.

Motivation and Reward: I put my second star on my calendar. It’s amazing how motivating a simple sticker can be, but it’s working.

Tools: Last night was even tougher than the first. My cold has progressed to include a cough, so I had to sleep somewhat upright, but after doing a lot of easy sudokus on an old daily calendar, I fell asleep. When I woke up in the middle of the night, I read The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story (associate link) by Douglas Preston for a little while and fell back to sleep.

I started recording calming sounds today. So far I’ve captured: kitty purring, rain, and the kettle boiling (mine is a clear glass kettle that doesn’t whistle).

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 20 & #SoCS: Overlapping Gray Areas

Family Clusters by Maria L. Berg 2021

After yesterday’s fun discovery, I created a family of new filters to try.

Every Family Has One by Maria L. Berg 2021

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s #SoCS prompt,”black, gray, and white,” inspired me to take some rich black and white photos with my new filters. It changed how I perceived the shapes. I was more attracted to juxtaposing different shades of brightness and searching for depth.

Layers of Connection by Maria L. Berg

Shooting these filters in the mirror world was a very different experience. I’m glad this prompt inspired me to try it.

The Nuclear Family by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to title a poem “(blank) You.”

After You

have taken the first bite
(not to be polite)
and have not been poisoned

have crossed the threshold
and found safe haven

have stepped into the unknown
and not been devoured

have leapt and fallen
and not been broken

have immersed yourself
but not drowned

have put your hand in the fire
and not been burned

have put your head in the lions jaw
and not been bitten

have experimented and proven your hypothesis
that you are rubber and all others are glue

have left decency behind
and faced no consequence

we can follow without fear
the world demonstrated
and made plain

All in the Family by Maria L. Berg 2021


I have to admit I’m glad I decided to start completely from scratch on this novel. Last night during a write-in with my regional ML, I finally reached a scene from the original draft that I liked. However, even though I liked it, I still only kept a couple lines of dialogue. Turns out what I liked about the scene was the secondary character. She never even got a name the first time around, but I want her to have more scenes, maybe turn into a confidant or side-kick. She has a straight-faced dry wit, so she can add comic relief and she is full of inside information that can be useful for my MC.

Today, I’ll take her through my character creation spreadsheet, then brainstorm where she fits into the plot. I also have a new character who is a private investigator. I wrote his first scene last night as well, so I’ll take him through character creation and plan out his scenes as well.

November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 13 & #SoCS: Forging an Oracle

Marble by Maria L. Berg 2021

For today’s images, I wanted to build on yesterday’s fun discovery. The eye photo from yesterday makes me think of an oracle. Then I thought of a magic 8 ball. I used to have one and really liked it.I found an online 8 Ball, but it just wasn’t the same. The physical holding and shaking of the ball, watching the words rise to the surface, how could I capture the feeling and experience? I thought of the joy of Erica Baum’s photographs of clever found text in the world. I have a triangle bokeh filter.

Then I looked at the theme for today’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday which is “cam.” When asked to think of a word with cam in it, of course I think of camera, then camera, then camera, so I put cam in a search and got “campfire.” I haven’t had a fire yet this yea,r and I had a small dry log and some kindling in the fireplace from a photoshoot I did in October, so I decided to light that up as my background. Not exactly a campfire, but though it is not supposed to rain again until tonight, the world outside is way too wet, so the fact that I have one small dry log is in fact “lucky.”

With fire as my backdrop for my oracle, I needed to figure out how I wanted to gather my questions and my answers. How would my oracle answer yes or no questions? I wanted to find the text on things around me, but how to get the words in my triangle, in front of the fire?

The classic 8 ball had 20 answers: 10 affirmative, 5 maybe, and 5 no. I started taking pictures of text I thought would make good answers. Then I saw my word jars on the mantel and thought, what could be more found-text oracle than randomly pulling nouns from a jar to represent yes, no, or maybe? So I pulled out 20 nouns and got to work.

Bubble by Maria L. Berg 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

Today’s prompt is to write a luck poem.

Feeling Lucky?

