Friday, December 12, 2014




Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Yes, it's true - I'm packing my virtual bags and schlepping them over the digital highway to a WordPress site.

Here is the new link:

Why the change? Well, change is good. Assorted people keep saying that. But, more to the point, I decided to simplify things and combine this site with my photography site into one digital magazine. Those of you who like photo prompts will remember that I have a Tumblr blog called One MN Writer in Pictures and that's already been moved over to WordPress. This blog is following.

I hope you follow me! This Friday's post will be the opening of a new door. See you there.

And thank you.

Friday, December 5, 2014

First Five Fragments for Friday

Your weekly offering of writing prompts.

I have to admit to being completely in love with:

1. holiday lights
2. holiday music
3. holiday stories
4. holiday food
5. wrapping paper

I love feeding people and giving them presents, feel happy to see people trying to be nicer because that's what we do at this time of year. The smell of pine boughs or baking cookies or roasting turkey just makes it all that much better. Which means, of course, that the world is full of writing prompts that could trigger happy memories (see 1-5 above).

But, of course, that's not always the case. Holidays are a mixture of good and bad, stress and relaxation, just like the rest of our lives. And not everyone can afford to give gifts or feed someone else.

Maybe this is the nudge to consider what we actually celebrate and why. I grew up in a Catholic tradition, so Christmas is a December essential for me, even though I no longer practice Catholicism. What attracts me to a Christmas celebration now is centered on an appreciation of those about whom I care deeply. What I've retained from my childhood is a love of rituals that bring people together.

And you? What is it that causes you to celebrate in December? Alternatively, what might cause you to ignore the whole scene?

Whatever you do with December, make it matter.

Happy Friday.

Even our dogs have stockings. Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One Minnesota Thanksgiving

This week, I've been thinking a lot about the looming holidays. Hasn't everyone? That is, when we're not watching the latest news report about ISIL or Ferguson or ebola or snow.

Yes, there's quite a lot to think about besides turkey. Still, the abundance of bad news has nudged me to think about Thanksgiving a whole lot more. I know that gratitude is trendy, that the movement to say kind things and change the culture of griping shifts with the season. And, damn, it feels very nice to pore over recipes and decorating ideas, revisit the boxes of holiday ornaments, make plans for getting a Christmas tree in our house this weekend. It feels lovely to sit in front of a truly sappy Hallmark Channel holiday movie while flipping through non-news magazines. And it feels just right to say thank you here to a few creative colleagues who are also friends.

So, thank you, Oonah Joslin, for a multitude of things: hosting my husband and me at your home in April; being my mentor at Every Day Poets; nudging me to submit work to The Linnet's Wings; putting my poetry up on your blog.

Thank you, Dave Morehouse, for corralling me onto your staff at Fine Linen where you've given me room to brainstorm with you on a whole new way to do a literary journal, educating me about Michigan's UP, and not minding that I don't really do crafty things.

Thank you, Constance Brewer and Jeff Jeppesen, for the brewing collaboration on a new poetry journal that is going to be stunning, your pithy emails, and your willingness to come to Minneapolis for AWP next year. And mittens. Constance makes great mittens.

Thank you to my own son, Shawn Hennessey (Dalsen), who, as an artist himself, has the most amazing discussions with me about creative stuff and never fails to inspire me.

It isn't always easy to have a lifestyle built around a creative career and these are a few of the people in my life who know that the best. They aren't, by any means, the only people I'm thankful for, either. But right now, for this moment, I honor these creative friends and colleagues who are part of the circle of artists of all kinds that help make sense of this world, share its beauty, and challenge its insanity.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

One Minnesota Writer will be back on Friday, December 5, 2014.

Friday, November 21, 2014

FIRST FIVE FRAGMENTS FOR FRIDAY - revisiting gratitude, talking turkey

Your weekly offering of writing prompts.

As we close in on Thanksgiving here in the United States, we can choose between planning a meal that we love with people who matter to us or setting our alarms to be awake for Black Friday sales. We can choose to express gratitude or to exhibit the height of consumer urgency. We can savor small bites or stuff ourselves to the gills. 

What do you choose? Quiet practice or noisy gathering? Being okay with what’s in front of you or rushing to acquire more? Maybe a little of both?

My kids and I are going to make fudge the night before Thanksgiving with the same big wooden spoon we use every year. The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be on the television at our house on Thanksgiving morning. I’m going to pour a glass of wine, have dinner with close friends. On Friday, I am sleeping as late as the dogs will let me.

There are some traditions that must be kept, but some get modified as families grow and people must share their time. I’m grateful for my kids who have a sense of balance and fairness, my friends who welcome us, and my community where food is available every single day.

