Can you recall your childhood best friend and some of the things you used to do together? Places you used to go? Ways you pulled your imaginations together?
Close your eyes and take a tour back through some prominent places from your childhood: a house you grew up in, a relative’s house, a school, a store, a park where you used to play. The list could go on and on, and the rooms within the buildings would extend the tour as well. As you follow your memories through these places, what can you sense? Are there smells, sounds, textures, colors, or even tastes that come back to you?
What were some traditions your family observed during your early life? Do any of those traditions survive to this day in your family?
Describe a turning point in your life. Explore the past, present, and future around that experience.
Which one of your parents—or perhaps another family member—are you most like? How do those similarities make you feel? What about you stands apart?
Can you remember back to a conversation or interaction that inspired you? See if you can return your imagination to that experience and then write about it from that place of inspiration.
What was one of your favorite songs from long ago that comes with strong memories or feelings? You may not still have your original playback method, but you can probably find the song by searching the title and artist online. If you can locate it, set aside some time to listen to it (maybe even on repeat), and then, while it’s still playing or in silence afterward, explore the memories and feelings that arise. Let them dance onto your page as they follow their own rhythm.
Choose something that is important to you. It could be anything from a cherished relationship to a souvenir you brought home from a special trip. Begin by writing about that thing, and then see where your thoughts naturally take you from there.


1. Write about water as a medium, a form of distance, a natural element, an emotion, music, or part of your body
2. Write about an island in your life, interpreting island from any point of view desired.
3. Connect the islands in your life in a personal essay.
4.Write about collecting islands or a collector of islands.
5. Make a deep map of the islands in your life or of your ideal island.
6. Write about an island creature, from any domain – including imaginary, mythological,or culinary! or Write about a (sea) food as a form of alien life.
7. Write about a culinary experience as a rite of passage. (See MFK Fisher on the oyster)
8. Write about a house or room from which you are(or the main occupant is) absent.
9. Write about an object that transports you to another time or place.
10. Open the door to a place you once loved, but haven’t been for awhile. Write about the gesture of opening and stepping inside. Write about what you find there.


I am a ___________ son/daughter.
I am a ___________ eater.
I am a ___________ friend.
I am a ___________ when confronted with direct criticism.
I am a ___________, but most of my friends never suspect this about me.