I must be
the luckiest person:
I went to the oracle
and the oracle said
Only Yes or No questions
so I asked: Will I
meet my soulmate?
They answered: nest
Which is exactly
what I needed to hear
It makes sense that I
should make a home,
a comfortable place,
for love to be drawn to
Then I asked: Have I
found my purpose?
They answered: smoke
which confirms that
life is fleeting and I
need to follow
my heart, so I asked
the question burning
inside: Will I
be remembered?
They said: flavor
And I knew I
would leave
good taste
in the world.

I must be
the unluckiest person:
I went to the oracle
who said ask only
Yes or No questions
so I asked: Will I
ever find love? and
they answered: sneeze
which only confirms
that I sneeze funny
and it puts people off
I asked: Do I
have a purpose?
They said: poison
Which is what I’ve been
dreading; I’ll have to
quit my job before
that go-getter poisons them
against me. He probably
has already, so I
asked: Will anyone notice
if I am gone?
They answered: key
Exactly as I expected.
No one will miss me unless
I don’t turn in my keys.

Yes or No Answers by Maria L. Berg


Last night I did 20 minute word sprints with my ML (municipal liaison) and the part of my story that had me a little stuck opened up in a new direction. It really is amazing to me how just knowing that someone else is out there doing timed writings “with” you does actually make a difference. Strange human mental gymnastics, but whatever works. I’ll be trying the zoom write-in today and see if that works as well.

Fire Oracle by Maria L. Berg 2021
November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#NaNoWriMo & #NovPAD Day 6 & #SoCS: The Generally Suspect

A photograph of s
The Suspects by Maria L. Berg 2021

Today I thought about The Usual Suspects (affiliate link), the line-up on the cover. Then I thought about Clue (affiliate link) and the color names of the suspects. I also thought about “suspect” as a verb and I suspect that led to some introspection about what I find suspect about my suspicions.

Looking Suspect by Maria L. Berg 2021

I don’t generally like this in-camera “Poster” effect, but I’m glad I’m in a use-everything phase. It was a great choice for my criminal crayons.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s stream of consciousness prompt is fun: Close eyes and point. I imagine myself closing my eyes and pointing all day. It could be dangerous. It says to use the closest print material which for me is A Compendium of Collective Nouns (affiliate link). I’m closing my eyes, opening the book to a random page., I point, and open my eyes . . . L. I got a full yellow page with a big black capital letter L. I tried again and got the letter P. Tried again got the letter E but at least there were some eagles on the page. The collective noun for eagles? A convocation. Finally I landed on a word, “generally.” Generally, I wouldn’t find that very exciting, but since I worked so hard to get to it, I guess I’ll journal “generally” for a while this morning, take a look at generally’s relationship to the usual suspects.

Generally speaking I don’t use generally a lot. Usual has unusual, general has no ungeneral. It has specific. I’m into specifically. Generally accepted, that sounds drab, muddy, generally acceptable sounds judgy and mundane. What is a good aspect of generally? Generally not toxic, not harmful leaves open specific incidents of possibility. Generally understood as convenient, yummy, a good book, those work. People have different tastes, but a general consensus of yummy or convenient is usually worth a risk, so . . .

Maria L. Berg’s journal Nov. 6, 2021

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

The prompt is to make a location the title of my poem.

The Abandoned Property Where the Body Was Found

I thought it would be good exercise
to ride my bike the three miles to practice
I bought a back-pack style padded case
for my bass, lights for my bike, velcro
reflector strips that tied the cuffs of my pants
a safety orange vest with reflectors for my chest
riding with my bass wasn’t that hard
but that road, that road was treacherous.

No twisting, two-lane road should have that much traffic
no sidewalks and barely space between road and railing.
And those hills, three miles shouldn’t have impossible,
winding hills with blind turns, and trucks. No matter
how many times I rode that road, I always had to hop off
and walk to the top of one of the hills, it wasn’t a hill
but a small mountain or technically the other side
of a valley within a mountain. Riding a bike is not
easy around here. And fenders didn’t do much in this rain.

I thought it would be good exercise
to walk the three miles from practice
it was a bit scary without sidewalks
and barely any room between the road
and the hillside when it got dark, but I had
a headlamp, and reflectors, and there wasn’t as much traffic
I never suspected a large abandoned property. Don’t
even know how you got there from the road.
Never saw the burned out mobile home or
the fallen carport by the house.
But she was there the whole time.
Inside a garbage can, tossed away, abandoned
decomposing alone among nature’s reclamation
I rode by. I walked by. I listened to the music I was
learning to play, and would perform soon at the
bar down the hill. I focused on not getting hit.