As writers, we have a lot of power to put words out there where other people stay quiet. Maybe one of today’s prompts will urge you to get your activist on.

  1. Five things Americans should be grateful for but usually forget to mention
  2. If turkey weren’t required, I would make ___________ for Thanksgiving
  3. What am I grateful for right this second?
  4. The best place I’ve ever had Thanksgiving dinner was ____________
  5. Who would I like to invite to my table?

Happy Friday. Happy almost-Thanksgiving.

Doesn't a salad sound good? (photo courtesy of

Fun Facts About Turkeys

Male turkeys don’t just gobble. They also purr. 

How do you figure out if a turkey is a boy or girl? One way is to look at its poop. That’s right. Males and females drop poop in gender-specific shapes.

Over 45,000,000 turkeys are cooked and eaten on Thanksgiving Day.

Find more fun facts at these two sites:

Friday, November 14, 2014

First Five Fragments for Friday - Readers Respond Edition

Your weekly offering of writing prompts.

Last week,  I asked for readers to share their favorite prompts, hoping we would get some really specific ones, to share in this week's Fragments. Here they are:

1. Morning tea
2. Memories
3. Write a poem of supplication (from Diane Lockward's Poetry newsletter)
4. Scent

Thank you to Anonymous, Audrey, Constance, and Elephant's Child for participating.

Now, let's look at those prompts. They are broad, they are each general enough that anyone could dig in. What happens if we spawn five more prompts from each one? Then we might get something like this:

Morning Tea

1. My favorite teapot
2. The worst brewed tea I've ever tasted
3. The first time I drank tea, I was here: ___________
4. My mother preferred coffee over tea.
5. If tea doesn't have any caffeine, what's the point?


1. I was a three-year-old in the living room of the house on Polk Street when JFK was shot.
2. It took Dad three hours to drive 34 miles that time we took the Rollinsville Pass as a shortcut through the mountains near Boulder.
3. I can't remember where I got the dog cloth that looks like an oven mitt, but it's the best thing ever for cleaning dog paws.
4. Mom talked to people who were dead when she was in the hospital after her stroke.
5. When we had the big Halloween snowstorm, I tromped through snow past my knees to take my son trick-or-treating.


1. What have I prayed for lately?
2. To whom have I prayed?
3. The rosary I had in childhood has disappeared.
4. Trees bend in supplication from the force of strong wind.
5. No one should be forced to kneel before their partner.


1. Baby powder is the scent of innocence.
2. There is no way to fully mask the smell of marijuana, but that didn't stop the kid from trying by mixing his weed with coffee grounds.
3. My father is Old Spice and cigarettes.
4. During her pregnancy, she could not stand the smell of hamburger as it cooked.
5. Autumn is the scent of drying leaves, freshly carved jack-o-lanterns, pumpkin lattes, and death.

And there you have it - 20 prompts for the price of four responses. Have at it and Happy Friday.

Where I was a year ago - at a San Francisco graffiti art zone

Friday, November 7, 2014

First Five Fragments for Friday - What November Brings

Your weekly offering of writing/art prompts.

November in Minnesota. We begin with the left-over Halloween candy then move to elections, frosty mornings, deer-hunting season, rotting jack-o-lanterns tossed in the garden, and Thanksgiving menus. Holiday decorations appear first in the retail outlets, and then creep closer and closer to our own front doors. We debate whether shopping on Thanksgiving Day itself is a good thing or a horrendous thing, unless we decide we don't care and pour ourselves another glass of wine. Let people do what they will.

November puts me into a certain mood linked directly to the now-naked trees, the clouds that might hold snow, the sound of the furnace as it kicks in. I stand in front of the window longer, watch the birds as they argue over perches on our bird-feeders. The idea of sitting in front of the fireplace with a good book sounds so much better than it did over the summer.

And so does the idea of writing. Which lead directly to this week's prompts.

1. The Internet of Things and the idea of magic. What price do we pay for using these tools that appear to be magical?

2. Is Thanksgiving being completely overlooked as a holiday in its own right?

3. Voting. Rights. Pressure to vote. The right to choose not to vote.

4. Chiweenies. Because every list of prompts needs a light moment.

5. A call for your favorite prompts. Tell me your favorite prompt of all time in a comment below, and I'll post the list next week.

Happy Friday. It's not just Decorative Gourd Season (heads up, NSFW link), it's red wine season in this house.

Fun Fact for the Week

A 70-foot white spruce from northern Minnesota is on its way to Washington D.C. where it will be ensconced as the national Christmas tree. Go, Minnesota!