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  • Kristina Elyse Butke

Moxie Books: March Writing Prompts


Open journal with teacup in background - MOXIE BOOKS MARCH WRITING PROMPTS
Photo by Yannick Pulver on Unsplash

Today's post comes from Moxie Books, a website all about helping writers write. I did a post in January but unfortunately missed out on the February prompt calendar. Luckily I found March raring to go!


Now, these are designed to be daily writing prompts, but for the sake of generating a blog post, I'm going to answer all of them together. Feel free to use these as daily writing exercises yourself, though. 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!


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1 - March Goals

As much as I would like to work on my writing goals, I'm distracted by other things--moving back to the United States from Japan. My teaching contract expires July 31 and I have six years' worth of stuff to get rid of. My goal is to ship items home little by little, whenever I get the chance to. It mostly consists of gifts, books, and DVDs. I bought a ton of doujinshi from Otome Road in Ikebukuro that I consider priceless, and then I also collected all of Tokyo Ghoul and Tokyo Ghoul Re: manga, as well as the series novels. Then there are some Japanese art books and a few volumes of BL manga unavailable on Kindle that I consider gems, too. I have a lot of work to do and a lot of decisions to make about what to keep and what to get rid of.


2 - Old Stuff

The first thing that came to mind was the old scarf I have of Grandpa Butke's that he wore during World War II. I don't have much of anything else of his besides old photographs. A lot of stuff of his (and my dad's) got left behind when Dad passed away. So, I don't have very many things from Germany.


3- Boring jobs

I was once hired by a collector's store to work on their website (I worked IT in college) but they tricked me and had me cleaning coins for them instead. I had just come out of the hospital for my mental illness and was not ready to work, and I definitely had some...behavior and wellness issues while working there. I didn't want to be there, and my attitude basically let everybody know. I was angry I was doing nothing related to what I was supposedly hired for, but I was too afraid to complain about it. The owner also made racist jokes and referred to their employees by racist nicknames. I hated that place, and basically got fired from it. Later I heard they thought I lied about going to college and getting a degree! Why would I lie about something like that? Good riddance.


The other boring job I had was selling tires/ordering them from Asia and shipping them to the US. I had no experience with anything like this before. I was hired just coming out of FMLA leave (see a pattern here? I dove into employment before I was healthy enough to) and I couldn't concentrate on this job. I made a lot of costly mistakes. I ended up quitting. I was stressed and sick all the time at that job anyway.


4 - Fun jobs

I think the only job where I've genuinely had fun is working as an assistant language teacher here in Japan. I'm going to miss it very much. I taught college while I was in the US, but it was so stressful and definitely not the same as teaching high school students in Japan. My job here has been a blessing and I'm sad JET has a contract limit for their workers. We max out at 5 years...I was able to sign up for a 6th because of the coronavirus, but they cap it at that, so I have no choice but to go home.


If it wasn't for the language barrier (I am terrible at Japanese) I'd never leave the country. But I also haven't seen my family and friends in six years (I never went home to the US the entire time I've been here). I miss people too much.


I'm terrified of going home and finding work, and if my situation goes back to what it was before I left for Japan (working two jobs for poverty wages), I'll find a way to get back to this country, or teach EFL someplace else.


5 - St. Piran's Day

I have never heard of this holiday before. Apparently it's a national holiday special to Cornwall. I never made it to Cornwall when I lived in the UK, boo.


6 - Sunday Roast

Since I am a terrible cook, I don't do Sunday roasts. When I first got to Japan, I had more energy for cooking and actually made food from time to time...now I just eat konbini food. It's healthier than convenience store food in America, but it's still pretty unhealthy compared to the wide variety of Japanese food I can eat here.


7 - Sock Monkey Day

I had to google this one. Yes, it's all about this. The only comment I have is that someone gave my grandparents an anatomically correct sock monkey (complete with stuffed penis) and they tried to hide it from us, but as a little kid who liked to explore, I found it anyway. I was really small, so I didn't quite understand what I was looking at. The sock penis was hidden under a loincloth.


