Day Fifteen: Motivated to Patiently Explore Motivation

Motivation by Maria L. Berg 2022


Today we had a very special guest post by Jacob M. Appel about prioritizing writing. If you haven’t read it yet, I recommend reading it for a dose of writing motivation.

It is human nature to be drawn to pleasure and avoid pain. All motivations can be put into these two categories, but some find pleasure in pain, and some are repulsed by pleasures. Motives for people’s actions are endlessly entertaining as is evident from the number of mysteries and thrillers available to stream. With every violent act, the most interesting question is why, what was the motivation?

What motivates you? What provides a cause or reason to act? It’s different for everyone, so what does motivation look like? It pulls and pushes; like a force, it changes one’s direction.

For today’s images, I searched for a symbol that represents both pleasure and pain. I decided fire was the perfect fit. Fire is beautiful, exciting and draws you toward it for warmth, but it burns and can cause great pain. I added orange and blue strings of lights in the mirrorworld, used my fire symbol filter, and put it in motion.

All Fired Up by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Today’s prompt is to write a poem about something you have absolutely no interest in.

Poem A Day

Today’s prompt is to write a patience poem.

Motivated by Love by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

No Patience for the Idolotry of Reality’s Celebrity

Living vicariously through imagery
false luxury, fake enmity, wasted
hours watching, watching, staring
not caring, not having to care
and yet wrapped up in voyaristic
connection, anticipation of one
more juicy bit of depravity
From where the motivation
to trade away one’s moments
in passive consumption
of the glitter and glamor
of the basest, lowest
crudest ridiculist
at the table
the loosest lips
sinking the most
shock-ships, launching
the most depth-charges
to lower the lowest bar
confusing the line between
fiction and delusion
even further

Day Eight: They Never Tell You Goals Are Squirrelly

Bokeh squirrels on the lake photographed through the hedge and tall grass.
Lofty Goals by Maria L. Berg 2022


A goal can be a concrete noun, if you’re playing soccer (football in most of the world), but as an abstract noun–“the result or achievement toward which effort is directed”–it is a squirrelly concept. Since the beginning of the year, I have read a pile of books on the concept of goal setting, creating and changing habits, motivation, and achieving goals. I’ve written about it in a series of posts (The theme for this year is “A Year of Finishing Novels”), but goals are shifty, and when captured tend to grow larger, or run further away.

I’ve never made a squirrel filter. That’s a good goal for today.

Colorful bokeh squirrels of different sizes overlapping in the mirrorworld.
My Squirrelly Goals by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Prompts


Name your alter-ego, and then describe him/her in detail. Then write in your alter-ego’s voice.

Poem A Day

Write about what “they” never tell you.

One bokeh squirrel on the lake by some leaves.
Focused by Maria L. Berg 2022

The Poem

They Never Tell Me Where They Put the Goal Posts

They keep moving the goal posts
but never tell me where they put them
always changing the rules when
I think that I’ve learned them

They say good things come to those who wait
but never specify how long or what’s good
And while I’m waiting, imagining my good things coming
they move the goal posts again when I’m not looking

Of course they aren’t the ones in the now
in this crowd, feeling this beat pull them
from their seats to move their well-shoed feet
and return my smile

They say grab life by the horns
but they never say how it feels to be torn
when those horns gore through
or how long it will take for the wounds to heal

They say time heals all wounds
but they never specify how much time
and does this count as time waiting for good things?
Because that feels like a cheat, when the good things
I’m waiting for are a hit song and a huge cheering crowd
I’d rather not have wounds in the first place
if healing them is the good things I’m wasting time
waiting for, and if it’s the wound I got from grabbing
life’s horns, that’s a double cheat.

I shoulda grabbed life by the tail and held on tight
and let my legs fly out behind me
Gotta watch out for hooves ‘n shit, but it’d
be better than being gored and then not
getting good things because I’m waiting for
holes to heal. Where did those goal posts go?

They say nothing lasts forever
but I think waiting might if
I listen to them. Luckily
the music’s so loud
I can’t hear them
I can’t even hear myself

#NaPoWriMo Day 19: Sound Collecting

This morning, the prompts inspired me to go out for a walk. I wore gloves with the full intention to collect small things I encountered along the way, but once out there, I didn’t want to bring home little bits of plastic or the weird broken vial. The little flowers and squirrels didn’t want to come home with me either, so I collected these pictures and memories of all the sounds.

The poem

The Sound Collector

It starts with the dogs running to the fence barking
they don’t stop after I have passed
as if I was the on button and someone lost the remote

then the squirrels skitter up the pole
one settles at the very top and peers down
while the other chitters at me from over the cylindrical transformer

a couple passes me on the other side of the street
we all say “Good Morning”
the first words I’ve heard today

a large dog’s deep bark echos
its own response
a stimulating conversation

I hear a car coming,
but it never passes me
I am half way around my walking loop

ahead I am surprised by
the beeping of a truck backing up
the prime truck delivers

to my right, a woman clearly says
“Not right now”
from inside her house

she is interrupted by the prime truck backing up
the click of crows feet landing on a roof
and someone opening and closing a door

a cyclist changing gears
speeds by leaning forward in full regalia
the wheels whir

the prime truck beeps, rolling out of another driveway
it drives the short distance across the street
clicks and clacks as the van doors open and close

small birds sing in counterpoint
the prime truck beeps
the gruff neighbor says, “good morning”

the morning dove calls like a sick goose
guggle-guggle–wow, guggle-guggle–wow
the prime truck beeps and beeps and beeps

The prompts


Prompt: create a walking archive

PAD Challenge

Prompt: use these words

  • bump
  • embrace
  • fixture
  • howl
  • lonely
  • resolve