January is named for Janus, a Roman god of “beginnings, gates, transitions, time, duality, doorways, passages, and endings.” This week’s creative prompts draw inspiration from Janus—take a few minutes, or more, to consider thresholds as the new year begins.
- Write a scene or stanza in which the action begins with a knock at the door.
- The human body is full of portals and passageways. Choose one, or several, as starting points for a piece of poetry or short prose.
- Make a sensory inventory of all the doors in your home: appearance, texture, heft, sounds made when opening and closing, etc.
- Write about a time when you became aware of having passed from one stage of life into the next: puberty, middle-marriage, senescence, etc.
- Find creative inspiration in all sizes of underground or underwater passageways, whether animal- or man-made. Consider something as large as the Channel Tunnel, and as small as the passages made by moles beneath the surface of a lawn.
- Describe a moment, in verse or prose, taking place at the threshold of two states of consciousness—from sleep to awakening, life to death, ignorance to understanding.
- Write a scene or poem taking place just before, after, or during a journey through a revolving door.
- Consider the last time you interacted with a gate. Describe the two locations separated by the gate, the gate’s practical function, and any way that you might’ve felt different after passing from one side to the next.
- Think about any metaphorical doors in your life that you’ve been avoiding opening. What might happen if you did? Write about the best- and worst-case scenarios.
- Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañeras, Sweet Sixteens. Coming-of-age ceremonies mark the passage from childhood to adulthood. Write about one from the perspective of the person being celebrated.
Did you miss earlier prompts lists? Here they are.
Image of door in Gerberoy, Picardie, France by Submittable team member emeritus Laurie Pace.