Cartoon Seriousness

I’ve been reading Lightning Paths by Kyle Vaughn and writing through the daily inspirations. Today’s exercise is to write a poem that uses the imagery of cartoons to communicate a truth about our reality.


such simplicity:
a Charlie Brown Christmas tree
warms the coldest hearts

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Abstract Poem

Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers at Slice of Life for inspiring writers!

The drawing that inspired my poem today
Saylor enjoys the lights and sips hot chocolate on the Fantasy In Lights trolley ride

I’ve been reading Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths and working through the daily writing inspirations. Today’s challenge is to have someone draw an abstract picture and then write about it. I chose a picture that one of my grandchildren drew as my writing inspiration. While they were visiting for Thanksgiving, we took them to Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia to see the Fantasy in Lights as we sipped hot chocolate and rode the trolley through the park.

Sawyer with his hot chocolate – mesmerized by lights!
My son, daughter-in-law, and their children in the dancing music tunnel of lights (yes, everyone dances through it)
Winter Wonderland

winter wonderland
twinkling lights and joy flurries
Fantasy in Lights

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I’ve been reading Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths and working through the daily poem inspirations. Today’s challenge is to write a poem with a philosophical or theological belief or wondering.


eternity is 
held in one moment, stitches ~
past, present, future

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Math Poem

I’ve been reading Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths lately and working through the exercises. Today’s challenge is to write a mathematical concept poem.


there are no numbers ~
no equations, formulas
to show all this love!  

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I’ve been reading Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths and working my way through the exercises. Today’s writing is a Library Poem – a poem that asks writers to turn to their personal libraries for inspiration.

Library Gifts

I'm paring you down
passing on your volumes to 
broaden horizons!  

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Making Beasts

I’ve been writing through Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths. Today’s exercise is writing a poem about a beast we created, real or imagined.

Lasting Impact

I can't hang my foot 
off the bed.  Because Jaws swims
in circles all night.  

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Dropping a Mouse

I’ve been reading Kyle Vaughn’s Lightning Paths and working my way through the prompts in this book. Today’s poem involves dropping a mouse – a completely unexpected twist – into a poem.

In the Country

there in the shadows
edging along the barn wall
nervous field mouse creeps

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November’s Open Write – Day 6 – Color Personality Poems

Tammi Belko is our host today at for Color Personality Poems. You can take a quiz to see your color type. We are writing poems about our discoveries. You can take your own color personality test here.

False Crimson

I have become
   my mother
       who always wore red.

I don’t even like red 
   except at Christmas
       and on teardrop campers.

But here I am,
   a Crimson INTJ
       bold, direct, adventurous ~
          out here killing it.

Apparently I’m friendly
   at least on paper
      because the truth is?

I’d rather be boondocking
   on a rural mountainside
      writing by campfire

No other people around
   just my 3 schnoodles,
      the love of my life,
                     and me

in our camper
   a non-Crimson teardrop
          named Walden.

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November’s Open Write – Day 5 – Ekphrastic Poetry

Katrina Morrison of Oklahoma is our host today for’s November Open Write, Day 5. She challenges us to write Ekphrastic Poetry, or poems about pieces of art. I chose a painting my father recently gave me by Margaret Keane, famous for her Big Eyes paintings (there’s a movie, too). This one is entitled After the Storm. Special thanks to Two Writing Teachers, too, for giving writers space to share through Slice of Life.

After The Storm by Margaret Keane

pairs of every kind
must have felt fearful relief
when the door opened

after the great flood
a lone dove fluffs its feathers
we're finally here!

under the rainbow
hope painted in the heavens
for fruitful futures

elephants trumpet
the platformed walk: arrival!
just look at those eyes!

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November’s Open Write – Day 4

I’m hosting today at with a prompt to write about an unphotographed moment.


Our Hosts

Kim Johnson, Ed.D., lives in Williamson, Georgia, where she serves as District Literacy Specialist for Pike County Schools. She enjoys writing, reading, traveling, camping, and spending time with her husband and three rescue schnoodles – Boo Radley (TKAM), Fitz (F. Scott Fitzgerald), and Ollie (Mary Oliver).  You can follow her blog, Common Threads: patchwork prose and verse, at

Kyle Vaughn is the author of Calamity Gospel (forthcoming from Cerasus Poetry, 2023), The Alpinist Searches Lonely Places (Belle Point Press, 2022), and Lightning Paths:  75 Poetry Writing Exercises (NCTE Books, 2018), and is the co-author/co-photographer of A New Light in Kalighat (American Councils for International Education, 2013).   His poems have appeared in journals such as The Journal, A-Minor, The Boiler, Drunken Boat, Poetry East, Vinyl, the museum of americana (2022 Best of the Net nomination), and The Shore (2021 Pushcart Prize nomination).  He teaches English and is the Director of the Writing Center at Pulaski Academy in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Find him at / twitter: @krv75 / insta:  @kylev75


In his book Lightning Paths: 75 Poetry Writing Exercises, Kyle Vaughn’s resources are rich and plentiful for exploring various forms of poetry. I discovered his website, where I discovered his exercise Unphotographed.  I began thinking of all the ways I use photos to inspire poetry…..and Vaughn reshaped my thinking about all the photographs not taken.  


To sharpen descriptive techniques and synesthesia in writing, consider a moment etched in your memory for which there is no photograph.  Use sensory details to capture the photograph that doesn’t yet exist – – and breathe snapshot life into a picture of words.  Write an unphotographed moment, from corner to corner, whether Polaroid, black and white, sepia, digital, 35 mm with or without filters……whatever the effect.  Step into the frame.  Take our hands.  Bring us to your moment.

Kim’s Poem

Unphotographed Grief

your furrowed brow

thumb and forefinger cradling your chin

your lips quivering like her hand ~ unstoppable

teary eyes fixed on your shoe

       on anything

             on nothing

you in your chair

          in the room

       where she drew

    her last breath

where her whispers linger




where there are no words

to hide the thudding drumbeat

   of your broken heart

Your turn.

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