KaBooM WritersKaBooM Writers

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!

Welcome to the online presence of KaBooM, a writing group that has sustained the creative lives of a diverse group of women for over a decade. We hope that getting to know us will inspire you, too!


The KaBooM Writers Notebook: Our Blog

A Writing Prompt

Old photographs can make powerful writing prompts. They’ll work differently depending on whether they are pictures of people you know, or know something about, or don’t know at all. These are some photographs I found at an estate sale.

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I brought them to our writing group meeting a couple of weeks ago to use as a writing prompt. Different people, poses, types of photos appealed to each of us in different ways. Not knowing anything about them freed us to imagine anything based on this brief moment preserved in the image.

Who are they?

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What happened to them?

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What did they do later that day?

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How did their story become lost, so that no one would want to keep their picture?

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What was happening in the larger world when the photo was taken?

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How did it feel to wear these clothes?

What kind of chores did they have to do?

What was most important to them?

If there had been stories to go with them, these photos probably wouldn’t have been tossed into a box to sell. But the photos themselves are compelling, asking for a story to go with them. If one of these speaks to you, the story is yours to write.

Writing from the Senses

During the recent writing retreat led by KaBooM we focused on entering our writing through the senses, and invited a visit from the muse by setting up sensory stations for participants to enjoy. We offered images and textures, and images that were textures in the form of Mary’s quilted paintings. Bells and rattles and rhythm instruments made a variety of intriguing sounds. Tastes including fresh fruit, dill pickles, chocolate, and lemon marmalade also held a wonderful aroma. Other scents, most in containers covered with plain brown paper, included:

  • A tin of brown shoe polish
  • Tide laundry detergent
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Murphy’s Oil Soap
  • Joy dishwashing liquid
  • Campho-phenique
  • Desitin diaper rash cream
  • Lavender soap
  • Homer Formby’s Tung Oil
  • Garlic powder
  • Almond extract
  • Oregano
  • Coconut extract
  • Crest toothpaste
  • Colgate toothpaste
  • Cedar
  • Herb vinegar
  • Molasses

Are there associations that arise as you read these lists? Are memories stirred just by thinking about these sensations? It’s a reminder of how deeply imprinted sensory experience is.

One participant spoke of how powerfully a sensory cue brought back slices of life—enough to reshape his writing plan for the day. I too have found that certain scents do more than remind me of another time of life; they actually take me there once again and put me in touch with what I might otherwise have forgotten.

Those memories are multi-layered with all kinds of sensory information. The scent of cold cream can show us a bedroom from long ago, the sound of a school bell may evoke the scratch of a new sweater, a taste of home may place us amidst the voices of people long gone. Our deep remembering is brought to life by recalling the memories of the senses, memories carried in the body as well as the mind. Writing gains power when we put them on the page.

We encouraged everyone to explore and follow where their senses took them. It’s an experience that doesn’t end with the close of the retreat, and we invite you to take part as well.