I am currently writing you from beautiful, verdant, and sunny (gasp!) England. I always feel inspired by this country--maybe it's because some of my favorite novelists (Jane Austen; Dickens; Henry James; Lewis Carroll; Phillip Pullman; J.K. Rowling) are English or at the very least have spent a huge portion of time here, but the landscape of England just seems saturated with literary magic.
In fact, I was saying to my sister just today--as we were strolling through the charming, labyrinthine Oxford streets; and crossing over the Thames, which winds lazily through the city and is dotted with houseboats and punters; while students and scholars whizzed past us on bicycles--that it almost seems unfair. Pullman, Rowling--they had such magic material to work with in the first place! They came from a place steeped already with tradition and story and imagination--no wonder they were able to get the creative juices flowing!
So, my pets, my Monday Morning Challenge is this: today, I want you to write between 250-300 words of the first page of a children's book...set in Detroit. If you can find magic in that city, dear friends, you can find and evoke it anywhere! And no cheating. I want car dumps, and cracked sidewalks, and packs of roaming dogs, not the shiny bright glitter of the Detroit 1950s hay-day, or some bowdlerized version of the place now.
Send your texts to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll post 'em up!