Writing Prompts

The Dreaded Writers Block

Credit: inspireportal.com

It may shock you to learn that even seasoned writers encounter the debilitating block of creativity and drive which is so commonly known as “writers block.” If you’re experiencing writers block while reading this, you are probably agonizing to discover that it isn’t something you simply grow out of. “Will I never be rid of this curse?” you may think. 

Well, pull yourself out of your pit of despair, because I do have some help for you. 

This will be a short lesson, because the trick I learned from other masters really is the most simple of tricks. In fact, it’s so simple, you might discredit it completely. You will probably finish reading this and incredulously dismiss the lesson as a cheap farce. Really, I wouldn’t blame you if you did. I myself wave off the solution when I’m in the throes of a particularly stifling block. But it works. I’ve proven it over countless times. You just have to do it.

Are you ready? Are you writing this down? 

Okay. Here it is…

Get a timer. Set it for 5 minutes. Then write like your life depends on it and don’t stop until you hear that buzzer. 

Writers are desperate people. When they stop being desperate, they stop being writers. 

Become desperate.  

This has been,

Fanny T. Crispin


An Open Letter to Mothers

First, I want to thank one mother in particular. For your calm and caring personality, for your wisdom and advice, and for always steering me on the straight course in life – thank you. You’ve showed me how important relationships are in all stages. You taught me how to be strong and wise in those relationships. You’ve modeled the proverb Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry, and helped me realize the value of those instructions. You got me through some of the toughest times in my life, and I want you to be there during the best as well. 

From your experiences and loving cautions, I have become a better woman, a stronger, more confident individual.

Thank you, Linda. You’re friendship has meant more to me than you’ll ever know. 

To my own dear mother: Thank you for raising me with honesty, morals, and values. Your tough love shaped me to be more independent and to look out for myself. You are my mom, my teacher, my mentor, my pride and joy among all my friends. Not one to be overly sentimental, you raised five children with varying personalities, from emotionally sentimental to pragmatically logical. 

We all have our flaws, but you were always honest, from mistakes in our educational curriculum to disciplinary actions (I admit to deserving everything I got and probably less than I deserved.) Now that I’m an adult, I find myself mimicking your traits, and it makes me smile.

Momma, I love you. Thank you for everything. 

Happy Mother’s Day to these amazing women. 

Until next time, this has been, 

Fanny T. Crispin


Traditionally Non-Traditional

“Oh yes, I forget you like to toss out every tradition just because it’s a tradition.”

My boyfriend said this to me. In the context of our conversation, it kind of hurt because it told me he didn’t care about my opinion. But he’s more traditional, so maybe I hurt him too when I wanted to cast out all traditions.

So let’s talk about tradition. Where does it stem from? The first traditions recorded were predominantly religious. The traditions laid down were very specific, they were important, they held strong meaning so that people wouldn’t forget the sacrifices and gifts that literally saved their lives. 

So we can safely assume tradition can be important. 

Now let’s talk about your average family tradition. Holidays. Weddings. Funerals. Three things that literally define our lives in the eyes of our families. 

Our parents and grandparents hold onto these traditions to the extent that they will make their child/grandchild’s life miserable if they do not consent to these traditions. In some cases, they will ostracize the family member in question. Incredible. But scarily true. 

Here’s my take: why should I care about a tradition, a habit, or idiosyncratic pattern that does not affect my life or quality thereof? For holidays, why do I need to decorate? For weddings, why can’t I have a private wedding? For funerals, why do I need to spend money when I’ll be dead and won’t give a damn?  

What if I wanted to make my own traditions? What if I didn’t want to be tied down by an obligatory task which I personally do not particularly enjoy and which taxes me every time I have to do it? What if I don’t have time for such patterns of tradition? 

My boyfriend has, on occasion, gone so far as to credit my mother to my disinterest in traditions – comments which I found deeply offensive since he was insulting my mother. I will get him for that. 

But some of what he said is true. One year she told us if we wanted a Christmas tree, we had to set it up and decorate it ourselves (we’ve only had artificial trees.) But Mom raised, educated, cooked, and cleaned for five kids. Holidays were more stressful than enjoyable for her. So I utterly respect her ultimatum. Besides, it taught me how to replace ornament light bulbs (and how to appreciate string lights with bulbs which are NOT all connected.)

Thank you for putting up with all my griping. There are some (a few,  slight) positives (of no consequence) to traditions. Traditions ensure consistency within the family. Rather than coming up with a new plan for every holiday (wedding, funeral), the family already knows what is supposed to happen and what their individual obligations are. There’s a level of comfort with knowing what will happen. Much of our lives is a mystery, so a little reliability is appreciated. 

What’s more, family traditions, like religious ones, ensure memories are retained. It’s the reason we never throw out the dorky ornaments, because they signify our children’s accomplishments in school, or why we keep making the disgusting cranberry and cottage cheese jello, because it was our great-grandma’s recipe and reminds us of our English heritage and Thanksgivings with Gma. We sing Amazing Grace at funerals because it brings us comfort knowing our loved ones are safe in the great beyond. We invite everyone and their mother to our weddings because we want to share the joy of a son or daughter marrying the love of their life. 

Traditions carry meaning. Even if we think they are stupid or a waste of time. Traditions mean something different for everyone. We as humans attach emotions to memories. Those emotions are important, and it is important not to step on someone’s feelings because of our non-traditional pride. 

What traditions can you not live without? What have you given up or created for yourself? I’d love to hear about them. 

Now, excuse me while I go collect my non-traditional pride which I put away in the lockbox so I could write this post. 

This has been, 

Fanny T. Crispin