#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:

A Lucky Stream of Consciousness

This year’s Writer’s Games are over. I’m happy to say that one of my stories placed third in its event, so it will be published in the anthology. My first publication this year. Woohoo! This is the first Saturday I’m not working on a story, and am excited to have a Stream of Consciousness Saturday. The theme for today is Luck. Here’s a sample of my stream of consciousness writing on luck in my journal this morning:

“I’m still in disbelief of how unlucky, and lucky, I was yesterday. A simple act of gravity could have been a complete tragedy, but turned out fine. Talk about drama: hot water pouring over a frozen banana in the sink, I step out to get mint, and not wanting bugs to get in, close the sliding door behind me, but the house and gravity conspired, and the hinged bar fell. The door wouldn’t budge. At least I know that little bar does its job keeping people out, but I lock all my doors and windows at all times, so I was screwed. But luck was on my side. I still can’t believe how lucky I felt when the shop door opened. Maybe I wasn’t sure kitty wanted to stay in, so I didn’t lock it after I watered, or if he opened it telepathically, but somehow his recent choice to spend these hot, smoky days in the shop saved me, and the house. It was such a bit of luck, it felt spiritual, supernatural. Luck favors the prepared, but I was not prepared. Once I was back in the house, and had taken many deep breaths, I made the connection that it was Friday the 13th. It had never been a date I paid much attention to before. I wonder if I will take notice and act differently the next time.”

Maria L. Berg

Looking through my WordPress Reader, I lucked into a cluster of Flower of the Day posts: Zombie Flamingos’ black and white response to Cee’s Flower a Day challenge, inspired me to go out and try a black and white flower photo. I love it! And lalalaMonique has a flower a day challenge in which she draws a flower each day. I think I’ll combine all three (though I ignored Cee’s dahlia prompt).

Stumbling upon Cee’s flower-a-day was also lucky because the site has lists of all sorts of challenges. Because I want to focus on recording music on the weekends, I took a look at her list of Music Challenges. I like the blogging challenge idea at wRightingMyLife because it combines writing, photography, and music which is something I want to do. The theme this month is “Pathways.” Luck and pathways go together well.

My overgrown path almost plum-ripe

Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie has something called Lucky Dip which today is a poetry prompt to write a Nonet which is a nine line diminishing syllables poem.

Fickle Luck

When all is shiny and bright as gold
the path ahead clearly unfolds
a gentle ease fills the day
no blockades in the way
birdsong fills the air
not a blister
or ache. We
call it

When all is dark, and hope has run out
everything tried fails, leaving doubt
dare not ask what could go wrong
dread makes the day too long
chainsaws scream a dirge
the next turn will
be worse. We
call it

And talk about lucky! I made the last of my quinoa, not sure what to eat with it, and just before I threw out the bag, I noticed a recipe on the back for Blueberry and Feta Quinoa Salad. And I had all the ingredients (except for cucumber). Delicious!