Creativity 1-2-3

Prompting Unicorns in the Wild

By Chris Dunmire | May 11, 2022

"It's always the simple that produces the marvelous." —Amelia Barr, British Novelist and Teacher

UnicornWriting prompts have an interesting way of loosening the subconscious, don't they?

A timed writing exercise, for example, invites free-writing that motivates a willingness to spill forth words on the page. Words, like other forms of creative expression, are an embodiment of your living experiences and reflect facets of your being.

Prompts aren't just for writing — they are powerful activators and connectors and can show up in unexpected ways. A few weeks ago, I passed a couple of semis on the way home and noticed the complementary advertising wrapped around the sides: One truck displayed potato chips, the other chocolate. The timing was impeccable to my passing vehicle and the visuals-in-cahoots spawned a new awareness for prompts 'in the wild.' Semi-prompts.

Famous British novelist and teacher Amelia Barr authored 80 works of fiction during her lifetime. Born in 1831, Barr used material from her childhood to weave stories and scenes. Think about how different her world was from ours today. No screens. Some books. And the blank canvas she put her pen to. Her memories prompted imaginative writings and served as valuable source material for her stories.

Does a cat sitting with paws tucked under remind you of a loaf of bread? Kittyloaf. Random questions and unexpected spiders make good prompts, too.

Last week, an oversized, smiling unicorn pool float displayed near the supermarket checkout hit me with just enough absurdity at the end of a harrowing day that I had to laugh. My 84-year-old father was just airlifted to a big city hospital with a cardiac unit after a heart attack knocked out his sinoatrial node, and we were in the middle of a 5-day hospital stay with multiple surgeries.

"Please take a picture of this giant unicorn," I held it up to my older brother as I caught my breath between a laugh and cry. The playful toy reminded me of an inflatable ring I wore over a yellow bikini as a child at the beach that gave me confidence to duck swim across the deep end of the lake. I needed to capture that moment of lightness and bring it home with me. The prompt connected me to an inner strength that led me through a rough few days.

Prompts come in all shapes and sizes and have the power to shift and open. Pay attention to those you meet in the wild this week, and see if any magic unicorns find their way into your creations.


New Series Author

Lynda Monk, International Association for Journal Writing (IAJW)

Lynda Monk, MSW, RSW, CPCC is the Director of IAJW.org and author of several books on writing and journaling. Lynda regularly teaches, writes, and speaks on the healing and transformational power of journaling and expressive writing. Enjoy her first piece: Journaling Self-Expression & Inner Truths. Welcome Lynda!

Brain Gains

Poolin' Around Puzzles (Printable)

Q: What happens when an oversized inflatable unicorn enters the wordpool? A: An extra challenging scramble of letters. Hint: The answers span two puzzles for you to print and play.

Photo Prompts

365 Pictures: Daily Photo Prompts

A collaborative art and writing project created by artists and writers worldwide.

Esmerelda Jones

Using the Subconscious to Paint Fiction

Close off the world and develop an intimate acquaintance with a character you have created and thus set free from the vapours of imagination.

Meredith Heller

Prompts: Nature Treasure

Finding inspiration through found treasures in nature.

John Eger

The Role of Public Art in the Creative Community

Public art can act as a catalyst for community generation or regeneration.

©2022 Chris Dunmire. All rights reserved.