Poem for the day

A friend of mine brought this poem to my attention today. I thought I’d share.

IF…by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

Writing Prompt:Happy Days

I sometimes find it harder to recall happy memories than sad ones. Maybe we’re programmed that way. If I focus, I can think of happy times with my family, friends, adventures, etc. It’s particularly hard when times are tough, but when you take the time to list the good times, it drowns out the bad times.

This is a pretty straight forward exercise. Write down as many happy thoughts about your life and your past as you can think of. For the sake of argument, pretend you’re Harry Potter and you need to produce a Patronis charm (for you Harry Potter fans). Think of the happiest time in your life and write about it.


Writing Prompt: Letter Writing

They say that hand written letters are a dying breed. I’m trying to see the practice alive by writing to my friends and family oversees. i’m going to try to avoid email from now on if there is nothing urgent going on. There’s something special about sending and receiving an actual letter.

One of my weaknesses is stationary. I love new clean sheets of decorative paper, especially when coupled with a fountain pen. I have a Waterman pen and an old fashioned ink well that was a gift. So, last night I wrote to a friend back in the US, my parents and my brother. I know that I’m delighted when I get something hand written in the post, so I hope they’ll enjoy it too.

There is one unique thing about letter writing. You can’t delete. You can only cross out and write. I think that makes me more careful both in the content and my penmanship.

It also forces you to employ a bit of brevity if you have a finite amount of space to write in. For this exercise, sit down and write a hand written letter to someone special. It doesn’t have to be profound, you can simply say hi and give them a few updates on your life. Ask how they’re doing or something similar.

It’s a nice way to practice writing and let someone know you’re thinking about them at the same time.


Writing Prompt:Redrum

I’ve been watching a lot of crime thrillers lately and I got me thinking, how would  commit the perfect murder? What are some creative ways of doing someone in and getting away with it? For this prompt, let’s get stuck in with the following, make a list of ways to kill a person. Next, make a list of how you could potentially get rid of the body. Add an alibi. Throw in a motive or two and try to knit together just a loose outline of a plot. See what comes out. Have fun! Happy hunting!

Here’s an example to get you started:

Murder weapon:

  1. Drowning
  2. Dressing robe belt
  3. Scissors
  4. Poison
  5. Burial

Body Disposal

  1. Railway Embankment
  2. Field
  3. Under a house
  4. Dismemberment and burning
  5. Meat grinder


  1. Revenge (think of things someone might kill someone for in retaliation)
  2. Money
  3. Nutjob




Writing Prompt: Grim

It has been an awful day at the start of an awful year. The grim reaper has been busy. Famous, amazing people have left us so far, and although it has saddened me, I have another reason to think death is a horrible fucker. I’ve experienced loss before and it’s the worst feeling in the world. This is a tough one to write, so bear with me.

Today, I put my cat, Titch in her cage and went to the vet expecting to be told that she was too ill to ever bring home again. Before I left the house, I spent as much time as I could stroking her fur and whispering to her. As the hour approached for her vet appointment, I cried and cried into endless strips of toilet paper. She has been ill for months and I’ve known for some time now that it is going to be my decision as to when it’s time for her to go. At 2pm, I braced myself and when I put the cage down, she walked straight into it without having to be coaxed. I sealed the cage and off we went. In the waiting room, I sat there with her, reaching in once in a while to stoke her head until the vet called us in. To my surprise, the vet said that although it was still a matter of time and still would be my decision as long as Titch didn’t deteriorate in the next few weeks, I could take her home. We had a reprieve. It’s not long and it doesn’t change things, but for now, I’m grateful for the few days more I have with her, as long as she’s not suffering.

When I though I was all cried out for the day, I got a call from overseas. A dear member of the family died this morning. She was a kind, funny and generous lady. I thought of her family and everyone who loved her and what they must be feeling. I remembered the last times I had seen her and how she aways had a hug and a smile for everyone around her. She had been ill for a long time, but I still wasn’t ready for the news. I can only imagine what her immediate family and friends had gone through these last dreadful weeks since her condition worsened. So, once I put the phone down, the tears came again. It was a combination of knowing that lovely woman was gone and knowing that I was one word away from having my beloved pet for 13 years put to sleep.

The stress of today is about all I can take, so I’m signing off now to think about everyone I’ve lost and to regroup for the days ahead.

For this prompt, write about either someone you’ve lost or about how you feel about death. It’s something we will all have to face someday and not an easy subject, but I believe it is something worth pondering, even if you only write something private, for yourself alone.



Writing Prompt: Your Story

Everyone has a story. Several, in fact. We, some of us, think that our stories are not unique or interesting enough to write about, but you’d be surprised at how much each of us has to say. Start listing key events in your life, large and small. From there, start filling in the detail. Try to remember the colours, what people said, scenery, weather, sensations, etc. Here are some of mine:

  1. The first time I had a substitute teacher.
  2. The day my parents got me my first car
  3. The moment I got a call telling me a friend was dead
  4. My last fight with my first boyfriend
  5. The last time I saw my grandfather alive
  6. Walking to the Mt Everest Base camp
  7. Skydiving attempts
  8. Witnessing the hit and run of a dog crossing the road
  9. Deciding my career path over a bottle of gin and a drunk-dialling call with my wise brother
  10. Understanding the concept of racism in the 4th grade.
  11. Meeting my first crush at the age of 14, he was 21….
  12. My first experience at being burgled
  13. Being sexually assaulted by a stranger on the street
  14. Flying a plane for the first time (over Icelandic glaciers)
  15. Glissading over Mt. St Helens
  16. Being robbed at gunpoint
  17. Finding out my half-German husband, living in England has family in my home town in California. Serendipity….
  18. Publishing my first creative essay
  19. My first fight
  20. My first dance.

Any one of these would keep me busy for a couple thousand words. I’m sure you’ve got a story to tell too. Make you list, and get cracking.

Have fun!




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