Saturday, March 29, 2014


by Janie Reinart

Welcome to Saturday Stretches. We all need to warm up before we sing, exercise or write! We will be sharing ideas here to help you “work out” your writing muscles. Take a deep cleansing breath and stretch

For more writing inspiration, share your "stretches" with us. Please post them in the comment section.

#1 Excerpt from Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

CIRCLE your favorite phrases or words in the excerpt. 

CREATE a free verse poem telling a different or new story using the words or phrases you selected. 

You may add your own words and repeat words or phrases in your free verse poem.

In this season, whenever Antonina crossed the park on her way to the trolley stop, church, or market, she walked through corridors thickly scented with linden flowers and abuzz with half-truths—in local slang, lipa also meant white lies.
Across the river, the skyline of Old Town rose from the earl morning mist like sentences written in invisible ink—first just the roofs, whose curved terra-cotta tiles overlapped like pigeon feathers—then a story of sea green, pink, yellow, red, copper, and beige row houses that lined cobbled stoned streets leading to Market Square. 
In the 1930’s, an open-air market served the Praga district too, near the factory on Zabkowska (Tooth) Street designed to look like a squat castle. But it wasn’t as festive as Old Town’s, where dozens of vendors sold produce, crafts, and food below yellow and tan awnings, the shop windows displayed Baltic amber, and for a few groschen a trained parrot would pick your fortune from a small jug of paper scrolls.
Just beyond Old Town, lay the large Jewish Quarter, full of mazy streets, woman wearing wigs, and men sideburn curls, religious dancing, a mix of dialects and aromas, tiny shops, dyed silks, and flat-roofed buildings where iron balconies painted black or moss green, rose one above the other, like opera boxes filled not with people but with tomato pots and flowers.


  1. Wow! This is such a colorful excerpt. I'll try my best to write something.

    1. Mona,
      So excited to see what you are going to write!! Please share ! Thanks so much.

  2. This looks like fun--I'll have to write for inspiration to strike, but many terrific words/phrases!

    1. AnimalAuthor,
      That's the fun part. Inspiration will strike when you play with the words :) Please share with us. Thanks!

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Kathy! Please share your warm up, it was lovely!

  4. I usually make myself a warm cup of tea before I sit down to write. :)

  5. Ms Saba,
    Looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your stretch. :) Pass the scones.

  6. what a colourful place. So many different groups and places merging into one great kaleidoscope of images. this will certainly get the writing juices flowing.

  7. Cecilia looks like you're cooking already! Please share your stretch!

    1. Stretch
      So many different groups and places merging into one great, kaleidoscope of images.
      Swirling movement on the cobbled stones beneath rainbow treads of different people.
      Through corridors of scent written on the air in invisible ink, only discernable by Noses.
      Spice and sweat, perfume and burnt sugar, floral highlights wafting in from the gardens.
      Overseen by ancient buildings marking time as a ribbon marks the place in a book.

    2. Wow, Cecilia! I keep rereading your post! Love it! Favorite words/lines
      kaleidoscope of images, swirling movement--makes me see the patterns in my minds eye of the tumbling colorful shapes.
      rainbow treads of different people.

      Corridors of scent written on the air in invisible ink-like the juxtaposition of spice/sweat, perfume/burnt sugar-makes me think of this quote from Helen Keller-Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years you have lived. Wonderful sensory details!!
      Your last line knocks my socks off!! ancient buildings marking time as a ribbon marks the place in a book. You rock! Thanks for sharing!

  8. I'm going to try, but I'll only share if it's not completely awful. lol! ;)

    1. Becky, I'm sure it will be lovely! Looking forward to reading your stretch!

  9. Alone in the park, what do I see?
    A bed of copper flowers growing by the oak tree.

    Alone in the park, what do I hear?
    A pair of brown wrens singing loudly in my ear.

    Alone in the park, what do I smell?
    The fresh scent of showers that recently fell.

    1. Kristi, I like the rhythm of the repetitive line-Alone in the park. Makes me think of spring! Will it ever get here?