Sunday, February 7, 2010

calling all writers and poets

Here's a new idea, I've been kicking around for a few weeks. The
J. Peterman post this week inspired me to give it a shot. I'm starting
a new creative writing blog called Magpie Tales. Each week, I'll
throw out a photo of one of my personal objects. (This first object is
rather tame, but believe me, I've got some quirky ones.) This will be
the prompt for a fictional account or poem telling of its history
and/or how it came to your possession. A Mr. Linky widget will be
available for open participation.

Come on, join this wacky magpie; it will be loads of fun! Check it out
by clicking on the link on my sidebar, or on the link at the end of this

Without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, here is my first Magpie
Tale, just to get your juices flowing...

General Washington's favorite dessert was tipsy pudding. Timing
was everything. When he was home in Philadelphia, he made it a
habit of stopping by Mrs. Lippincott's row house as near tea time as
possible, preferably ten minutes to four, not a minute past, hat
on the peg by the door, and comfortably seated by the fire, in time to
hear her mantel clock chime four.

Her table always brimmed with scones, fruit, and pudding made
with the finest sherry in the region, over sponge cake light as a goose
down feather bed. She was one of his dearest friends, and at times,
he wished he had met her years ago, before he had set his cap for his
sweet Martha.

The general never took sugar in his tea, just a spot of milk, always
set out in a delicately engraved pewter creamer, near his cup.

On a gray November day, some 200 years later the estate of
Mrs. Lippincott's fourth great grand niece, Stella, went up for auction
on the front lawn of her stately farm house in rural Delaware County,

A lot of kitchen goods. Do I hear $10?

I raised my hand, taking a chance on the worn cardboard box with
the green Palmolive logo on the side. Kitchen lots were dicey. But,
it was a thrill to see what prize my ten dollar bill might land; maybe
a quirky McCoy planter or a Bakelite handled spoon.

10 once. 10 twice. Sold to the lady in red for 10 dollars.

I carried the box out and slid it into the back of my old Land Rover.

Once home, I emptied the box onto the kitchen counter, piece by
piece. Two well used metal ice cube trays, several nice Mason jars
with lids, a worn, but pretty yellow calico apron, and jostled in the
bottom, an assortment of utensils, nearly covering a small pewter
creamer, with a delicate wreath etched on each side.



I've had so many ready to participate, I went ahead and set up
Magpie Tales, with the first photo prompt and Mr. Linky
ready for Tuesday, February 16. Hop on over and sign up!


  1. Definitely interested! Any writing exercise is fair game to me, particularly when it's prompted by a clear talent such as yourself.

    Is the photo you post intended as the theme/topic, or are we to take our own photos and write about them?

  2. Jeff, I want to start a separate blog, with one of my own photos provided weekly for the prompt.

    I'm throwing this one out today, to see if there is enough interest for a new blog.

    If you would like to have a go on the pewter pitcher, for a practice run, by all means, go for it! It would be super publicity for Magpie Tales.

  3. Wow that is amazing. I don't have anything that unique. I might make up a story to go with something, with a little truth in it.

  4. QMM, I will be providing the photos for the writing prompt. All you would have to do is write!

  5. Interesting willow! Lked the tale, and will play along as time allows.

  6. Titus, super! I have a feeling there will be no problem finding writers in the bloggyhood!

  7. Me too as time permits, kind of quirky but could be creative fun....I could do this with so many photos of things. Let's try it!

  8. A-n-o-t-h-e-r Willow-licious blog? With made up stories based on photographs?? YOWZER! Sounds too fun to pass up...that's a yes from me! :>]]

  9. what a cool find...and wonderful story to go with it...

  10. Impressed, and what a great story. You have one of Catherine the Great's bespoke chamberpots, smuggled out of the Winter Palace by White Russian emigrees and picked up for a song from a market stall next to the horsemeat shop on Baker Street.

    Definitely an interesting idea!

  11. Sounds fun -- as time and the muse allow, I'm in!

  12. You can really spin a tale. Sounds like it could have happened. Great idea for a new blog, too.

  13. Sounds like lots of fun Willow - I'd probably participate now and then as time allowed.

    I once thought of having a junk/antique shop and calling it Embellishments. Items in the shop would come with a made up story (an embellishment) about it printed up on an attacted tag.

  14. willow - thanks for this opportunity. i'll see where this leads and follow as i can!! mmmmwaaaaah! steven

  15. It's a great idea - I like picture prompts. When time is on my side - I'd participate. And point my writing students to you.

    ps - Love the gorgeous new banner.

  16. O.K. I'm in. Actually I'm inside the pewter pot, way down at the bottom. I'm invisible to humans, except under ultraviolet light.

    But I can see you!

