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10/29 Weekly creativity contest winner & new prompt

The dreamy entries for this week’s creativity contest were irresistible. I found myself utterly paralyzed and unable to select a winner — and this post might have been eternally delayed if I hadn’t had a visit this morning from a dear friend and colleague who came by to drop off a new project. You can credit her for the new prompt, as well as for tipping the scales toward our defending champion (aka last week’s winner), Jen Johnson. Jen writes: “Fun prompt! Got me thinking about how my mom always swore one shouldn’t talk about dreams before breakfast, and it took off from there.” Beautiful work, Jen — your repeat $10 gift certificate is on its way. For my part, clearly it’s time to line up more of my guest judges. This is hard work!

Love Charm
You are the endless dream
told before breakfast,
shared with deliberate intent
of it all coming true.

You are petals from daisies
plucked one at a time,
an apple skin peeled all at once
and tossed over the shoulder.

You are pennies saved
and flipped into a fountain,
an eyelash wish
blown from my fingertip —

it floats there, between us,
between dream and waking,
caught on the current of breath
before it falls.


From Karen Winters:
There are day dreams, night dreams, “dreams” that are heartfelt wishes and many other kinds to explore. And even our pets, it seems, have dreams. If you’ve had a dog as a member of your family no doubt you’ve seen them making running motions or even small vocalizations as their eyes dart back and forth beneath closed eyelids.

So, my entry this week is a page from my Moleskine sketchbook, entitled “Dog Dreams” — which features an imaginary interpretation of what my American bulldog (girl), “Ripley” sees when she slumbers.

Dreaming can be a powerful tool in our creative life, which I learned when I interviewed Patricia Garfield (author of Creative Dreaming) for shows on Dreams and Nightmares on ABC’s 20/20 newsmagazine.

It was Garfield’s influence that prompted me to start keeping dream journals, a practice that I’ve carried out for decades, with varying degrees of devotion. These days, my dreams are my nighttime studio in which I work out solutions. I let my unconscious do the work while my body rests. It’s not uncommon for me to wake up with a picture in my mind that I have “seen” in a dream. So if someone asks me how much time a day I spend on art, I can actually say “practically 24/7.” However, unlike Ripley I do not dream of bones, gophers and kibbles. At least not yet.

This sketch was painted with a Japanese ink brush pen, which gives a wonderful thick and thin line that is as responsive as a paint brush.


From Cathy Coley:

You slept between us,
little warm breath before dawn,
a tiny cry, so unusual from my happy baby.
Heart breaking, I considered waking you.
Another whimper and cry, a few more,
I imagined what may be going on
in your mind, so complex already.
Were you frightened, pulled suddenly from my arms?
Did you miss the dog, your dearest companion?
Was something happening to your big brothers
you felt helpless to do anything about?
Something about daddy?
He patted your belly and shush’d.
Waking you to comfort kept crossing my drowsy heart.
I thought, you’ll learn to deal with worse than this:
a night cry you’ll soon forget, if you knew at all.
Maybe you will be wiser than I,
resolve the problems of your dreams before waking.
You quieted and settled.
Furrowed brow smoothed back to round innocence
as the sun slowly rose, bluing the window from black,
Better without my intrusion to your sleep.


From Kelly Warren:
I’ve been thinking about this week’s creativity challenge ever since it was posted. I’ve thought about my dreams, the slumber-wrapped type, usually full length films in my case; I’ve thought about writing a bit of poetry or verse talking about what dreams I’ve dreamt or have yet to dream; I’ve thought about old loves that still haunt my dreams and wonder how and where they are; and I’ve thought about dreams I had in my younger days and paused to consider if they’ve come to be. But in sitting here tonight, working on jewelry for my show this weekend, listening to the girls’ laughter as DH gives them their evening bath, it hit me: I’m living my dream. Sure, I’m strapped for time….always have been, always will be. If it’s not the current things I have going on, I’d undoubtedly come up with something else. My plate is simply designed to be overflowing; I’m starting to accept that now. But really, what have I to complain about? I live in a beautiful home on the water, I have a very patient and supportive husband who puts up with all my hair-brained schemes, and I have two beautiful little red-headed daughters who light up my world every day. And while I may complain about the daily grind from time to time, I have a good job and a rewarding career that most of the time I enjoy, while others are losing their jobs left and right in these times of stock market crashes and dwindling state funds. I’ve certainly been through my share of sadness, maybe even more than the average, but who hasn’t had a touch of tragedy in their lives? Maybe I’ve been blessed with a happy spirit, I don’t know, but I’ve always been able to find a tiny bit of sunlight in every storm cloud. So I choose to believe that, yes, I am living my dream. It’s all in how you look at it, don’t you think?


From me (Miranda):

For the past 15 years or so, I’ve had a recurring dream. I call it the House Dream. The theme is always the same: I am visiting a new house that I’ve just bought or am about to buy. In each dream, the house is completely different and utterly concrete to its last detail. As I tour the house, I discover that there is a huge section of the house that I didn’t know about — a bonus wing, or a massive underground living space, or that an upstairs bedroom opens out onto a shopping mall — and that the previous owners have left behind things of value that are ours for the taking: useful clothes, jewelry, books, or furniture.

