Monday Muse – Masked


Masked. (Photo credit: .Andi.)

I start the second part of my writing course today. For each of my papers we start each day, or week, depending on the paper, with a freehand exercise to get our creative minds and writing flowing. Like the Monday Muse the exercise is designed to get us writing regardless of our inner critic (more on the critic in a later post), and to limber our writing muscles for our weekly assignments.

Todays exercise was a photo of three masks. I enjoyed it because I found myself writing something quite different to what I usually write.

So, I decided to use a similar idea here today. The best thing is it can be used across disciplines – art, sculpture, writing, film, as a kids activity, as a party theme. There are no limits to what you can imagine.

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec...

Aztec mask of Xiuhtecuhtli, c. 1500, of Mixtec-Aztec provenance (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Masks have been around for centuries and used in many if not all cultures. They have been used as disguises, in ceremonies, by actors in shows, at celebrations and more.

Today I encourage you to choose at least 2 activities from the list. Don’t just write about a masked character, make a mask. Don’t just paint a picture of a mask, wear one for a day.

  • Make a mask – This can be as simple as using a paper plate, cutting eyeholes and drawing a design or can be as complex as making a mould of your face and creating a papier mache piece of art.

  • Wear your mask – If you are really brave try wearing it to the supermarket or at least down the street – Remember, it is a disguise – no-one will know who you are! Take on the characteristics of your mask. If it is a tiger, behave like a tiger, if it is a superhero, behave like a superhero.

  • Sculpt a mask – Use playdough, clay, plasticene or any other mouldable substance. For long lasting creations use salt dough and then you and the kids can paint and cook your creations before mounting them on your walls.

  • Paint a picture with  a mask/s featuring somewhere.

  • Attend a masked ball

  • Write, stage and film a play with a mask as a central theme.

  • Write a poem or story with a mask as a central theme.

    English: A Beijing opera mask

    English: A Beijing opera mask (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Happy creating






Monday Muse – Short and Sweet

First of all – apologies for being late. I was unwell yesterday and unable to think straight let alone write a post that could inspire, prompt or prod you in any direction (let alone the right direction).

I am recovering but trying to limit my computer time so as not to aggravate my headache so this will be short and sweet.

Todays Prompt

Sweets, Candy, Lollipops, Chocolate drops…

Write, draw, or make something that is all about sweet things.

Avoiding sweet things for whatever reason? Make them anyway and give to a friend – doubly sweet!

Description unavailable

Description unavailable (Photo credit: square eyes)

Monday Muse – Winter Wonderland

Way down under in New Zealand we have been experiencing winter wonderland weather.  Even the fast flowing Shotover River in the South Island has been icing up.  Now that shows you how amazingly cold it is!  Here’s a pic of it when it’s not iced over. Needless to say, the Shotover Jet is not operating because it is too dangerous.

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to ...

Shotover Jet is the only company permitted to operate in the spectacular Shotover River Canyons. It’s a thrilling ride – skimming past rocky outcrops at close range in your Shotover Jet ‘Big Red’, as you twist and turn through the narrow canyons at breath taking speeds. View On Black (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lucky for me, I’m in the North Island.  We’ve still been having our share of hard frosts and I even had frozen pipes – no running water for me yesterday morning.

But, the point I’m taking so long to get to is, that winter with its icy landscapes and frozen sculptures offers rich and varied inspiration for all of us. Poets, writers, artists and even those who would call themselves none of the former, can admire the beauty and marvel at the delicate intricacies that a winter landscape provides.

Todays Muse?

Get up early, put on lots of warm clothes, go outside and be inspired!

Living in a country where it is spring or summer or autumn? I have added a winter pic below for you.

Winter Snow - Landscape

Winter Snow – Landscape (Photo credit: blmiers2)

Happy Creating


Monday Muse – The Lost Art of Letter Writing


Letters (Photo credit:

Dear Readers,

How are you?  I hope this letter (post) finds you well. The weather has been beautiful here.  The glorious sunny days are worth the cold and chilly nights spent huddled around the fire clasping a hot water bottle, before diving into a bed where the blankets weigh more than the bed frame itself.

Unfortunately, despite the warmer days there is still no sign of my pea seeds sprouting.  I fear that last weeks rain may have caused them to rot in the ground. How is your garden?

More importantly, how is your creative life? If it has been languishing a little, now is the time to resurrect it AND, with todays exercise we are also going to resurrect the lost art of letter writing.

How many of us write letters regularly anymore?  Not emails or formal letters, but good old fashioned, long letters written on nice paper to friends or family? I remember the joy of receiving a letter in the mailbox. Immediately the handwritten address made the envelope stand out from the bills and official letters.

Depending on my mood I would rip it open and read it immediately, like a kid on Christmas morning who can’t wait to open the presents. Sometimes, I would draw out the moment and make a cup of tea first. Waiting for the jug to boil I would turn the envelope over and over studying the stamps and the sender address (if there was one) and wondering what the contents contained.

