Improve your writing using this Latin phrase

Death and taxes. The moment a woman’s water breaks. A category-five hurricane headed to shore. A judgment handed down by a jury of your peers or a toddler’s first temper tantrum. These things happen nolens volens — willingly or unwillingly — whether you like it or not.

Photo by Renato Danyi from Pexels

After spending some time researching the word and its usage through history, I stumbled on a lot of dark references (sexual violence, exploitation and coercion). The term, of course, can be used under any sort of circumstances. A friend might say to you, “You’re going to…

Looking for writing inspiration or some fresh prompts?

Check out Creative / Seminary, a weekly Substack newletter to help you connect to your own creativity by taking a closer look at the world around you.

Does Heat Death sound like an alarming phrase to you? Well, maybe it should.

It’s one of physics top theories for the end of the universe. The Norse had Jörmungandr and the Twilight of the Gods, Hinduism has Kalki, Christianity has the stories from Revelation, Buddhism has the Seven Suns. And that’s only naming a few. …

Looking for writing inspiration or some fresh prompts?

Hello and welcome to Creative / Seminary, a weekly Substack newletter to help you connect to your own creativity by taking a closer look at the world around you.

Our first topic is crows. A whole murder of them.

Before we begin, gather your initial feelings towards crows. Good, bad, neutral? Briefly scan your brain for a baseline of crow-knowledge. You might jot down a few initial thoughts on crows in your notebook or computer document before we start. …

Start by answering these questions

This post is from a series called Creative / Seminary, a newsletter for curious people, who want to connect more deeply with their own creativity and creative practices.

It’s too easy for our busy lives to distract us from our own generative, life-affirming creative muses. These weekly posts will include “writing assignments” to help call forth that creative energy on a regular basis. Each week, I’ll post a new topic or concept to consider, research and write about to get those juices flowing. …

For creators and iconoclasts


Have you ever been curious about where inspiration comes from and how some artists seem to have so much of it? Orson Scott Card said, “Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” How can we, as individual artists and humans, start engaging with the world around us more creatively? What (and where) are those “thousand story ideas” we pass by without noticing?

Each week on Sunday mornings, Creative / Seminary, a weekly Substack newsletter from me…

Image from Kat Jayne on Pexels

If I had a nickel for every time I was emotionally and spiritually bypassed this year — I’d be richer than J.K. Rowling. And don’t even get me started on her behavior of late. That’s not what this essay is about.

You know you’ve been spiritually bypassed when you hear something like, “It’s all in God’s plan” or “Choose light.” (Tell someone you had a miscarriage and count how many people tell you, “It was meant to be.”) It’s essentially using religion or any sort of pseudo-spiritual dogma (many yogis are experts at this) to scrub away any feelings that…

And other ridiculous (but important) questions to ask during a pandemic

Image from Pixabay / Pexels

Here I sit at my desk in front of a small patch of woods. Dogwoods bloom in front of my window. All is serene while I prepare for my 10:15 grad class on Zoom. Meanwhile, downstairs, my kids run amok making repeated shrieking noises , and I feel the tension rise in the house. Once my class ends, I have a few choices: hide in bed, pretend to work to avoid the wildlings or head downstairs and be a well of love.

What exactly is a well of love…

Image from ponce_photography / Pixabay

I’ve been homeschooling my oldest son on and off for three years between struggling to find a good fit for my two boys in the NC public and private school system. Anyway, I’ve been through the homeschool rigamole, and we had actually decided to homeschool over the holiday break this year, before schools were shut down by mandate due to COVID-19.

What a crazy, scary time! Also…what a stressful time for parents. We are finding ourselves worried about the virus and the health of the community and our families. …

Things to do that don’t involve getting drunk

Image from SushiHue / Pixabay

Do social activities ever feel repetitive? Cocktails compulsory? Are dinner and drinks your to-go? If so, consider salt caving.

I spent my birthday in Asheville, North Carolina this year. It was a “big” one — or at least it ended in a five, so it felt like some kind of punctuation mark. I turned 35 — there, I said it. (Even though saying it doesn’t feel quite right yet.) So, my husband and I booked a hotel, dropped the kids off at the grandparents and drove to the mountains.

We’ve traveled to…

Exploring connections between symbolic evil and female agency

Engin_Akyurt on Pixabay

I once read that the name Lucifer just means “light-bringer,” and referred to the planet Venus in the morning sky. At twilight each day, it fell from the heavens.

In a recent writing workshop, a fellow student mentioned the devil in his piece. While we discussed his essay, I found myself saying, “I want more Satan in here!” There were a few laughs at the absurdity of the claim, but it was otherwise well-received because the theme of the devil is usually intriguing and rich with connotation.

Since I consider myself neither…

Misha Lazzara

Misha’s debut novel, MANMADE CONSTELLATIONS, out with Blackstone Publishing 2022. NCSU MFA. Winner of the Academy of American Poets Prize 2020 at NCSU.

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