8 - International Women's Day

To be honest, I kind of let this day go by the wayside. When I was an undergrad at Capital, we had a slew of events and guest speakers (and I think a special luncheon!), and that was the last time I remember properly observing this day. I know a lot of people think of famous women during this holiday, but I just think of the women in my life and how impressive they are. I'm grateful for the women in my family.


9 - British Pie Week

Well, since I don't really like pie...I have to confess I've never eaten a British pie, not even when I lived in the UK (Wales).


10 - Where do you feel most at home?

Apparently in my bed. I do reading and writing there; I watch TV there; and of course, what apparently is a major pastime now--sleeping. As long as I have a comfortable bed, I feel at home anywhere.


11 - Your first holiday

Since Moxie Books is a British company, I'm wondering if "holiday" here means vacation. I mean, my first "holiday" would be my birthday, but if we're talking about vacations, basically anytime I went to NYC to visit my Dad. My parents divorced when I was 5 and we would visit Dad when we had breaks from school, so I'm sure that started when I was very, very young.


12 - Saturday tea

I don't really like drinking tea. It tastes too earthy for me. I don't seek tea out to drink on my own, but if it's offered, I can say that I tolerate barley tea, green tea, and jasmine tea. I've also had apple tea at the konbini that tasted ok. I wish I was more of a tea drinker instead of a soda drinker, but I can't seem to get into it.


13 - Your favorite jewelry

I have a beautiful bracelet I bought from an art museum in Baltimore from their gift shop...so you know it was expensive...and it's purportedly made of materials from Israel. It has colored glass, pearly looking beads...it's honestly kind of weird-looking, but I love it.


I also love moonstone rings and moonstone jewelry. I have a lot and I'm always seeking out more to add to my collection.


14 - National Write Your Story Day

You know, I've been told more than once that I might be able to help people by writing the story of my experiences with bipolar disorder. There was a popular post on Facebook where I described mental illness in a way that seemed to touch people a lot. But...I don't think I have it in me to write a book about my mental illness. I do talk about it, but I don't give a lot of specific details. That's because when it was especially bad in my twenties, my behavior was so destructive, and I think I was a terrible person. It's too painful to write about. I channeled some of it into my fiction, and even that was traumatic for me. I haven't forgiven myself for a lot of the things I've done, and for the people I've hurt...and I don't think I'll be ready to write my story until I've made peace with all that happened. And the thing is, I don't see myself being at peace anytime soon.


15 - What skills do you want to improve?

I've always been terrible at math. I still count on my fingers. It would be nice to get better at it. I also would like to improve my writing skills in terms of coming up with an actual freaking plot. Another skill I'd like to improve is playing the harp. I taught myself how to play Celtic harp, and unfortunately I taught myself incorrectly (I only use three fingers on each hand to play--didn't know you're supposed to use more)…I'd like to get better at it. Um... what else...I'd like to be better at saving money and have more self-discipline. And I'd like to be better at sewing so I can make more custom cosplays (right now I alter existing clothing items; I don't make clothes from scratch). I'm sure I can think of more!


16 - National Panda Day

I've seen so many gifs and little videos of pandas being kind of stupid and clumsy. I love it. Here, have a roly-poly gif:


gif

17 - St. Patrick's Day

I don't normally celebrate St. Patrick's Day, even though we have Irish ancestors in my family. There was one time I did in college--my friend and I went to a party sponsored by a radio station where one of the founders of Killian's Irish Red was there signing autographs and taking pictures. I don't drink beer, but I was like, hey! An important person! So I got his autograph.


18 - Awkward moments

So...I get really awkward when I meet people at conventions to get their autographs. I have a super cringeworthy experience with someone I'll call VA1. I was still new to anime after taking a decade-long break from it, so I was asking every voice actor I met to recommend an anime to me that they were in. VA2 (from another convention) recommended a show to me that he starred in. VA1 also starred in this anime. So I went up to VA1 and was like, "One of the actors told me to watch this show!" I was trying to use this as a segue into asking VA1 to rec me one of his series. VA1 asked me who gave the rec, and when I said the name, he rolled his eyes and said, "Well OF COURSE he would! HE'S THE LEAD!" and VA1 bodily turned away from me to start talking to someone else. I never had a chance to ask him what anime of his that I should watch. It was an awful experience and I was so embarrassed. The rumors have it that VA1 actually hates VA2, which I didn't know at the time, so that probably explains the strong reaction he had to hearing VA2's name.


