free the pen, a blog for writers

May 28, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 1:19 pm

Me and Dad 1987 This is the weekend to honor heroes, those who have served the country, our families, our lives. My Dad is my hero. He not only served the country during WW II in the Army, but he was there when he was needed in the family as well. I think of all the little things he did: drove me to teen age parties across Brooklyn in snowstorms after working a hard day, buying me my favorite cherry pie on Sunday getting up early to buy bread and pastries while we slept, washing and waxing my car, and some big ones too: studying to become a Mason so he could sit in the member-only meetings while I was Queen of the Triangle girls pushing himself to the limits of his education. I am in awe of his sacrifices. He never complained. He only offered his services.

Keep the pen moving,

Jan and

April 7, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 1:23 pm

giraffes  The love and care animals give to their young should be a lesson for people. What is your favorite animal and how do they care for their young? How were you cared for? Would you have changed anything if you could? What memories stand out the most?

Keep the pen moving,


April 1, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 2:09 pm

two brothers play in rain outdoors Thunderstorms are memorable for many reasons. Sometimes it’s the loud cracking sounds in the sky. Sometimes it’s the bolt of lightning that hits too close to home. Sometimes we get to use our new boots or new umbrellas. What memories do you have?

Keep the pen moving,


March 17, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 1:05 pm

Take these three words: stilettos, scarf, broken heart. Write a 500 word story including these three words.Be wild.

Keep the pen moving,


March 7, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 7:03 pm

eveglasses Sometimes we forget the imagination and creativity, not only of our own, but of our mother’s. Look at this photo. This is my sweet nephew and his wife’s second child. Her name is Evelyn, and she has a very creative mother. This photo wreaks of it. Write about your mother’s creativity, or lack of. And, as always,

Keep the pen moving,




March 6, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 1:52 pm

bigstock-fragment-of-wheel-reviews-4705326 How many times have you gone on carnival rides, fair rides, boardwalk rides, or other places where they have such activities? What is your  favorite ride and describe in as much detail as you can what it felt like to be on that ride. Write about the day, other things you did at the event, what you ate, who you were with, what you might have won at certain booths.

Keep the pen moving,


March 1, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 2:02 pm

bigstock-bicycle-with-basket-lille-15360068 What childhood doesn’t have bicycle stories? What’s yours? Where did you like to ride? Do you remember the first time you rode without help and left your parent standing on the sidewalk praying for your safety? Did you like to ride alone or with friends? Start writing and see where your memory, emotions, and creativity take you.

Keep the pen moving,


February 28, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 2:24 pm

hands  Today’s topic is hands. Use your imagination. Are they your hands? A parent’s hands? A lover’s. Write about how these hands feel, what they are doing, what you think they are about to do. Write fast and wild, let your imagination have its way.

Photo is compliments of Jeanne Simonoff, a friend, a colleague writer, and a former Santa Fe neighbor. In case you haven’t heard of Jeanne, let me introduce you. Jeanne wrote
Saving Myself, sving myslf a Los Angeles Childhood. This is a fabulous memoir, in case you are looking for a good read.

Keep the pen moving,


February 27, 2017


Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 3:34 pm

As far as writing prompts go, food is a wonderful, full-bodied prompt with its many aspects such as smells, textures, tastes, colors, and visualizations, i.e., the way food can be designed on a plate to make a beautiful presentation.

And what better way to bring up family memories than write about a relative’s favorite dish or holiday meal. So, if you can’t think of anything to write about, think of your favorite home-cooked meal. I bet you won’t have any problem with that. If you do, then you can always write about its opposite: the meal I wished I had or the meal I never got to taste.

Keep the pen moving,


Jun photo compliments of Jeanne Simonoff, Santa Fe, NM


February 25, 2017

Prompts to Get You Started

Filed under: Uncategorized — freethepen @ 4:11 pm

anduze2004    For decades now, whenever I meet someone who knows what an avid writer I am, he/she will ask me how to get started on writing stories about his/her life. I always ask what memory provokes the most emotion. When I suggest that his/her writing start there, I watch as his/her head shakes, resisting any direction to enter that place of pure honesty. I hear instead, why can’t he/she start with something that doesn’t bring up emotion. I say he/she is free to start wherever he/she wants, but just start! I make it clear that to start writing where there is heightened emotion is to start with what holds energetic memory inside the body. The body is great at holding experiences in its memory, it will reveal where lessons were abundant, or where the juice of the experience resides. Writing is a tool for healing, resolving, amending, exploring, and dropping into the true self.

If you are still mind-boggled about where to start, try “firsts” because they usually hold enough emotional and life-changing power in them to get you kick-started. So here are some prompts to take your pen to paper:

  1. your first kiss,
  2. your first date,
  3. the first time you had sex,
  4. your first job interview,
  5. your first baby,
  6. your first trauma,
  7. your first, and
  8. your first heartache.

These are some good places to begin. I do suggest that you not type your written work. Studies indicate that writing activates a different part of the brain that allows healing when you use a pen versus typing on the computer.

Keep the pen moving,


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