- Books, Literature, and Writing
Five writing prompts for March
Writing Prompt 1
There is a saying that goes something like this, "March comes in like a lion, but goes out like a lamb." You can also switch it around, "March comes in like a lamb, but goes out like a lion." Explain what you think this quotation means. Is this an example of a metaphor? Explain your answer. Think about how the month came in this year. Was it a lion or a lamb?
Just like a lion sneaking up on its prey~the unsuspecting little lamb~March can be a lion. It is unpredicatable. Other than getting out of school for a week or two, March is not always the best time to head to Panama City Beach as the weather is so unpredictable. Take March of 2012: there was a heat wave in the United States that caused temperatures to be in the 70s for all of the month. This is very unheard of in most places here in the States. Then, March of 2013 saw blizzards and unseasonably cold temperatures. Our own local weather here in Middle Tennessee is unpredictable right now. Just this past week, temperatures got up into the upper 70s, then this morning, the temps are below freezing.
Another reason for this saying just might be in the Heavens~literally. Leo the Lion is most visible in the sky in late March, all of April, and most of May. You can see the ferocious Leo soon after sunset and on into the morning hours. Aries, the Ram, is the Zodiac sign from March 21 to April 20. That might account for the part where the saying goes that it "comes in like a lamb."
There is one more suggested reason for the saying that is also found in the Heavens. This origin of the saying has Biblical roots. The story goes that God is holding a book up in Heaven, and he asks who has the strength to break the seal on this book. Well, a wise man says that a Lion is needed to open the seals because of its ferocious power and cunning. But, lo and behold, what comes in but a lamb. Supposedly this is the lamb of God who will take away all of the sins of the world. Of course, Christians will understand that this "lamb of God" is Jesus Christ.
Now, you've read three suggested reasons for the saying. What do you think? Do you hold with one of these or do you have your own interpretation for this saying? Here's another idea for you regarding this saying: is this an idiom? If it is, what makes it so? Do you know of other idioms and their origins?
Writing Prompt 2
The middle of March brings the beginning of Spring. Spring is an awakening, a new beginning. It is a time for the earth to come back to life although winter is not really death, only a dormant period in nature. While we now know the scientific and natural reasons for spring, it is interesting to read myths, legends, and origin tales about this natural phenomena. Sometimes these tales are called creation tales.
One such tale is the Ojibwe tale of Dream Fasting. In this tale of a "helicopter parent", a prepubescent boy is just short of gaining manhood. In the tribe, it is common for boys who have reached puberty to go into the woods and fast. While fasting, a dream animal or spirit comes to the boy to tell him of his destiny. This dream spirit will give hime wisdom and power. Well, the boy is not quite old enough to go on a dream fast alone, but his father, like many overbearing dads, insists that he go. The father secretly wishes that his son will become a great leader, warrior, and chief. So, reluctantly, the mother agrees and the father takes the boy into the woods and leaves him there. A week later, the father returns and asks the boy if he's seen a dream spirit. The boy sadly responds no, and the father insists that the boy stay another week. So, another week goes by and when the father returns to ask the boy if he's had a visit from his animal spirit, the boy says yes. The father is so excited, knowing that it must be a mountain lion or a grizzly that has visited his son. The boy tells his father that it was a deer, a female deer who visited him and told him that would be a loving caretaker for his tribe. Well, this infuriated the father, no son of his was going to be a caretaker. So, the dad insists that the boy stay another seven days. Weeping, the child agrees (not that he had a choice). This time when the father returns, he opens the flap to the makeshift tent and doesn't see his son. Instead there is a small bird, one that we know as a robin. The bird flies to father and says, "Look, I'm your son. Your pride has turned me into a bird. I will only come to visit you and Mother in the Spring." With that the boy bird flies away only to be seen in the spring.
Of course, this is also a cautionary tale for parents as well as a creation tale. Literature abounds with these kinds of stories about how the seasons came to be. For your writing prompt, you could either research other origin tales and re-tell them in your own words, which is what I did, or you could make up your own. Be creative! Write the tale down. Share it with family and friends. You could even illustrate it and turn it into a picture book for children.
Writing Prompt 3
In Alaska, the iditarod sled race celebrates the history of sled racing and the dogs who pull the sleds. A funny (or perhaps not so funny) thing about the race is that it's officially 1049 miles long, but it's really over 1100 miles. The race trail, the Iditarod Trail, is from Anchorage, Alaska to Nome, Alaska, which is on the Bering Sea. Originally, the race was to test sled dogs and mushers. Mushers are the folks who ride on the sled and make the dogs go.
Nowadays, the most popular sled dog is the Siberian Husky. Siberian Huskies are beautiful medium-sized dogs. These working dogs are great athletes and scholars. Most dogs that are used as sled dogs are great athletes, learn quickly, and need to be able to work as a team, since the Iditarod involves a dog team plus a musher. The working dogs needed to pull a sled in the Iditarod needs to be strong because he or she has to pull weights that are more than they weigh. The dogs must also be able to endure extreme cold conditions while running fast Some famous sled dogs include "Baldy of Nome" (there was a cartoon film by this name) who won a famous sled race in the early 1900s. There was also Balto who helped carry the measle serum to the outskirts of Alaska when there was an epidemic. Jack London fans know Buck from The Call of the Wild. These sled dogs have helped put the adventure and romance into sled dog racing.
But not everyone thinks that sled dogs are fortunate to get to "work" for humans. Animal rights activists say that it's cruel to make the dogs pull that much weight in such a cold environment with no respite. Even when the dogs are sleeping and being examined by the veterinarians, they remain in the cold during sled dog races. There have also been dog deaths in the Iditarod.
Many people believe that dogs should have a purpose other than just being a pet. They think that it's important and quite healthy for a dog to work for his keep. How do you feel about this topic? Write an essay in which you give your reasons for or against the idea of sled dogs being used to pull snow sleds.
Hold Tight! Take a Wild Ride!
Writing Prompt 4
Did you know that March 23 is National Goof Off Day? Scientific studies have proven that all work and no play are not healthy. Everyone needs the opportunity to goof off every once in a while. If given the opportunity to goof off, what would you do?
So, how does goofing off help us? Well first off, unlike our body, our brain is constantly working. So even when it seems like we're wasting time, we might actually be solving a work problem or even brainstorming ideas. Goofing off gives your brain a chance to shake off those personal thoughts that interfere with your productivity.
Secondly, goofing off relieves stress. How many times have you been stressed out about something at work, only to watch a silly puppy video and then smile? Of course, we've all done it. A smile, a giggle, a hearty laugh...it's good for the soul.
Goofing off can help you be more productive. The old adage, "all work and no play" is absolutely correct for a reason. It's important to de-stress and get rid of all of the work baggage that we accumulate over a week or a month or even a year.
So, if you could just good off for a while, what would you actively choose to do during your goof off time?
Writing Prompt 5
March is known as Women's History Month in the United States and perhaps in other parts of the world. Who is a woman that you admire? Explain what you admire about her and why.
I love, admire, and respect Hilary Clinton. She's always been pro-choice. She's been a strong advocate of expanding the Family and Medical Leave Act, guaranteed paid sick leave, promoting flexible hours for women, and equal pay for equal work. Clinton believes that the employer should provide benefits for child care and health services like contraceptives and fertility. These are just a few of the things that I love about Hilary Clinton
Now, think about a woman who you admire. You may have that woman in mind, but you may want to do a little research to find some specific qualities about that woman to include in your written response,