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The internet has long been accused of being a toxic, harmful place, full of conflict and anonymous trolls. It’s hard to deny that, in a general sense, but let us brag on ourselves a little bit. Because since our launch in September 2016, The Prompt has largely avoided that awful spirit, instead finding real personal connection through creative writing, good ideas, and good people. Honestly, it’s been quite a tonic to meet strangers on the internet that are so deeply earnest and good in their souls. 

To extend that positive vibe into your lives a bit more, we’re starting a new content segment called This Prompts Joy, in which we will each share something positive or worthwhile that got us through the week. Each week, we will publish a miniprompt of the things that filled our cold, bleak, post-apocalyptic hearts with happiness, pride, gratitude, peace, interest, amusement, and so on.

The Prompt Mag: Proof that the internet isn’t completely terrible™

Dilane Mitchell

I am a cozy mystery connoisseur. Baptized by Jessica Fletcher. I have seen them all. I usually watch my favorites over and over. Nothing brings me joy like the discovery of a new mystery show. This week is happens to be My Life is Murder (AcornTV) strarring Lucy Lawless of Xena: Warrior Princess.

Jillian Conochan

I’m still working on this theory, but I’m pretty sure throw pillows are a… sham. Remind me why we’re not just buying elevated… shams for standard pillows and using them on the couch? They’re washable, more comfortable, and you’re not going to get in trouble if you rest your head on one.

Google “marshmallow pillow sham” and ask yourself, why are you settling for anything less than that chubby little slice of angel cake when double-screening though your evening?

Sarah Razner

Have you ever been to a lavender farm? Before this week, I hadn’t. To be honest, when I thought of Wisconsin farms, lavender ranked pretty low on the list of items I’d expect to be produced at one. Then, lo and behold, this week I was on Facebook, and a suggested event caught my eye, inviting me to pick my own lavender at a farm less than ten miles away for a reasonable price.

Interest piqued, my family and I made a trip to the farm over the weekend, and upon stepping out of the car, were immediately hit by the lovely fresh, floral scent that is lavender, and the sight of small plants vibrant with purple and white buds. With direction from the kind owner, we cut lavender to our heart’s content, amazed when the sinus headaches that plague our family disappeared after just minutes of being there.

As we left, carrying our tiny bundles of the stems, it was with a new appreciation both for them and the hidden treasures in our community’s backyard.

Josh Bard

Changing seasons mean changing wardrobes and these shoulder weeks of a season can be challengingly variable. In the last week, I have checked the weather apps on my phone as frequently as my emails.

Do I need a jacket? (Mostly, no, I live in the swampy soupy muck of Washington, D.C.)

Should I go with pants instead of shorts? (see above)

Might it cool down later and long sleeves would be advisable? (Maybe, wherever you live)

But the thing is, whether it’s going to stay eternally humid until the only thing that can cool us off is the chilly water of melted icebergs, or if it’s actually going to chill a bit as even approaches, you know what really feels incredible? Nailing a weather appropriate outfit, and by that I mean having everything you need and nothing more to feel comfortable in your local climate.

For me, that was in upstate New York, Woodstock specifically, where I was prepared for a sunny, wonderfully temperate afternoon with short sleeves and sunglasses, but also, ready for a brisk evening with a light jacket. Sometimes everything comes together for true joy.

Devin Householder

Today I gave myself permission to just lie on the couch and read a book. I turned the ceiling fans on high and read until my eyes shut. I then closed the book and let myself fall into a deep afternoon sleep. The room was silent—no TV or music or mindless noise. I drifted off to sleep free of all mindless distractions.

Lately, I’ve been turning the noise off, letting my mind reset. When I enter a room, I no longer reflexively turn on the flatscreen or Spotify. When I get in the car, I now leave the radio off and just roll down the window and let my mind drift. We’ve stopped watching the evening news altogether. I can almost feel my brain cells starting to heal themselves from prolonged overexposure to unimportant, unhealthy stimuli.

Restarting my yoga practice last month reminded me how restorative shavasana feels: a deep, almost holy relaxation of the mind, body, and spirit. Noticing how a full breath flowing into and out of my body feels reminds me that this experience of being human isn’t all bad. In fact, it’s whatever my mind decides it is.

Today, it is joyful.

Kelaine Conochan

I am currently in the home stretch of training for the Badwater 135, a 135-mile foot race across Death Valley, which will begin on July 22nd. Because of the extreme heat conditions of the race, it is absolutely crucial that training includes not only running, but also a rigorous heat training process, so my body can acclimate to the weather and not—I don’t know, let’s say—go into heat stroke in the third mile.

For example, as I write this, it is 78°F in my apartment, and I’m wearing sweatpants, a long sleeve t-shirt, and a hoodie. I’m starting to feel a little toasty, but not quite sweating yet. This recalibration is precisely the point.

I know that this whole experience sounds like deep, deep hell. And I won’t deny that by mile 70—when the air temperature is over 115°F and the ground is closer to 140/150°—it absolutely feels that way.

But, there is one aspect of heat training that I find simply delightful. Every day, I head to the sauna, where I sit silently on a towel and bake at 165°F. I’m not in there for a good time, baby, I’m in there for a long time. And my goodness, do I love it in that hot box.

The wood paneling and soft lighting feels reminiscent of my cousin’s basement, circa 1992. The tink-tink-tinking of the heating elements in the corner is the only sound other than my own thoughts and the occasional large sweat droplet. I wring my hands, not with distress, but like a towel, until the collected sweat drips onto the wood panels on the floor.

For 60 minutes, I sit in contemplation, every pore expressing itself. I think clearly. I disconnect. I relax into the heat. I don’t fight the discomfort.

Is there something you can’t stop humming, sharing, refreshing, etc? Get in touch for your chance to get published on The Prompt! This Prompts Joy runs weekly.

The Prompt Staff

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