Burning Suspicions by Maria L. Berg 2021


I’m keeping steady at 2,000 words each day. I’m not quite in the story yet, but I’m getting there. This morning I was so happy that my Scrivener set-up is working for me because I had a few ideas for each section and just jumped in and wrote a little bit before “writing time”. It’s great to not have to search through and waste time, but get where I want to be while the thought is there.

While I was doing my timed, wild, stream of consciousness morning pages, I happened upon an interesting way to make yesterday’s scene more important to the novel. It treads a fine line of really working, or not working at all, but I like how it could tie some things together, so I’m going for it.

November Daily Prompts by Maria L. Berg 2021 Please leave your links in the comments. I hope you will join me.

Happy Reading and Writing!

#OctPoWriMo Day 16 & #SoCS: If Caught When I Fall

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge, “spider,” all I had to do was step outside to find plenty of spiders. There was I giant wolf spider on the ceiling in the shop too. But I wanted to do something more creative. Though I really like creating scenes in the space in my bookshelf, I found there isn’t enough space to also do the bokeh the way I want, so today I cleaned off the area in front of the fireplace and began exploring its potential. Inspired by Tourmaline .’s witch fingers yesterday, I pulled out my witch fingers and some other craft supplies and made this little beauty.

Creation by Maria L. Berg 2021

Stream of Consciousness Saturday

Today’s stream of consciousness is to start with “If.” I like that it’s “if” and not “what if.” “If” gets me thinking about action, “if/then” instead of maybes. Here’s an excerpt from my journal:

. . . if they actually cared not to disturb the fine wonder of the perfect beauty of this day: A hummingbird zooming to blow the pink trumpet flower then off again, the bee spider sprinting to bat at the air to my left then back to the shadows. If I filmed it all, and could produce the light, warmth, smells, sounds, taste of the vodka-lemonade everything the same, somehow immerse myself in the depth, trick myself to believe, would I be able to relive this whenever I wanted? Would I want to? Very often? Or is it really the unexpected surprise of it when it as equally could have snowed? Isn’t it the unexpected chance of this warm, sunny, quiet, joy of alone yet shared moment that makes it so wonderfilled?

Maria L. Berg 2021


Today’s prompt is Sonnet which made me think of John Peale Bishop’s modernist sonnet “A Recollection” that we studied in the fourth week of ModPo (hint: it’s an acrostic 😁). The 2018 prompt was “Catch Me When I Fall.” The suggested form was the Terzanelle which has some interesting repetition.


When I fall, remember
not if, then the catch me
When I fall, remember

we are a spinning species
despite gravity’s writer releases
not if, then the catch me

describer I tell you these teases
because a rebel’s treble has legs
despite gravity’s writer releases

enough web will hold the dregs
but not catch me when I fall
because a rebel’s treble has legs

let my catcher quiver tall
with a finely spackled spine
but not catch me when I fall

the rind lined and intertwined
with a finely spackled spine
when I fall, remember
when I fall, remember

Screen in the Screen by Maria L. Berg 2021

NaNo Prep

Last night I got through my first skimming of the draft and listing all the characters. Wow that was a shitty first draft! Good for me, but I’m also glad I’m coming at this work as a complete re-write. Today I discovered the one thing I do not do enough in my work: sitting still with my eyes closed in the sun. I needed and wanted new names for my characters. I wanted to see what they look like and get to know them. It only took trying to sit still in a chair on a surprisingly warm sunny day to come up with all sorts of ideas and have to get up and write them down. I have always been bad at sun bathing. If the sun stays out, I might have my new writing technique: force myself to sit in a lounge chair and try to relax!

Happy Reading and Writing!

#OctPoWriMo & #Writober Day 9: #SoCS My Skin is a Lid Twisted Tight

Blood on the Horizon by Maria L. Berg 2021

For Tourmaline .’s Halloween Challenge “blood,” I played with some fun color filters. For the image above, I used a red lens that screws onto my camera lens. When I put on the red lens, I forgot I was also using a color filter built into my camera that captures everything in black and white except for the color red. Somehow, that turned a small portion of the sky gray ( I think that’s a little mountain peeking through the clouds) .

