Wednesday, August 25, 2021

Night Walking

 By Leslie Colin Tribble

This summer the GROG has written nudges and encouragements to our readers to see the world in a new way in order to spark creativity. We've suggested getting out in nature, learning new crafts, engaging in a new sport or activity, and sharpening your writing by trying haiku or cinquain poetry. All these are designed to shake up the ordinary, get you out of a rut and help you see the world in a new way. 

My take on this is to incorporate night walks into your life.

We are creatures of the day, of light. How often do you go out and truly experience the dark? What I want you to try is getting away from the house and car, away from the lights. Let the beauty of the night envelope and hold you (safely, of course!). 

Behind my house is a city park with a paved, 2 mile path around a couple of lakes. I know the path well, and it's level enough I don't have to worry about tripping over an unseen rock. On one side of the path is the lake and the other side an irrigation ditch - I know the dogs won't wander too far. Once I leaned into the darkness and the cold during winter, I found all sorts of beauty - surprise encounters with a raccoon, owls hooting from trees or silently winging ahead of us on the trail, and more stars and galaxies than I could count. My sense of hearing was heightened in the dark and quiet and I could actually hear the raccoon chortling to itself and the weird, mystical music of lake ice.

If you're nervous about being by yourself, take a headlamp and a buddy. But try to not talk nor use the light - just simply experience the different beauty and creativity of the dark. 

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Summer! Some Are Writing Haiku by Kathy Halsey

Happy Haiku for You 

Sometimes in summer, we need to lighten or change our routines. I needed to lighten my mood early this summer after receiving a professional critique that made me feel like I was couldn't write my way out of a paper bag. I actually stopped writing, but haiku came to my rescue!

I sat on the back deck pouting with my journal, observing nature - clematis, sunflowers, and kids frolicking with their dad. I doodled with words. The simple, 3 line, 5-7-5 haiku format seemed safe. I couldn't mess that up, right?  RIGHT.  

My journaling flowed, haiku made me happy. BAM! I was writing. I even used haiku to attack a shelved story, now ready to submit. Switching gears and formats made the difference! 

Join Me in Some Haiku

I'm sharing my haiku and some photos as possible prompts. Join in the fun and share your haiku in the comments. Traditional haiku is more contemplative but some of mine are active. (and may fudge a syllable or 2.) Just play and do it your way.


Tall purple iris.
Show off your fascinator.
Queen of the garden.

Garden sunshine blooms.
Follows the sun. Petal power.
Stretch to azure sky.

A smooth oblong stone.
A carefree rock skimmer with
perfect form. Skip . . . splash!

Clematis climbs, winds
its crisscross highway of vines
intersect. Find sun.

Here's one just for fun! Can't wait to see what haiku comes from you!

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Summer Writing

By Suzy Leopold

    Summertime is for reading, writing, exploring, and discovering. It includes a somewhat slower pace with outings, travels, and vacations.

    Many educators and students are returning to school this month. Others will hear the school bell ring in September. Soon students will read and write; learn and grow.

    Let’s create a poetree—a cinquain about a tree.

Welcome to the Illinois Prairie

    A cinquain is five-line poem inspired by nature. 

    Here are the steps to write a cinquain poem:

  • Line 1: One word title, a noun that identifies your topic
  • Line 2: Two adjectives that describe your topic 
  • Line 3: Three -ing verbs that describe action
  • Line 4: A phrase that describes something about your topic 
  • Line 5: A noun that is a synonym or another way to name your topic
    Think about the activities and adventures you participated in during the summer. What memories did you create? Perhaps it was fun in the backyard, a visit to the lake, a museum outing, or even a hike through the forest.

Weeping Willow

    Sharing my example:


Green, tall

Growing, Cascading, Swaying

Many birds like to nest


A Robin’s Nest in a Willow Tree 
    If you create and write a cinquain poem, share it in the comments section.

    Happy reading and writing.

Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Summer Creativity: Get Out & Do Something Unexpected by Tina Cho


Golf ball statue in West Des Moines, Iowa

Summer is about over for me, as I head back into my classroom. Every day I have an agenda to make the most out of my summer. But sometimes, taking time to do the unexpected can be a much needed creative outlet for the brain. 

One late afternoon I went with my husband to the driving range. Before we had kids, I used to go quite often with him. But last month, I putted on the little practice greens and enjoyed doing something different. 

Doing the unexpected awakens adrenaline, makes your brain active, leads to new opportunities and passions, can humble you, and improve relationships. 

Doing something unexpected and new can also lead to writing opportunities and new ideas. What's something new you've done this summer? Leave a comment!

The best things in life are unexpected--
because there were no expectations.
--Eli Khamarov