The 2013 Indianapolis Week On Writing Starts Today

Here’s the thing: we believe writing and literary– the making and sharing of meaning– is essential to individual empowerment, civic engagement and community development. That’s why we started CityWrite and helped coordinate an Indianapolis-wide invitation to participate in the National Day on Writing. October 14-20 is the Indianapolis Week on Writing.

We’ve made it easy to create and share your written story. You can attend one of many public CityWrite sessions or submit your writing online. If either of those don’t suite you, feel free to participate in your own way how ever you like. Write your story down and encourage others to do the same.


New Public CityWrite Sessions at City Gallery

We’re happy to announce the addition of three public CityWrite sessions, each one held at City Gallery (at Harrison Center for the Arts):

Visual Storytelling: Monday, Oct. 14, 11:00-12:30

Storytelling Through Maps: Tuesday, Oct. 15, 11:00-12:30

Visual Storytelling: Wednesday, Oct. 16, 11:00-12:30


As always, these sessions are free.

Writing Prompts

Each CityWrite session incorporates a few general writing prompts geared towards cultivating stories of how we interact with our communities. We make these prompts available in the event that someone else would like to use them (or add to them).

  • What do people need to know?
  • How did you come to know Indianapolis?
  • What does home mean to you? Can you think of a story from your past that helps illustrate your definition?
  • Think of a time when you felt truly happy—write the story of what happened: where were you, who were you with, what were you doing?
  • “What most people do not understand about me is:”
  • “Indianapolis needs more of…”
  • The best moment in Indianapolis sports was when… (Or, recreate your high school’s winning play through a playbook or short story).
  •  Think of a time when you felt sad or unhappy—write the story of what happened: where were you, who were you with, what were you doing?
  • When did you realize you were “grown up”?
  • Is Indianapolis, and your neighborhood, a safe place?
  • When was the last time you were spoken to by a stranger or spoke to a stranger? What happened?
  • Have you ever let someone down?
  • Which season is your favorite? Why? Tell a story of a memory that stands out and is connected to your favorite season?
  • What is the best way to have a cookout?
  • Who is someone you remember at __________?  What do you remember about that person?  Share a story.
  • What is a time that stands out for you at ___________?  Why?  Share a story about that time.  (When was it?  Who was there?  What was going on?  Where were you?)
  • What do you want folks to know about _______________?  Tell that story.  Why do they need to know?
  • Is there an event (a celebration, a gathering, a funeral…) that you remember happening at _____________?  Why does this stand out for you?  Why was it important?  Who was there?  What was happening?  What were you doing?
  • Is there a special place, an important place, a historical place in Indianapolis that you would like to share, talk about, remember?  Why is it important?
  • What do we need to preserve at _____________ or in Indianapolis?  Think people, places, events…
  • What do you we need to change at _____________ or in Indianapolis?
  • What defines a community?  Has there been a time when you realized you depended on others? When you wished others would have depended upon you?
  • The one thing the Mayor and City-County Council needs to know about Indianapolis is… (explain your “one thing” so people can understand your position. Why do you believe this is important?)
  • Think about the first house or apartment you moved into in Indianapolis.  What did you do on the first night living there?  Where did you go in the neighborhood after moving in? Why did you move?
  • Indianapolis is a city that…
  • “If I were the mayor, I would…”
  • Why do people commit crimes?
  • When was the last time someone helped you? When was the last time you helped someone else?
  • Describe your “perfect day.”
  • What does it mean to be poor?
  • What does it mean to be rich?
  • Which neighborhoods or areas of town do you try to avoid?  Why?
  • Why do people litter?
  • How should people spend their time?
  • If you could share one recipe with the world, what would it be?
  • What frustrates you about your neighborhood or Indianapolis? What can you (or should you) do about this?
  • What does it mean to be a citizen?
  • What does education mean to you?
  • Describe the last time you created art.
  • Write about a time when you, or people you were with, were dancing.
  • “Before I die, I plan to:”
  • Do people generally get along with one another or do they generally avoid each other?

