IMPROMPTU #142: Samhain

“I move my hand and feel a touch
move with me, and when I brush
my own mind across another,
I am with my mother’s mother.”

- Annie Finch, from “Samhain”

The veil between this world and the Otherworld is at its thinnest at this time of year. Write a story or poem or song in which your speaker/character interacts with an ancestor (or ancestors).

IMPROMPTU #105: Hoa Nguyen, Circle, Free Write

I'm currently at the Banff Arts Centre working on my full length poetry manuscript. One of my mentors here is the Toronto poet Hoa Nguyen. Yesterday, Hoa led an incredible freewriting exercise in which one of the steps was to lovingly draw a circle somewhere on the page through which your ancestors may speak to you. This was so profound for me. Anytime I got stuck or felt lost during the exercise, I looked at my circle and something filled the space. 

So today's prompt: "what are you noticing?" 

Draw your own circle. Set a timer for 10, 20, 40 minutes, or just go for however long you want. Write from your heart and your history. 

I'd love to hear about your experience. Comment below, or email me, or message me on Instagram, @impromptuprompts. 

Hoa Nguyen facilitates an incredibly cool workshop series in Toronto. Toronto poets, check it out

IMPROMPTU #86: Ghost Story

I love ghost stories. I love going on ghost tours in cities when I travel, breaking into and exploring abandoned farmhouses on Prince Edward Island (what? Never happened...) I love old houses, old hotels, cemeteries, churches, anything creepy and potentially haunted. I think the root of it is a fascination with other peoples' stories—who has passed through these hallways, fell in love, had their heart broken, died or been born in these rooms? 

You can interpret this prompt however you choose - maybe you want to tell your own ghost story, the story of something that happened to you or someone you know, or use your own experience to prompt a fictional tale. Or maybe you want to make it up entirely. Maybe you want to re-write an existing ghost story. Maybe a ghosty experience or a haunted hotel sparks a story that's not a ghost story at all. Follow your brain through its dark hallways and dusty rooms and see what happens.