  17. What a lovely story. I wanted to know more!

  18. What a lovely idea. I love the picture prompt idea. Very creative.

  19. I would love to give it a go. I'm really looking forward to reading all the entries! I'm sure they will be interesting! What a great idea Willow!

  20. You weave a nice yarn my dear. I'd love to join in nw and again if you don't mind.
    Dearest Willow though your page is very chic, the brown on brown is beyond what my eyes can handle. It took me forever just to find the comments and then it was guess work seeing the little envelope.

  21. I would, also, like to give it a try when I can, Willow, though I am off to GA again on the 17th for three weeks, hopefully to convince my mother, who just celebrated her 86th birthday Jan 30th, that she cannot continue to live alone as she is legally blind! Sad task ahead of me.

  22. Sorry about that Arija.

    Are others having a problem reading my blog, as well?

  23. As time allows, I would enjoy participating.

    Are you thinking of any particular day of the week? -- because that might affect me a little.

    Also, I'm assuming we would see your photo, be given a day or two to post a story about it on our own blogs, then link back?

    Let us know as you develop your ideas! Sounds like a great opportunity to stretch the imagination and lick the tip of the pen to get it flowing. ♥

  24. Sounds like fun Willow. I am game for the game

  25. I would love to participate as time allows. Fun idea.

    Will you post here when your new blog and Mr. Linkey are up?

  26. Boomer and Ronda, the blog is all set up and ready to go.

  27. Love Magpie Tales already. I'm in.

  28. Willow

    I'd also like to contribute, time and space permitting. Sounds good!

  29. So many unearthed treasures to be found in auctions and jumble sales, wot? Just signed up, Willow ;)

    And like the tale told here :)

  30. Love the idea and am certainly game for this - maybe one for my dd (aged 10) to play along with as well ( not officially as your readers may not be happy with that , but just with me)

  31. sounds like fun...
    hope to join in.

  32. My five-year-old daughter was surprised that such an item could have a computer in it.

    "No, dear, no. That's 'pewter,' not "computer."

  33. Great it when you think for me!!
    So I gather that I'll be writing about a pewter mug, whatever..good enough for I go!!

  34. Great story, Willow! I already wrote mine... but being somewhat antique challenged, I mistakenly wrote it as a silver creamer. Do you think Magpie will be offended!

  35. Cat, not at all! It's fun! It's fiction! :D

  36. This is a great idea. I'm always looking for fun writing exercises. I'm definitely in.

  37. Thanks, Willow. Enjoyed your first Tale and look forward to more.

  38. Love the pitcher...what a lucky find. The box lot at an auction always reminds me of the grab bags they used to sell at a local store, when I was young. You paid a few dollars and bought a brown paper bag filled with a treasure of surprises.

  39. LadyCat, the pitcher was a lucky find, at the Heart of Ohio Antique Mall, that is. (The story is a fictitious Magpie Tale!)

  40. This is a great idea! I love the story and now want to know more about the life of Stella Lippincott. I'll try to post something of my many quirky objects. I have intermittently run an "interactive ____day" series where followers are invited to write about a posted story. This link has a round up of past examples.

  41. Ohhhh I just have to make some Swedish footsteps behind me.

    Your blog is fantastic, me like like!

    Agneta, a swedish one o;)

  42. So interesting! I love the story and the idea behind it. Sign me up, too!

  43. How fun! I'm looking forward to reading all the tales! :)

  44. Best luck with your new blog!

    I will have to skip. My course load once March comes around will be too heavy to allow for much else. I may have to stop my blog eventually.

  45. P.S.:
    I have the same problem as Arija.

  46. Merisi, I changed the background color to gray today. Is that better?

  47. Good luck with it, Willow! Love the pewter pitcher--great find!

  48. Willow,
    With your tale of treasures, you are off to a great start. This will be fun and creative! I'm game.
    Hugs, The Bach

  49. Willow,
    With your tale of treasures, you are off to a great start. This will be fun and creative! I'm game.
    Hugs, The Bach

  50. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  51. Good morning, Willow,

    I hope Monday is greeting with as much sunshine as we are enjoying here this morning!
    The new lighter background color is definitely easier on the eyes, thank you!

    May the new week bring you all you are wishing for,

  52. Can't wait to dip my toes into the talent pool ........

  53. I like your idea, Willow. I'll pop in and when I have extra time I'll join in too. Sounds like fun.


  54. Oh now I know what the magpie thing is about! I will have to look into it. I'm afraid I'm not so good with fiction but maybe i can do something very short? We'll see. I tell you what--you draw for my CT and I'll do this? Deal? :)

    OK, going there now.

  55. I'm throwing this one out today, to see if there is enough interest for a new blog.

    Work from home India

  56. Hello Willow, I made my way here via Kevin/Commonplaces. This sounds a great idea! I may just have a go.


Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)