CityWrite Public Sites

Many CityWrite sites are located within schools, offices and private organizations that aren’t open to the general public. However, many sites are set up specifically to welcome the general public to take part in CityWrite. Each public site will incorporate prompts which reflect a unique theme.  As always, each site is staffed by CityWrite volunteers who will be ready to welcome you and encourage writers of all levels.

Monday, Oct. 14:

City Gallery (Visual Storytelling Session): 11:00-12:30

Tuesday, Oct. 15:

City Gallery (Telling Stories Through Maps): 11:00-12:30

Indiana Writers Center: 6-8pm

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library: 6-8pm

Wednesday, Oct. 16:

City Gallery (Visual Storytelling): 11:00-12:30

 KI EcoCenter: 12-2pm

Thirsty Scholar: 5:30-7:30pm

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful: 6-8pm

Englewood Christian Church: 7-9pm

Thursday, Oct. 17:

University of Indianapolis, (Schwitzer Student Center, Rm 013): 3-5pm

Saturday, Oct. 19:

Central Library (Learning Curve): 12-2pm

Fountain Square Library: 12-2pm

Glendale Library: 12-2pm

Big Car Service Center @ Garfield Park (Better Block): 11-4pm

Sunday, Oct. 20:

IndyReads Books: 12-2pm

A (Mostly) Complete List of 2013 CityWrite Sites

Hey all– look who’s participating in the 2013 CityWrite:
(we’re adding a few more and firming up times)

Big Car Service Center (AT GARFIELD PARK)

Indiana Writers Center

Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library

Keep Indianapolis Beautiful


Outside the Box

Thirsty Scholar

Indiana Youth Group

Sycamore School

Harrison Center for the Arts

The Grrrls’ Story Project

Indy Moms Group


Independence Academy

Noble of Indiana

Englewood Christian Church

Wheeler Mission Women & Children’s Shelter

Wheeler Mission Men’s Shelter

Boner Center– Senior Citizens Group

Project Libertas

IPS School 51/ Edna Martin Christian Center

IPS School 69 / Edna Martin Christian Center

IPS School 48 / Edna Martin Christian Center

Edna Martin Christian Center Senior Group

University of Indianapolis

Chase Legacy Center (Arsenal Tech)

Indianapolis Black Firefighters Association

Central Library

Fountain Square Library

Glendale Branch


Exodus Refugee Immigration

VSA Indiana

Concord Neighborhood Center

KI EcoCenter

Indianapolis Dept. of Metropolitan Development

Marian University, Literary Arts Society

Marian University, Peace & Justice Studies



Everyone Who Writes Gets a Sticker



Last year, Alissa Adams, a CityWrite volunteer, suggested we create stickers to hand out to people after they participated in a CityWrite session. It sounded like a great idea then and now, so we’re happy to put her suggestion to practice. This year, after the scores of participants in schools, libraries, shelters, pubs, community organizations and government offices write a story with CityWrite, they’ll leave with a visible proclamation of their participation.

CityWrite Week Now Official “Indianapolis Week on Writing”

Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has proclaimed that October 14-20, the week of CityWrite, is now officially the “Indianapolis Week on Writing”!


“WHEREAS, writing is a fundamental ability essential to meaningful learning, individual empowerment, civic engagement, and community participation; and,

WHEREAS, shared written reflections and experiences associated with Indianapolis communities deepen the vibrancy and vitality of community and personal identity; and,

WHEREAS, the Indianapolis literacy organizations Indiana Writers Center, Marian University Writing Center, Hoosier Writing Project,  and the Indianapolis Public Library support the advent of CityWrite to encourage, foster and collect written reflections and experiences; and,

WHEREAS, CityWrite will host writing sites across Indianapolis between the days of October 14, 2013, through October 20, 2013,to celebrate the National Writing Project’s National Day on Writing, and encourage individuals and families to explore and document experiences through writing; and,

WHEREAS, CityWrite will demonstrate Indianapolis’ unique participation in the National Day on Writing;




In the City of Indianapolis, and I ask all citizens to join me in this observation.”