SOLC Day 4: SOL and PF Roundup

March 2021 SOLC–Day 4
A huge thank you to Two Writing Teachers for all that they do to create an amazing community of writers and a safe, welcoming space to write, learn, share and grow.

This post serves double duty for SOL and the Poetry Friday Roundup.

On the way to school on Wednesday, I let my mind wander aimlessly from one idea to another. Usually, I listen to the radio or to an audiobook. (I just finished “Once Upon a River” by Diane Setterfield and highly recommend it!) In recent weeks, I’ve more often opted to turn off the stories and allow my mind to free range. This is very unusual for me, but I don’t really have the capacity to take in any more information these days. I find that allowing my brain to skip around as it wants is a helpful way to clear some of the debris out of the way before the day begins.

Today, my mind was happily skipping along until…OMG! I suddenly remembered that my critique group challenge post was due this week. And I hadn’t even started. I hadn’t even thought about it. Oops. (Hmmmm….I’ve said that a lot lately.)

So, when I got home from work, I looked up the challenge. It was from Margaret Simon and based on an Amanda Gorman poetry prompt that she called “Book Scavenger Hunt.” The prompt directs you to choose a book, choose three random page numbers, turn to each of those pages and choose one word that appeals to you. Then, with those three words, create a poem.

I opted to use the book “This Book is Anti-Racist,” in part because, despite my best intentions, I still haven’t read it. (To be honest, it was also in part because the book was easily accessible at the moment I thought about working on this.) For no reason in particular, I chose pages 15, 45, and 60. At any rate, I opened to each page and considered my options. By chance, two of the page numbers I chose, were title pages, with very few words. I’m not sure if that was good or bad, but it certainly expedited the process. On the other page, I tried to let my eyes skim the page and choose a word quickly. While I don’t think this is necessary, I liked the idea of the words being somewhat random. Interestingly, my words felt like a set. I ended up with identity, sense, and history. Here’s my very quickly written, drafty poem:

When I write

When I write,
most often, 
I’m not writing stories.
Instead, I’m trying
to make sense
of my own story–
sifting through my history,
creating my identity,
building myself, 

©Molly Hogan

This is such an accessible prompt and I’m sorry that I had a very limited amount of time and brain power to work with it. I’m looking forward to revisiting it some other time. You can visit the following sites to check out what the others in my group did with it:
Heidi Mordhorst
Catherine Flynn
Linda Mitchell
Margaret Simon

This week the Poetry Friday Roundup is hosted by my warm and wonderful Aussie friend, Kat Apel. She’s celebrating the release of her newest picture book, “The Bird in the Herd.” Head on over to her blog for a sneak peek at this newly released treat!

37 thoughts on “SOLC Day 4: SOL and PF Roundup

  1. Rebecca Atwood says:

    I love this idea for writing poetry! I’m definitely going to save it to use as a Slice later.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tim Gels says:

    “(Hmmmm….I’ve said that a lot lately.)” Yes, me too.

    This sounds like a fun poem prompt, and I’m going to have to give it a try. Drafty as it may be (so you say), I like the reflective nature of your poem. Making sense of my story is a big part of writing for me as well, and I’m sometimes surprised at what I find. It’s almost Friday, and I hope you’re able to give your brain a rest over the weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. katswhiskers says:

    Is this a lamipofri, Molly? Or perhaps its a very close relation, the lamipo – since it may not have been done on Friday? Either way, it is a poetic capture of words and thought, and I could totally relate! Continue to give your head time and space and quiet, to free range. Thanks for linking in – and sharing about my new book. There is indeed a treat in this book… or so the egret thinks! (Which makes me realise that I didn’t, but should have, included a blurb with that post. Might better edit it!)

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I like this truth about writing, springing from where your three words took you with Margaret’s prompt from Amanda Gorman. It has the feeling of serendipity.

    I usually don’t enjoy listening to anything but my thoughts when I’m driving, or riding in a car & I admire you for trying that because most of my friends can’t stand the idea of silence, feeling they are wasting precious time.

    Wonderful Weekend to you!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. kd0602 says:

    Another great idea to steal! I think my students will enjoy a book scavenger hunt to jumpstart their writing. It’s on my list…


    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sally Murphy says:

    I love this prompt and your response, Molly. I like the way the prompt took you into your writing process, and your purpose for writing. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mbhmaine says:

      Thanks, Sally! It’s a very accessible prompt. I initially went in a totally different direction and it didn’t work out at all. I was tempted to go back and pick three new words (legit option in my opinion!) but I managed to pull something together at the last minute.


  7. bmagee10 says:

    I love this prompt and the poem you produced with it, however ‘drafty’ it is, Molly! And I love your words, “allow my mind to free range”. The world needs more of this! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Fran Haley says:

    That is exactly why I write, Molly – to make sense of my own story, sifting my history…at this stage in life, savoring and storing the precious now. As always, your poetic words hit home, straight through the heart.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] Heidi MordhorstCatherine FlynnLinda MitchellMolly Hogan […]


  10. Linda Mitchell says:

    The thought of time to let my mind skip around without input from a book or a TV show or radio or reading e-mails….that sounds lovely. I’d love to tromp through a swamp for a while doing that. You took my breath away with “to make sense of my own story.” That’s it right there. All that rushing around to find the words to fit the prompt and the truth is right there making your poem shiny like gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m coming to a theory that most poets are NOT storytellers in the same way that fiction writers are. (I will have to consider verse novelists separately, I think!) I think that poetry is suited in particular to the people who are powerful observers with an intense experience of being themselves, who then want to make sense of their observations and experiences–their own stories. You–I–we–can’t help ourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Molly, so much of life is built one word at a time, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing this, and I suspect by the time you’re searching for the third word, your brain is already making connections and so what pops out from the page is exactly the right word… also I wonder if it isn’t so much “building” as “excavating” or “discovering” what’s already there? Something to think about! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  13. MhShee1104 says:

    I love this poem, especially the line “sifting through my own history”. This really helps shift perspective about my won writing. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. […] Heidi Mordhorst @ My Juicy Little UniverseLinda Mitchell @ A Word EdgewiseMargaret Simon @ Reflections on the TecheMolly Hogan @ Nix the Comfort Zone […]


  15. maryleehahn says:

    I’m definitely going to try this prompt! Thank you for it, Swaggers!

    And the idea of building yourself through writing…yes.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Kay Mcgriff says:

    What a cool prompt. I’d like to try it sometime. And I can relate — I also write to try to make sense of my own story and my place in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. rosecappelli says:

    I used this prompt for my poem today, too, after luckily reading Margaret’s post. It is a very accessible and fun prompt. Love your poem about writing to make sense of yourself one word at a time. Lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. I love your poem, Molly. Making “sense/of my own story” is exactly right. And yes, we were on the same wavelength this week, and yes, not so surprising.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I’d love to allow more time to free range… those three words seemed to be waiting for you to build your poem from, thanks for inviting us in!


  20. This is lovely, Molly–doesn’t feel last minutey at all to me. Feels so heart-felt and true.


  21. Karen Edmisten says:

    Gorman’s prompt is such a simple but effective one. I love the way your words were connected — already a set, as you said. And ah, silence and a free-ranging mind … yes.


  22. Aren’t we all! “I’m not writing stories.
    Instead, I’m trying
    to make sense
    of my own story–“


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