Writing Maps

“Leave the door open for the unknown, the door into the dark.
That’s where the most important things come from,
where you yourself came from, and where you will go.”
― Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost

Here is the start of another journey. We are going to experiment and include some writing prompts in our letters, and see where it will take us.

The only rule is that there are no rules. We think of this as an exercise in mindfulness and memory—and perhaps a mapping of our lives.


30 Questions

  1. What’s one thing that’s happened to you that has made you a stronger person? | How to Bend, Not Break (M) | How the light gets in (T)
  2. What’s one thing that’s happened to you in your life that made you feel weak? | Again, Isolated (M) | I had thought myself frail (T)
  3. Where is one place you feel most like yourself? | How daily my life. (T)
  4. Who do you think has had the largest influence on the person you are today?
  5. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?
  6. What decade do you feel you most belong in?
  7. Who are you closest to in your family? Why?
  8. Who is the one person in this world that knows you best?
  9. When you were younger what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
  10. If you could identify with one fictional character (from a book, show, or movie) who would it be?
  11. Is your favorite attribute about yourself physical or non-physical?
  12. Do you believe in soul mates?
  13. What makes you fall in love with someone?
  14. What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?
  15. What’s one thing you’d love to learn more about?
  16. What is something you’ve never done that you’ve always wanted to do?
  17. Why haven’t you done it yet?
  18. If money didn’t matter, what would your dream job be?
  19. What was the last thing that made you cry?
  20. What was the last thing that made you laugh?
  21. What is your favorite memory?
  22. What’s the last thing that REALLY embarrassed you?
  23. What is your biggest fear?
  24. Do you have any regrets? What’s your biggest one?
  25. Have you ever broken a law? If you haven’t what is one law you’d love to break?
  26. What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
  27. Would you have a conversation with a stranger?
  28. If you could go back to any age or time of your life, what age or time would it be?
  29. What’s something you believe in that not everyone else does?
  30. What is one thing you feel your life is missing?

JUNE 2016

Sometimes the best prompt can be: to revisit our own words and conversations.

  1. “I think traveling with someone is an exercise in loving and forgiving.” – T. | Whatever Happens (M)
  2. “I was more interested, too, in memorising them.” – T. | Every Poem’s Half-Erased (M)


We have come up with fifteen ideas each, and they will be listed alternately—T. takes the odd days, M. takes the even days. Both of us will write about all of these.

  1. Places.The World That Lies Beyond (M) | All These Places Have Their Moments (T)
  2. A story in flowers. | To Stay Open (M) | “since the thing perhaps is to eat flowers and not to be afraid” (T)
  3. A prayer that is not a prayer. | May All Beings Everywhere Be Free (M) | I Think Clapping is How Hands Mourn (T)
  4. Describe the seasons in scents. | Our Feet Are Full of Ice (M) | Must You Smell Everything (T)
  5. Answer five questions taken from the Paris Review interviews. | Constant Process of Coming Into Being (M) | I Write, and Then I Take Words Away (T)
  6. What is memory? | Challenging (M) | An Old Shoebox (T)
  7. Write about a song or piece of music. | Sung Well and With Feeling (M) | Something Old, Something New (T)
  8. “To truly go back where we came from, I would have to be dismembered and divided among many lands, and my heart, I was sure, should be buried in the California hills.” (from A Book of Migrations by Rebecca Solnit) Where should your heart be buried? | Pure and Utter Peace (M) | A Live Nerve, An Open Wound (T)
  9. A skill you don’t know. | Future Skills (M) | To Swim, to Save My Life (T)
  10. More of [this] in my daily life. Less of [this]. | Winter Makes Spirit Visible (M) | I Need to Get Out of My Own Way (T)
  11. A love letter. | Love Letter to Doubt, and You (M) | You Took A Chance (T)
  12. A dusty book. | The Unread Book – Not Much Is Not Read (M) | Through Ravines (T)
  13. Describe a color from childhood. | Someplace Between the Real and the Real (M) | Is Cheese, Is Mango, Is a Remnant of Who I Was (T)
  14. Exploration is… | Embrace Change (M) | Chance Encounters (T)
  15. Use five words in a foreign language. | No Memory (M) | Going Through the Motions (T)
  16. When did you have to be most brave? | Linear and Non-Linear Truths (M) | I Think I Am Trying (T)
  17. Perhaps. | Perhaps Grace (M) | Perhaps No News Means Bad News (T)
  18. In my life, flight is _________ and roots are ___________. | Flights and Roots and Reading (M) | Here’s to Staying (T)
  19. Smell a painting and see a scent. | I Just Couldn’t Stop (M) | A Product of My Wild Imagination, If Anything (T)
  20. Language — favourite words, perpetual misspellings, the mix-ups. | It’s Okay to Want a Style (M) | Every Time I Save I Exclude (T)
  21. What didn’t work? | & Sit Down & Write This (M) | Pluses and Minuses (T)
  22. Ways other people could make my life easier; ways I could make other people’s lives easier; ways I could make my own life easier. | This Is What We Are Trying To Do (M) | Mostly? Silence. (T)
  23. A conversation. | Conversations in the Kitchen (M) | Real and Not Real (T)
  24. An excuse you won’t accept anymore. | Lost in Late Afternoon (M) | The Perils of Can’t (T)
  25. A poem that saved your life. | Loves (The Story of Our Lives) (M) | It Won’t Always Be Like This (T)
  26. The window. | That Window (M) | where the blossoming stream takes off (T)
  27. Dali’s melting clocks. | My Poet (M) | A Large Context, Long Yielding (T)
  28. The desert island story: What would happen if I was left alone to myself.A Better Way to Be Alone (M) | A heart is to be spent. (T)
  29. What I Believe In: A Manifesto | What I Believe In (M) | Stick Together (T)
  30. Makeshift dreams. | Build On All That Is Good With a Strong Heart (M) | Here (T)

You are welcome to use this for your own writing, or follow us in our adventure.

“There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page;
there you begin.” ― Annie Dillard, The Writing Life

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