19 - Sleepovers

I remember my first sleepover was at a friend's house from summer camp, and I watched my first horror movie, Pet Semetary (1989). That remains one of the movies that shaped my love of horror...and it also scared the crap out of me! I will always remember images and lines from that movie: "The soil of a man's heart is stonier, Louis."


20 - World Storytelling Day

I remember when I was in middle school, I rewrote Sleeping Beauty and made it about an evil fairy with dandruff, the good fairies were all named after different brands of shampoo, and they gifted Sleeping Beauty with beautiful hair. My teacher asked me to perform the story for a few different classes, so I dressed up in a storyteller costume and acted out my story to them. It was the first time I did storytelling in front of other people, and it was fun. I felt really special for being asked to do it.


21 - World Poetry Day

My favorite type of poetry is haiku. We were taught as young children to always follow the 5-7-5 rule with syllables, which is actually not required of haiku (there's more flexibility there)...but I always liked following that structure because it was a challenge to me. My favorite haiku I wrote is "Victor Stitches; Or, the Haiku Prometheus," which you can read here.


I also love to make rhyming poetry, but so many literary magazines and journals bluntly state they will not accept it. Because of this, I made sure it shows up in my books. Son of the Siren is filled with a lot of songs, so I had a great time coming up with rhyming lyrics. They range from horny ditties to tragic songs of lost loves and death to naughty rhymes about penises.


22 - Getting curious

I can't help but think of Alice in Wonderland whenever I hear the word "curious." And then I think of the statue in Central Park.


23 - Your secret wishes

I don't think I keep my wishes a secret! I'm really bad about that. I've thought about a few secrets but I can't bring myself to type them out. Oh! I know one...I'd like to write BL/yaoi under a pseudonym. But I don't think this is ever going to happen.


24 - National Cocktail Day

I haven't had alcohol in ages. This is largely because I'm not social anymore, but also, I can't drink alcohol with the medicine I'm taking. I had a period where I drank, and that was in my twenties. I never drank alone--I only drank in social situations. I'm trying to remember what cocktail I liked...in Columbus there was a place called Bar Louie and I remember them serving up something chocolatey that I really enjoyed, but I can't remember the name of it. Oh well.


25 - How has your style changed?

I gained a lot of weight over the years from medication and lifestyle changes, so my wardrobe unfortunately changed. I used to wear really girly, almost Victorian-looking clothes...and I just can't find those types of fashions in plus sizes. Modcloth is the closest place to having them, but a lot of time, plus-sized clothes have loud patterns and sheer fabrics that require additional clothes to be worn under them, which is totally annoying. I try to wear cute clothes now, but a lot of it is covered in patterns, and I used to wear more solid clothes that were cut a specific way that reflected a romantic style. I'm not happy with a lot of my wardrobe, to be honest. The world needs to remember that plus-sized women exist, and we like fashion, too.


26 - How much stuff do you have?

OHHHHH this question. I have to say "too much!" I have all the stuff from living in Japan, plus decades of items from when I lived in Ohio...I told my mother that once I'm back, I'm going to do a giant purge of things I've been hoarding for years, thinking somehow I would use them again. I have a ridiculous amount of books that I want to get rid of, too, and I need room for the new ones to go in!


27 - Happy birthday to me!

I am guessing this is for Vicky Fraser, who runs Moxie Books. My birthday is July 26.


28 - Happy birthday Lady Gaga!

I don't own any of her albums, just a few songs...but I like Lady Gaga. I also like her acting. I really enjoyed her in American Horror Story.


29 - Where do you feel most peaceful?

In a forest with lots of greenery. If there's a view of the mountains somewhere, that's even better. Like...Yakushima!


30 - When did you last try something new?

The special bento we ate at work for high school graduation had foods I could not identify in it that were new. They were kind of slimy. I ate them to be polite but I didn't really care for them.


31 - Celebrate your month!

Um...hooray March?