There was also as much pleasure in taking the time to sit down and write a reply. I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail? Being the one to bring happiness and joy to a loved one brings as much joy to the sender as the receiver.

So, find some nice paper, your favourite pen, a cup of tea or coffee and sit down and write a letter to someone. Take the time to write at least a page or two. Add doodles, sketches and stickers if you feel the urge. When you have finished put it in an envelope, address and post as soon as you can. If you’re lucky you may even get a reply.

Even if you don’t get a reply you will still get something out of writing the letter.  Writing a letter forces you to write for someone in particular, a specific audience. This affects how and what you say. Use this focus to take a piece of writing you have been stuck on and look at it from the point of view of your ideal audience. You can’t please everyone. Write for one person and you will find your work will gain focus, become tighter and flow better.

I will leave you with one more thought. Most of the great writers, artists, musicians wrote letters to their friends and family. Who knows, maybe letter writing is one of the keys to great work and art.

I look forward to hearing how your letters went and whether it changed your day, art, writing or life. Leave me a comment and let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,


Letter and envelope from Emily Dickinson to Th...

Letter and envelope from Emily Dickinson to Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Monday Muse – Reading the Pictures

A child with an illustrated book of Three Bill...

A child with an illustrated book of Three Billy Goats Gruff (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hi Everyone,

I know I’m a little late with the Monday Muse and I’d like to say it’s because I was visited by my very own muse and have spent the day writing…but…I have been doing the next best thing.  Reading!

I went to the library this morning and enjoyed flicking through the picture books looking at all the amazing illustrations. I read a couple of books aloud to the kids and then I picked some to bring home – based on either the cover picture, recognising a favourite author’s name (Julia Donaldson) or if it was a book about monsters. (and one on how to draw……I can at least improve my doodles….)

Then after filling both book bags and my arms with books, I came home to read them.  I have been on Safari, to the playground, up in a a hot air balloon, chased by wolves, and found treasure – all without leaving my house and staying warm and comfortable. That is the magic of good writing. My to-do list has been completely neglected, or to be more accurate – completely ignored and ‘accidently’ used to start the fire.

What has this got to do with the elusive Muse?

To write we need to read, and read, and read some more.

Read to be inspired, to learn, to escape, to marvel…

To write well we need to read. Reading other’s work will help us develop our voice and improve the quality of our own writing. Of course we need to write too. If we only ever read and never put any of what we learn or think into action we will be only readers rather than writers.

Todays Monday Muse

So, today take a picture book or a magazine and choose one picture.  Alternatively you can choose a painting or a photo.

Use this picture as your prompt. ‘Read the picture’ then start to write.  Remember to write for at least 10 minutes before you stop.

Hint:  Do not read the picture book or article first.  (I know that contradicts my previous comment about reading, but for this exercise it is easier if you do not have preconceived ideas about the picture.)

If you can’t decide on a picture then use one of the images below.

Michele Pannonio - The Muse Thalia (detail) - ...

Michele Pannonio – The Muse Thalia (detail) – WGA15588 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)




On safari in Phinda

On safari in Phinda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)













Happy Writing





Monday Muse – Space and Supermoons

Welcome to another Monday Muse.

Today’s blog is going to be short and sweet. Words cannot describe or define the awesomeness or magnitude of space. I consider myself lucky that on a clear night I can step outside, look up at the sky and immediately be awed by the sheer number of stars that fill the sky.  There are more pinpricks of light than there is the blue-black of sky.

Space fascinates us.  Stars, planets, the moon, other galaxies, alien life….  Who knows for sure what is out there?
So, coupled with our imaginations, the sheer vastness of space is an excellent starting point for todays muse.

Todays Starter

Use the word ‘supermoon’ as your starter
the image of a lunar eclipse below.

If you’re interested in seeing more images from the recent lunar eclipse check out the links below.
Happy creating everyone,

Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos

Monday Muse – Haunted Houses and Escaping Goldfish

I hope everyone has had a fantastic, enjoyable and creative weekend.  I spent my time revising some manuscripts and designing a new enclosure for my rabbits. I also mulched my garden with autumn leaves. Now it looks rather colourful with green plants sticking up in patterns amidst a red, yellow, orange and brown backdrop.

Today is a somewhat windy, showery day here but the huge plus is….I have seen 3 different rainbows already!!  Of course the other advantage is that I have no excuses about going out or doing the gardening because it is far too cold.  The best place to be is at my desk, writing.

A note about using starters and prompts…

When you are using a starter or a prompt it is important to keep writing for at least 10 minutes.  If you start and then give up before this time is up you are not giving the creative side of your brain a chance to relax and start coming up with ideas and scenarios.  Mull it over a little first if you must but then start writing and don’t stop!!

This week I have included two starters to choose from – better yet – do them both.


Now, with no further ado, I present this mornings muse….


Find a way to combine the following in a work of art.  It can be a painting, a story, poem, song, music, collage…

A stamp collector

A haunted house

and red jelly



Use the image below as a starting point.



For more ideas and other writing titbits follow this blog by using the follow button on the sidebar, and click to like my facebook page.


Happy Creating