Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Magpie Tales No. 1

Today is opening day for my creative writing blog, Magpie Tales.
Your initial response was incredible. A warm, woolly thank you to all
who signed up to participate, making today a huge success. I can't
wait to read all of your amazing tales.

If you consider yourself a creative writer, and happened to miss
this first photo prompt, no problem. A new weekly prompt will
be issued each Thursday, with the piece of fiction or poetry due
the following Tuesday. So, please join in whenever you can.

This is my sample piece, posted last week. For those of you who
might have missed it, or are wondering what Magpie is all about,
here it is again. The instructions were to write a short fictional piece
inspired from the photo, below.

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. Anne Lippincott's row house as near tea
time as possible, preferably ten minutes to four, not a minute past.
His three-cornered hat neatly on the peg by the door, he was seated
comfortably by the fire, in time to hear her mantel clock chime four.
Anne's table always brimmed with scones, fresh 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 Martha.
The general never took sugar in his tea, just a spot of milk, always
set out in a small, delicately engraved pewter pitcher, near his cup.
On a gray November day, some 200 years later the estate of
Anne Lippincott's fourth great grand niece, Stella, went up for auction
on the front lawn of her stately farm house in rural Delaware County,
Ohio. The auctioneer called out from the front porch to the small
crowd gathered outside.
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 odd utensils, nearly covering a small
pewter creamer, with a delicate wreath etched on each side.


  1. nice. glad to hear it was a success willow. will check out the prompt...i'll be there soon enough. smiles.

  2. Enchanting tale... And so happy to be prompted by you!!

  3. I shall try to write in response to your prompt when inspiration inspires.
    I'm new to your blog, Willow through Steven of Goldfish fame and pleased to be here, along with so many other writers. Thanks

  4. My poem for the first photo prompt is already up!! I hope it passes muster.

  5. I missed the whole thing! I will check this week. I have had trouble finding time to write as of late!

  6. what a fantastic idea, sugar! read kevin and berowne's entries and thought i'd come to the source! i'm looking forward to reading more from all the participants! xoxo

  7. Hi Willow! Mine's up and WHOA! There's gonna be some heavy reading to-day, heh, heh...

  8. Dont you just love it when that happens, what a beautiful find and story. Kathy

  9. What a great story Willow... fingers snapping, lighter lit. So glad to hear Magpie Tales is heading to such success.

  10. Love your interpretation! I've just now posted mine...

  11. Lovely story, wonderful blog idea. I have submitted my Magpie Tales No. 1 - and have put up your links on my blog too! Thanks for something inspiring to do on a very snowy day in the Berkshires. Cheers!

  12. fabulous, lady of the manor! it is always always so totally inspiring to visit the big house where beauty and creativity run rampant!!!

  13. Hi Willow,

    I'm up, (again!)

    Looking forward to rampaging around the world reading all the other interpretations!

  14. I used to go to auctions in London - aren't they fun. I've never bid for anything I've not scrutinised minutely beforehand though. Well done for taking the gamble.

    As for Max von Sydow - isn't he just one of the best actors in the world. One of my favourite films used to be Bergman's The Seventh Seal

    Good luck with the writing blog - as I'm doing the creative writing course I think I will pass on it - if you don't mind.

  15. It was fun, Willow! So many different takes . . .

  16. What fun. I love Auctions, if they are on the up and up.
    There's a few good stories, The
    big Auction houses do have,
    You know SHILLS???
    caveat emptor

    Love your tales.
    your Fan,

  17. FF, of course not, in fact, you can jump in any time, since there will be a new prompt every week.

  18. thank you for the chance to play, ms willow.

    and thank you also for visiting me and leaving your comment.i am glad the piece prompted a vision :)

    today i hope to explore your blog more and hopefully gain more insight. it has been a pleasure to meet you and also to read your story of historical note.

  19. I am having a marvelous time reading all these wonderful tales. I'm only about a third of the way through the list. So entertaining. Tons of fun!

  20. I didn't submit this time, Willow, but it is a fabulous idea. I'm looking forward to reading everyone's posts, and to what the photo prompt for Thursday will be.

    Thanks for doing this, and your piece was lovely.

  21. A very impressive collection, willow. Congratulations.

    I chose a humorous approach. Was that legal? :-)

  22. so many different takes on this pewter I will have to read more later, out the door now...thanks for launching the Magpie Tales!

  23. Well that was fun! I do like visual prompts the best. Thanks for the impetus to stretch my creative muscles! And important thing to do for fiction and non-fiction writers alike!


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  25. Nice tale! Thanks for the opportunity.

  26. This is interesting. I must have been swooning. I guess I need to see what is up or already posted.

    I had a bad dream last night. It scared me so bad I got up and slept in the recliner. LOL

  27. I'[m excited to read all these and read my first entry on another's site just now. Whoohoo. This will be fun to see the different approaches people take.

  28. What a wonderful way to introduce us all to other writers! I've read a number of the entries and they've been marvelous! Thanks!

  29. This was a brilliant idea, Willow. I enjoyed participating and reading the other participants entrys. Kudos!

  30. I would love to join in if I ever get through some of the writing deadlines looming before me...:(

    This was wonderful, Willow~

  31. Your creativity and ideas for concepts are never at a loss.
    this is quite cool. I am not much a writer but i'm intrigued by the idea of reading everyones stories about the same picture. We all see things diferently, and this would be quite the look-see into that.
    I am inspired by the image in your banner. . .
    Great as always

  32. A marvelous tale. I've posted mine and I'm going to wander by everyone elses as soon as I get some breathing time.


  33. A wonderful story, which I missed first time around. Best of luck with your Magpie Tales--it sounds like a can't miss proposition!

  34. Now there's a reason to buy sight, unseen! Is it really a Washington piece, do you think, or are you just a master at weaving a tale. Hmmm.

    I've posted my response now.


  35. willow, there's an impressive list of folks who are now aware there's such a thing as Berowne and his blog, who knew nothing about such a thing before, and I owe it all to you.

    Your concours d'elegance was a great idea!

  36. Berowne, my pleasure, kind sir.

  37. Kat, I'm glad you're feeling better. Go back and sign Mr. Linkly!

  38. all wonderful...i am going to have to get my juices flowing....

    good to see you at Farmhouse today , my friend

    sending warm hugs


  39. I love the George Washington tie-in, Willow. Superb!

  40. Mine's up -a day late I'm afraid and unfinished - will try better next week !!!
    Take care

  41. I apologise for the tardiness of my reading. I have been at the tourism fair in Tallinn all weekend and everything in my life has gotten temporarily misplaced.

    I loved this piece, loved the way you linked the GW story to a modern day woman who could be you.


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