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Watching magic being made at 7 am on a Saturday

October 20, 2012

Jamie Morris periodically writes prompts for this blog. At each year’s conference, at seven in the morning–or to listen to Jamie, seven in the freaking morning–she and Peggy Miller provide prompts for the writers masochistic enough to write at seven in the morning.

A good prompt carries your writing to a place it might otherwise not go. Sometimes that place comes easily, like a perfect golf swing, and the difference between your active thought process and the words becomes blurred. Sometimes the prompt drags you kicking and screaming to that new place.

This morning, Jamie’s prompt forced many people along kicking and screaming. It required the writers to write one sentence, flowing on itself, for fourteen minutes. Grammatical correctness didn’t count. Basically, it was one giant run-on thought. At the end of the prompt, volunteers got to read their own work, and the results were stunning.

The first person to read, Rebecca Grace, was called forth to the front and presented a fully formed and coherent story of a woman’s memories of her Florida home, filled with vivid mental images of the sights and smells of her grandmother’s home, an almost dream-like sequence that’s unique to Grandma’s House. To top it off, Rebecca had never written to a prompt.

Rebecca Grace

After that, a few other people read. One of them, whose name I didn’t catch, considered his work to be schlock. If that’s true, his schlock is better than many peoples’ finished work.

Jamie Morris and a brave volunteer, reading amazing work to the one-sentence prompt.

In everyday life, most of the people a writer interacts with don’t write as well as he or she does. When you go to a conference and at 7 in the morning, get to experience quality upon quality, the results are humbling and magical. They can remind you that you are part of a craft that’s bigger than yourself, and that has an almost infinite number of practitioners. When you’re in the same room while you get to hear their thought process, it’s worth the cost of admission.

  1. October 20, 2012 10:18 am

    Thanks for posting this. I love Jamie and what she evokes from the participants in her sessions. Almost like being there…

  2. jaimiequick permalink
    October 21, 2012 6:09 pm

    Tricia!! I missed you this year! I was thinking on Wednesday, “Great, I’ll get to see Tricia,” but then, no you!!

    I hope you’re well and we’ll get to hang out next year.


  3. October 22, 2012 11:40 am

    I agree. Magic, and when I wrote on Sunday morning, yes, at 7 am also, I felt a little less nervous (!) standing up and reading because Jaimie told us it didn’t have to be polished! She is a wonderful leader and giver of prompts. What I also liked about the way she gives prompts is she tells us what to think about while we’re writing them, which of course we forget the moment the story takes off. But it put me in the ‘zone’ to have her talk about emotions, colors, and ‘the moment.’

    • jaimiequick permalink
      October 22, 2012 2:29 pm

      Lisa! It was great meeting you!

      I tried to e-mail you a note last night to the address on your biz card, but it came back as undeliverable. Is there a better address for you? If so, write me at to let me know.


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