Every Friday, the Fire & Stones staff gathers in the art studio to engage in creative art/writing exercises, some individual and some collaborative. A few of these creative exercises appear below:

Option 1: Write your life story in a 23-word sentence

Option 2: Write your life story in 20 3-word sentences

Add-on challenge: Illustrate your life story in 23 frames


A Halloween Poetry Prompt

Halloween Fright

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Photo by Molly Brenner


Alphabet Letter Poetry Workshop

Sharon Olds – 1942-

But I love the I, steel I-beam
that my father sold. They poured the pig iron
into the mold, and it fed out slowly,
a bending jelly in the bath, and it hardened,
Bessemer, blister, crucible, alloy, and he
marketed it, and bought bourbon, and Cream
of Wheat, its curl of butter right
in the middle of its forehead, he paid for our dresses
with his metal sweat, sweet in the morning
and sour in the evening. I love the I,
frail between its flitches, its hard ground
and hard sky, it soars between them
like the soul that rushes, back and forth,
between the mother and father. What if they had loved each other,
how would it have felt to be the strut
joining the floor and roof of the truss?
I have seen, on his shirt-cardboard, years
in her desk, the night they made me, the penciled
slope of her temperature rising, and on
the peak of the hill, first soldier to reach
the crest, the Roman numeral I—
I, I, I, I,
girders of identity, head on,
embedded in the poem. I love the I
for its premise of existence—our I—when I was
born, part gelid, I lay with you
on the cooling table, we were all there, a 
forest of felled iron. The I is a pine,
resinous, flammable root to crown,
which throws its cones as far as it can in a fire.

Think about the way Olds describes the physical shape of the letter “I” as well as the way it connects to the speaker’s identity and represents self. 

  1. Write an ode to a letter of the alphabet (maybe the one your name begins with?) describing the letter and the ways it holds significance in your life.

  2. Start with a letter drawn on a piece of paper (as large or small as you like). Add to the drawing so that the letter is surrounded by designs or images that represent you, leaving the original letter hidden in plain sight. 


Splatter painting a Coffeehouse backdrop

Splatter Painting for Coffeehouse


A Collaborative Writing Exercise