We are over the hump and that means over half way to completion of our memoir project. Twenty weeks of prompting has given us a good basis for this event. Going back to week 1, our mission has been to celebrate each poet’s life as being an important piece in this poetic mosaic we’ve created, and each story is as equally worth telling.

As we steamroll towards week 20, our objective is becoming clearer. After the last prompt (which will be around the second week of December), you will be asked to choose fifteen (15) of your poems to tell your story. In an attachment to an email to poeticbloomings@yahoo.com, include your titled “memoir”, including Table of Contents.  Starting sometime in January, we will feature a new collection from our poets on Monday of each week (Memoir Monday). They will be chosen in the order they are received in our mailbox. 

The prompts do not close, so if you need to catch up, you may do so if you wish.

Start thinking of a title for your memoir and we look forward to reading each work as they are highlighted.

This has been a great experience. I hope you’re enjoying it as much as Marie and I are!


Don’t forget to check out the BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS for Prompt #76 -Road Trip.


Our memories of this life we live extend way beyond our back yards. The recollections of times spent with family and friends exploring the world around us, can evoke strong connections to who we have become. More interesting poetry ensued, and it is a great dilemma to have: choosing one to represent the entire group of submissions. Here are the Beautiful Blooms:


This prompt evoked memories for all of us  — some joyful, some bittersweet, and some painful. As always, I enjoyed every single submission. After reading and studying each poem, I decided to highlight Jane Shlensky’s “Beach Trip.”   Jane captures splendidly specific detail, sentiment and sensation.   She manages to make me feel as though this is my very own memory.  What more could we ask of a writer?  Bravo, Jane!  My Bloom is for you.

Beach Trip (by Jane Shlensky)

My father loaded the car with food,
fishing gear, bedding, towels,
snacks, beach chairs, suitcases,
strapped us in, Mama plus one of us
up front with him, the rest squeezed
into the back seat, squirming and slapping
at one another until he said,
“You kids settle down”
in that voice we never failed to hear.

Sometimes we even brought a friend
to join our family of seven, forcing
another car to caravan behind us
one of us liberated from the family
car and riding with Uncle Shorty,
who was neither our uncle nor short,
but a fine fishing buddy and tall as a tree.

Mapless, a man with a mission,
my father settled us in with a vat
of Kool-Aid the size of a small child
but refused to stop except for gas
thus instilling in us Adam’s dilemma
with fruit in paradise, delicious
in the moment, but treacherous
in the outcome. Each child learned
to distinguish want and need.
We developed camel bladders, our
tissues firm yet liquid, on vacation.

We were perpetually lost, the roads
that he knew were absolutely right,
twisting through an unknown landscape
circling on themselves—lost with a man
who would not ask for directions, once
following a man into his driveway
because “he looks like he knows
where he’s going.” He did. Home.
I wish we had asked this man
to accompany us to the beach.

There was generally weeping involved
in any trip to the beach, weary,
sticky, sleepless misery wondering
when, o god of vacationing children,
would we be there, walking wet sand
our eyes peeled for perfect shells,
blue water crashing its invitation
to come on, come in, tobacco fields
and cows the last thing on our minds.
The road trip raced from our brains
when we smelled the sea, so ready
were we to ride the waves,
laugh too loud, and burrow
into sand, playing joyous children
until we got home.



An observation made by this poet had put her piece at the top of my list of a few poems to single out for this honor. Indeed, many of us wrote of childhood journeys that have stayed with us. But nothing in the instructions gave the impression that this must be so. A family vacation can conjure up many interpretations, But Sheryl Kay Oder captured the essence of the prompt from a different point of view. Congratulations, Sheryl. Celebrate your bloom!

Unimproved Road by Sheryl Kay Oder

Adventures require less than ideal conditions.
The most direct route to Canyonlands
National Park was an unimproved road.

Rugged red mountains surrounded us.
The road’s rocks were smaller but just
as red. Where was John Wayne?

The borrowed Oldsmobile bounced
as Elizabeth restrained its errant wheels,
willing them to obey. What had she done?

A four by four emerged from the park.
Its driver warned of a difficult ride ahead,
but was returning easier? Elizabeth thought not.

We passed no one as the car crept along
the park road with no protective railing
between us and the Canyon below.

When we stopped for some gas we
saw a sign which said: “God forgives;
mountains don’t. We agreed.


We are grateful to our talented poets for their efforts, and we congratulate Jane and Sheryl for your selections!