what’s happening at the CSUWP writers’ colony + Writing Prompt #1: Spiders and Grief

If you want to make yourself write outside your comfort zone, I recommend convening smart nice people together for a week and asking them to write/share/colonize. (It also helps to give them $100 and the opportunity to purchase one hour of graduate credit, cheap.)

Oh, and don’t forget to ask someone else to run it. Jack Martin is leading us.

That’s the basic idea behind the CSUWP Writers’ Colony (WC) that is…

meeting this week in Loft, the bookstore at the back of The Bean Cycle in Fort Collins. We’re meeting together from 8:30am-12:30pm, and here’s the drill:

  1. Someone from the group provides a morning pages prompt each day, and we write in response to it for 15 minutes or so. Volunteers share.
  2. We stay or depart with our writing groups to wander around Old Town until we find a place where we want to write. We get to set the agenda for our own writing groups. Some of us are just writing. Some are writing, sharing, then revising based on feedback. Some are sending work in advance so they can spend the entire time responding to one another’s work.
  3. We come back around noon and write again to another prompt, then share a few responses. We report on what we did that day and what we think we might do the next day.

There are 12 of us in the colony this week. It’s a nice size because we can all fit into the Loft; plus we’ve been able to divide evenly into writing groups of 3. Several other CSUWP fellows  wanted to join us, too, but couldn’t because their houses were in the line of the High Park Fire or for other less terrifying reasons. So that they and anyone else can see what we’re up to this week, over the next few days, I’m going to share our daily writing prompts here. I’ve also invited my WC buddies to share snippets of their responses in the comments section below.

Here’s the prompt Jack gave us on Monday morning.

  • For the first 5 minutes, write something with a beginning, middle, and end. Your topic is “spiders.”
  • For the next 5 minutes, write another something with a beginning, middle, and end. Your topic is “grief.”
  • For the last 5 minutes, fiddle with what you’ve written.

Here’s what I wrote about spiders. It’s a 5-minute draft. I don’t know if I will do anything else with it or not, but I might, so feel free to comment. Also, don’t forget to read responses to the prompt written by other WC folks in the Comments section below.


She thought it was important to save them. So sometimes, when someone else was in the act of smashing, she shrieked, “Stop! I will do it!” But then she didn’t.

Instead, she found a piece of paper, a largish plastic cup. She slid the paper under the spider (and always thought the word “gingerly”), then covered the spider with the cup, and balanced them like a little top hat all the way to the door. She slid it open, flung the spider onto the patio and out loud, she wished it well.

The out-loud part was important, she felt. And, in fact, she talked to the spider the entire time in soothing tones. She didn’t know if it could hear, but that was beside the point.

The point was rescue, and she felt that the spider could feel the vibrations of it. This seemed important to everyone—the rescued, the smashers, the rescuer. As if they all could learn something from the saving of all the almost-smashed life, skittering off to somewhere.


3 thoughts on “what’s happening at the CSUWP writers’ colony + Writing Prompt #1: Spiders and Grief

  1. Cre8tvCottage says:

    Thanks for the information about Writing Colony. Your writing reminds me of my students when they find insects and spiders in the room. I wonder what this story is from the view point of the spider.

    • blogessor says:

      I’m not sure what the spider would think. That would be an interesting perspective to explore. After reading your comment, I wondered what kind of eyes spiders actually have? Here’s what I found out at this link (http://australianmuseum.net.au/How-spiders-see-the-world):

      “Spiders usually have eight eyes (some have six or fewer), but few have good eyesight. They rely instead on touch, vibration and taste stimuli to navigate and find their prey.”

      I was pretty excited to find this since it works with the character’s speculation about the vibrations of her voice. Don’t know if this piece wants to keep going or not, but this was a fun fact to know.

      Thanks for responding!
      – Cindy

  2. Cre8tvCottage says:

    After reading your link, I think the spider’s perspective would be one of terrification (a new word-means magnification of being terrified beyond known proportions as a small animal/insect is hunted by something one gazillion times bigger than itself) with the vibrations coming closer and then having a paper slipped under your feet. After being thrown outside, I wonder how long it would take for the spider to return to its normal state.


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