In the process of exploring the house, I can’t believe my good fortune. I’m in awe of this incredible place that I’m going to be living in. It’s really too good to be true, I tell myself — I must be dreaming again. But no, this time it’s real. The dream is so vivid that I always fall for it: the design of the faucet in the kitchen sink, the pattern of the carpet in the dining room (there was that one where the dining room was the size of a modest restaurant and the pope was coming for dinner; staff were preparing for the visit and setting all the tables with cream-colored linens, pale gold utensils, and large ornate plate chargers — meanwhile the carpeting was dark green and printed with a floral pattern; perhaps not worthy of His Holiness); the pattern of a lace curtain in a bathroom window, the wood grain of a child’s bunk bed built into the wall. And then, always before actually moving in, I wake up. It takes me a moment to realize that yet again, the House Dream was just a dream, and I am back in my own boring bedroom.

Naturally, I’ve thought a lot about what the House Dream means. At one point I decided it was a metaphor for my own creativity — that I have everything I need right now in order to create; I just need to find it (that “bonus wing”). I’m not sure if that’s right. In the meantime, I look forward to my next nocturnal house tour — although I don’t look forward to the crash of re-entry, and the sucker punch of knowing that I fell for my own fantasy yet again.


This week’s prompt: “Hands”

Use the prompt however you like — literally, or a tangential theme. All media are welcome. Please e-mail your entries to by 10:00 p.m. eastern time (GMT -5) on Tuesday, November 4. The winning entry receives a $10 gift certificate to Writers should include their submission directly in the body text of their e-mail. Visual artists and photographers should attach an image of their work as a jpeg. Enter as often as you like; multiple submissions for a single prompt are welcome. There is no limit to how many times you can win the weekly contest, either. (You do not have to be a contributor to this blog in order to enter. All are invited to participate.) All submissions are acknowledged when received; if you do not receive e-mail confirmation of receipt within 24 hours, please post a comment here. Remember, the point here is to stimulate your output, not to create a masterpiece. Keep the bar low and see what happens. Dusting off work you created previously is OK too. For more info, read the original contest blog post.

13 Comments Post a comment
  1. A reminder: next Tuesday is election day here in the US, so don’t leave your prompt creation for the last minute. (And while I am careful to avoid mentioning politics on this blog, whatever your political leanings, don’t forget to vote!)

    October 29, 2008
  2. Miranda,

    I’ve had your house dream too! Only the house I dreamed of was a fixer-upper. Apparently, a reoccuring theme in my life…

    October 29, 2008
  3. Jen #

    Brittany and Miranda, I’ve also had the house dream! The element of hidden, unexpected space, the incredible vivid detail…. I’ve been having these dreams for at least 10 years. Fascinating! Makes me want to go read more about the collective unconscious….

    I’m again incredibly honored to have won amongst such good entries! Love the dog dream sketch, Karen. Cathy, your poem really touched me — “little warm breath before dawn” …. so sweet, and as a cosleeping mom it really rings true. Kelly, it is so lovely to hear that you are “living your dream.”

    Thank you everybody! And I promise not to let “defending champion” go to my head! LOL! Though I do already have an idea about ‘hands’…

    October 29, 2008
  4. Cathy #

    i used to have a long running recurring house dream, too – discovering new rooms, etc. i don’t think i’ve had it for quite sometime now, years. i thought i’d google dream interpretation, house and i came up with this most appropriate to above:

    Dream dictionary House: Dream Interpretation Dictionary –

    Finding a New Room in Your House

    Opening a door in your ordinary home to discover a whole new room is an uplifting variant of Discovering New Spaces. Some dreamers find incredible treasures they didn’t realize existed in the attic of their dream houses.

    Source: Patricia Garfield, Ph.D., President of ASD

    nod to karen, too.

    mostly there is agreement that house represents self, upstairs is consciousness, basement, deep subconsciousness.

    love all entries, btw, but can see plenty of editing to do in my own…jen, your poem is beautiful.

    October 29, 2008
  5. Cathy #

    and kudos to kelly! i think i’m there, too, with, as always, room for improvement.

    October 29, 2008
  6. Fascinating! So many of us have the same dream — and I thought I was an original, LOL!

    Just learned we have a showing today…maybe my house dream will finally come true 🙂

    October 29, 2008
  7. beautiful entries! congrats on your poem, jen; it really is lovely. cathy’s poem made me miss those baby years.

    i haven’t had that house dream. very interesting that most of you have. but i can definitely relate to the dog’s dreaming! that’s always cracked me up. my isabelle does it now. wonder why cats don’t do that?

    good luck on the house showing, miranda!

    October 29, 2008
  8. Cathy #

    good luck on the house interest, miranda!

    and kelly, kitties do, too. one cat of mine, now beyond the pale, knocked himself off window sills on many occasions with sudden movements from his dreams. and my babette is a tail and whisker twitcher when she sleeps.

    October 29, 2008
  9. just emailed you a “hands” entry from my work address, miranda!

    November 3, 2008
  10. Got it, Kelly — thank you!

    November 3, 2008
  11. Jen #

    My kitties are dreamers, too — funny, huh?

    Sent in my “hands” entry this afternoon. Thanks!

    November 4, 2008
  12. Got it, Jen–thank you!

    November 4, 2008
  13. Cathy #

    so miranda, judging entries while watching the numbers come in?

    November 4, 2008

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