Unlock the Muse – May 16, 2018

Another month half gone already. This year is flying by too fast. My first soccer season is nearly over. The kids will be out of school soon begging to put up the pool. And this weekly writing prompt adventure is a year old!

Speaking of time passing, here is this week’s writing prompt:

Aging happens. Take a good look at yourself in the mirror, and write a poem praising the changes that the maturing process has brought to your face.

My mother has beautiful silvering hair, and doesn’t look remotely like the 68 she is. I can only hope time will be as kind to me.

In the second section of The 3 A.M. Epiphany, Brian Kiteley focuses on Images, on the idea of showing a story, not telling it. He says: “Image is the primary engine of most fiction.” The first exercise in this section is titled “No Ideas, But In Things.”

Write a very brief story told only in images—concrete, simple, visually efficient movements and details. This exercise does not ask you to eliminate people from your prose, just to watch what they do and what objects they crave and caress rather than what they say or think about these objects and actions. 300 words.

The last several weeks I have been taking my oldest son to soccer practice at least once a week, often twice. Thus, we are spending a lot of one on one time together, trapped in a car. I am a captive audience to his million and one questions. Anyone else have an exceptionally curious eight year old?

One of the questions that has popped up recently is in regards to street names. What is a boulevard? Why is that called Foster Avenue? Why? Why? Why? I decided why, indeed? What makes a road a road? What makes it a boulevard or an avenue or simply a street?

The word for this month, therefore, is boulevard. What does it mean, and where does it come from?




A wide street in a town or city, typically one lined with trees.

From etymoline.com:

1769, “broad street or promenade planted with rows of trees,” from French boulevard, originally “top surface of a military rampart” (15c.), from a garbled attempt to adopt Middle Dutch bolwerc “wall of a fortification” into French, which at that time lacked a ‘w’ in its alphabet.

The notion is of a promenade laid out atop demolished city walls, a way which would be much wider than urban streets. Originally in English with conscious echoes of Paris; in US, since 1929, used of multi-lane limited-access urban highways.

Wherever your adventures take you this week – along wide, straight boulevards, or winding, country roads – happy writing!

Please consider sharing your response to the writing exercise. Got a question? Just ask! Put it in the comments below, or send your question by email here:

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