Bloodletting by Maria L. Berg 2021

It’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday and the theme is “lid.” Here’s a section of unedited stream of consciousness from my journal this morning:

This morning as I thought about lids, I kept coming to put a lid on it, put a lid on me, but the first post I read went to blow the lid off. Do I feel I have already twisted the lid off the jar, escaped confines and would be contained, silenced, quieted, tamed, while she sees enclosures, full of pressures building, fermenting, fomenting that without poked air-holes must explode? And upon removing the lid what truth does she expect to reveal? Something both sweet and sour, bubbling and gassing, I assume. . . I keep thinking of jars, twisting lids, but boxes have lids, bins have lids, tupperware lids seal freshness in, treasure chests have lids on hinges, a lid can also be a cover, close something up/away, also good for stacking, flattening, a lid contains a collection, defining as finished, meant to stop the growth, slow additions, unwanted admissions.

Maria L. Berg 2021

Sanguine, Though Brain’s on Wrong by Maria L. Berg 2021

I found the brain lid and red goo of my zombie candy from the other day as a perfect symbol for today’s prompts.


Today’s prompt is to explore what we do to relax and recharge. The 2018 prompt was “Love,” not only passionate but all forms of love: “platonic, familial, charitable (think compassion; love for strangers/animals/etc), and self-love (think self-esteem and confidence).” So some self-love for relaxation and rejuvenation while I think about blood and lids.

Today’s suggested form is a Loop poem.

Loose Lids

Keep your mouth shut
shut mouth, eyes open
open eyelids stay put
put a lid on it
it being knowledge
the ledge you know
know your container
tamer of motion
the motion of notions
potions from mouth to ears
ears to fears can’t roam
roaming fears cause panic
panicked people lash
lash out and run amok
amok-running is not ideal
ideals have boundaries
boundaries lined and ruled
rules measured building pressure
pressure from every side
sides provide surfaces
surfaces to bounce off and collide
colliding with others feeling trapped
trapped and bombarded by projectiles
projections of expectations
expectations and rejections hurt
and hurt feelings grow
grow under the sealed lid
the lid now visibly bowed
bowed out, expanding, from pressure
pressure from gasses unable to escape
escape here, escape now, how
how to blow the lid off
off-gas the soreness
the sore, tight tension
and retain some gains
gain clarity and sincerity
while letting loose
losing the lid but not the liquid
liquidity of fluidity intact
intact in the flow the vessel emptied
emptied anticipating filling
or filled with happy nothingness now
now in this lid-less moment
this moment of free ions
ionic charges attract things
attracting opposites

Blood Splatter After Brain Replacement by Maria L. Berg 2021


I think this is going to be a very close, closed story of guilt and obsession. A first-person POV with only one character in one setting, a small bathroom. So, I thought I would start with character development this time.

My protagonist is Sage Manos, a chemistry professor who looks like a giant starfish with obsessive elbows. He has odd speech patterns because he’s always saying “but, anyway” and never finishing what he is saying. His destructive flaw is arrogance. His constant gossiping and only thinking of himself have made it hard for him to keep a job. He’s hoping this fixer-upper in a new town will be a fresh start.

His epiphany “once you learn the truth, there’s no going back” combined with his suspicious behavior of spying on people could be interesting for the plot. The trauma of an animal attack when young and his secret money stash could both tie in with the image.

I still need to figure out his story want, the dramatic question, theme and turn, but I think I’ll be ready to brainstorm plot points and play with an outline tomorrow.

Any scary loglines you want to share?

River of Blood by Maria L. Berg
In My Blood by Maria L. Berg 2021

Ode to a red rose #SoCS

The Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is “Ode.” Last week I was inspired to start my daily flower drawing practice and it made me draw every day which is amazing to me, and I love the black and whites photographs that I never would have thought to try before seeing zombie flamingos’ post last Saturday. So in a way this whole last week of posts has been an ode to Stream of Consciousness Saturday.

Ode to a lone red rose
standing bold against the gray sky
its petals say see me

Maria L. Berg

I also started the Pathways project from wRightingMyLife last week and I have found that very inspiring. I created a new barefoot bokeh filter and tried it out this morning: