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  • Kristina Elyse Butke

Moxie Books: April Writing Prompts


Orange typewriter on table with book and coffee
Photo by Pereanu Sebastian via Unsplash

These prompts come from Moxie Books, a website from the UK that's devoted to helping out writers. There's a lot of fun stuff there to look at, so I hope you check it out.


Anyway, these are meant to be daily prompts (and particularly used on Instagram) but I'm using them for a single blog post, just like I did for January and March.


You're highly encouraged to follow the creator of these calendars, Vicky Quinn Fraser, on Instagram -- @tinybeetlesteps. You can do the posts daily on Instagram, too! Have fun with it!


‧͙⁺˚*・༓☾  ☽༓・*˚⁺‧͙


1 - April Goals

I wish I could focus on revisions from Son of the Siren--and for all I know, maybe I'll get to a little--but my priority is preparing to move back to the States. I have to go back within the first couple days of August, as my teaching contract expires July 31. My goals in April are to ship home my Region 2/PAL DVD player with my remaining anime DVDs, ship home some anime music CDs, ship home my priority English books, and start boxing my Japanese books for donation. I also need to put aside money for what will be a very expensive plane ticket home. It's only a one-way ticket but I did some Googling and they are almost the exact same price as a round trip. Where does that make sense?


2 - What do you do that's weird?

I talk to myself a lot and I make a lot of strange noises and sound effects. Sometimes I don't even know that I do it, but my friends have certainly let me know when I have. I've started making sounds and using words common in Japanese, too, like "yosh" or "eto" or "ehhhhh?" My family is going to be confused when I get back to the US.


3 - Your favorite sandwich

It's a tie between peanut butter and jelly and grilled cheese. I can get PB&J here in Japan just fine--they even sell Skippy here--but a good grilled cheese just hasn't worked out for me. It's not like the ingredients aren't here, it's just...the cheese isn't quite the same. When I get back to the US it'll be one of the first things I make.


4 - When did you fail but learn a lesson?

The jobs that I absolutely failed at in the past consisted of some similarities: I was desperate to not be jobless, so I took the first job that would hire me; I went back to work well before I recovered from serious illness; I didn't think about my role or long-term future at the job I worked at. What I learned: I should be more discerning about where I work and know my value; I should not rush into work before I'm ready (if I can help it).


I'm going to heed these lessons when I get back to the States--I'm going to rest and reacclimate myself to the US before I dive into the job search, and I'm also going to be pickier with what I accept. I'm tired of choosing jobs out of desperation. I want a career. And I deserve to be compensated fairly.


5 - What song will you drop everything to dance to?

It's been a while since I've listened to dance music but there are three I can think of, and they're all K-POP. I don't really listen to current music much anymore unless my brother forwards me something, so these are not the most recent hits by any margin. I like "Butter" by BTS, "Doom Doom Ta" by Tri.be, and "Paparazzi" by Girls' Generation.


6 - What's the weather like today?

It's the 5th as I type this...it's 62 degrees and while the sun's out, most of the clouds are covering the sky, so it's like a really bright whitish-gray. The cherry blossoms are almost completely replaced by green leaves. It's quite lovely but I am cold inside at my desk so I've got a blanket over my lap.


7 - 5 minutes of joy

I'm trying to think of what I do that takes about 5 minutes and I think it's opening and checking all the book-related emails I get every day.


8 - A great victory!

In high school my very first singing solo for the Solo and Ensemble contest was "Ständchen" by Schubert and I got a 1 for my score (the highest score you can get). I was so nervous, but so pleased. It meant to me more than the previous years when I played clarinet, because I always really wanted to be a good singer, and this felt like validation.


9 - Where would you like to travel and why?

There are three places in Japan I really want to go to. The first is Kyoto--I haven't made it there yet because I was planning for it to be one of my final trips, then COVID happened. The next is Hokkaido, which I missed out on for the same reason. Last is Mount Koya in Wakayama, which I briefly visited when I did the Shikoku Henro, but my friend and I were on a tight timeline, so we didn't get to explore the large number of temples and Oda Nobunaga's gravesite. Anyway, I mostly want to go to Kyoto and Mount Koya for their history, and Hokkaido for the cooler weather and unique culture there (I'm curious about the Ainu). Now that COVID has made travelling difficult, and I'm simply running out of money preparing to go back home, so I consider these places missed opportunities.


10 - Do you know how to breathe?

I used to. I used proper diaphragmatic breathing when I played clarinet, but now I mostly chest-breathe, which is not very good. I also can't breathe doing physical activity because I'm really unhealthy, and I can't do controlled breathing during things like meditation because I have trouble concentrating on meditating. I am a basic breathing failure. This is one of the many reasons I'm so scared to get COVID-19.


11 - This time next year...

I will likely be in Ohio trying to save up money for my own place and hopefully at a job that pays me decently and values me. I hope to have an agent by this time next year, too.


12 - How's this week treating you?

It's a bit challenging because it's spring break so the students aren't here except for their club activities. There's not a lot for me to do at work as I've already planned my final lessons for the remainder of the year. Every day has been a challenge to fill the hours, yet at the same time, I'm super exhausted every time I come home. I just lie down after work.


13 - Do you have houseplants?

I have the outdoor plants which have died and one potted plant given to me by one of my schools and it has also died. I do not know how to dispose of these plants because the garbage disposal rules for Kikuchi are so complex.


14 - Who should I know?

Thyself!!


15 - Earliest childhood memory

I can remember things from when I was four but I don't think earlier than that. One of the memories is of my German grandfather bouncing me on his knee singing a song that ended in something that sounded like "freshen in dee Robin!" and then Grandpa would dip me backwards down to the floor.


Actually I just did a Google search guessing the German as "freschen in die Raben" and found the lyrics "fressen ihn die Raben" as part of a song...and it's "Hoppe Hoppe Reiter!"


16 - What's top of your brain right now?

Well, now that I've just written about a childhood German song, and then wrote about "Ständchen," too, my brain is buzzing about German now. I was terrible at it. The pronunciation has always been hard for me and although I got good(ish) grades in college in my German class, I have retained very little of it. And apparently I was so bad at it, I remember my dad asking me to stop speaking it.


17 - Growing Vegetables

I've never actually done this before, but if I could grow any vegetable, it'd be carrots! I love raw carrots!


18 - Favorite Board Game

Stratego. My dad had this game at his house and we all loved playing it. My other favorite game is Trivial Pursuit, which we had at both Mom and Dad's houses.


19 - Scariest thing you've ever done?

Flying on airplanes. I hate, hate, HATE it and I'm terrified every time. I'm particularly nervous about flying back to the States in August. I've been having nightmares about it. I just want my psychiatrist to give me a Xanax for the flight so I can be sleeping through almost all of it. I think the flight from Japan to America (East coast) is about 13-14 hours. AHHHH!


20 - Silliest thing you've ever done?

I'm pretty silly regularly. As to the silliest thing...well, my sister and I made a radio recording of Macbeth and we did different voices for the characters. We had a lot of bloopers. It was pretty funny. We were quite young when we made that tape, too. I feel like I was 12?


21 - Most dangerous thing you've ever done?

There's a lot, but I'll talk about a near-accident I had on a mountain. We were climbing Mount Snowdon in Wales during a winter storm and my water bottle fell out of my bag down a crevasse. Out of reflex I started to reach for it and my instructor grabbed me and held me tight to prevent me from tumbling down after it. I was so startled by all of it but my instructor explained to me that a lot of people can't help themselves when something like this happens--they'll just reach out for it automatically. I'm so glad he was alert and on his toes. He definitely saved me.


22 - Sport of Choice

For me it was volleyball. I wasn't very good at it when I played on the team, but it's a fun sport.


23 - Current podcast faves

I don't listen to podcasts. Gasp!


24 - Ice Cream Sundae

Oh my gosh I used to get these wonderful peanut butter sundaes from the Friendly's restaurant that had this gooey, drizzly peanut butter that mixed perfectly with hot fudge and vanilla ice cream. There are pretty much no more Friendly's restaurants as far as I know--they all closed down in my hometown, anyway--so this dessert is officially extinct. But it was amazing.


25- HAIKU TIME!

I should be working

Instead I'm passing the time

Writing on my blog


26 - What are you curious about right now?

Hmm...this is hard for me...usually I am curious when I'm writing a book, but I've sort of paused my writing, so there's nothing I'm particularly wanting to learn right now. I do wonder about things, though...for example, I'm wondering how far back in my closets I shoved the damaged wire hangers my predecessor left me. They were hot pink, bright green, and white...an ugly combination, to be sure, but what was worse was they were all completely misshapen and bent. Plus, I'm larger, so my clothes didn't fit them. When I first moved to Japan, I took a lot of my predecessor's things and shoved them in closets because I didn't know how to get rid of them. Now that I'm leaving, I have to get rid of them...and tomorrow is the day metal/non-burnable items are due, so if I want to throw them out, I've got to hurry up and find them.


27 - If you didn't do this, what would you do?

I'm assuming this is talking about writing, since that's what I'm doing right now. Honestly, I don't know what I'd do. I would probably be teaching, but...I'd be teaching writing, so...


Honestly, it would be really cool to work in a museum full time.


28 - Who's your mum/mother figure?

Well, my mother is my mother and I love her very much. As for mother figures...I've had tantoushas in Japan that have been motherly with trying to help me out and get settled. Although they've been too young to be my mother, so I've told them they're my older sister. I think my grandma was also a motherly figure because she was there when my mother wasn't able to be (because of her job and things like that).


29 - And your dad/father figure?

Similar answer as before. Dad is Dad (love and miss you, rest in peace!) and I've had tantoushas in Japan who have been fatherly to me. One in particular told me I was like his daughter. Aww!


30 - Celebrate your month!

If I could celebrate anything about April, it would be the warmer weather and beautiful flowers. I never really cared about spring in the US, but spring in Japan is something else.

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