February writing prompt

It seems to me – in my small freezing corner of the Western Hemisphere – that the world is snowed under this winter. I won’t go into that idea as a metaphor, but at least in a literal way everyone I know is dealing with snowy sidewalks and frozen anti-freeze (I know! It isn’t supposed to happen).

The remedy is writing. But you knew I was going to say that.

This month I have been working on a translation of an art book. It’s been both a headache and a pure joy. The joy part of it has involved looking up paintings and sculptures on the internet and this gave me an idea for this month’s writing prompt:

Get your blank page or your work-in-progress ready. Now pick an art museum, any art museum – MOMA, The Tate, The Art Institute of Chicago. Think big, or think small. Go to the museum website and either do a random search or start browsing their collections. Find a painting. (Try to do this quickly if you can, otherwise you may be stuck in a glorious rabbit hole) It doesn’t have to be a painting you know or even love. It can even be a statue. But look at it.


Steal something from the painting and use it to start writing, or integrate what you’ve stolen into your work-in-progress. This can be an object from the painting, or it can be an emotion. Just connect the two. However it works, however it doesn’t work. Get writing.


Kiyoshi Saito, 1958   From https://ukiyoe.org/image/aggv/dscn2026

Kiyoshi Saito, 1958

From https://ukiyoe.org/image/aggv/dscn2026