WHAT FUELS YOUR FIRE? Being Well- Stoked!

By: Whitney McKendree Moore

Editor’s Note: In case you missed the first two posts in this series by Whitney McKendree Moore, here are the links: What Fuels Your Fire? One Answer: Kindling! and What Fuels Your Fire? One Answer: Goodreads   

Now, let’s get stoked!


what fuels your fire one answer stokers marilyn l davis two drops of ink whitney mckendree moor

A Four-Legged Stoker

We named this wonderful cat Stoker, and it was like taking a tranquilizer to have him, always wanting to climb up and just BE with someone, and often that someone was me. I loved how he would purr such utter contentment at just BE-ing there with me. Stoker was really good at comforting me, which is a very good way to keep my creativity stoked… well stoked!

For me, creativity is like a fire that requires tending and stoking. It takes kindling and fuel to get it started, but after that, it still needs constant poking -- and stoking. Click To Tweet  

There are several things that keep me well-poked and well-stoked. I will be thinking out loud on each of them at some point, but for now, I will simply brainstorm a few Stokers that pop right to the top of my mind:

More Unlikely Stokers

  • Quiet Time (to listen and learn)
  • Blogging (on what I heard and learned)
  • Walking daily (to consider matters that matter to me)
  • Engaging in social media (about what matters to me)
  • Gathering with others (to sing or share or both)
  • Discerning time-wasters (in what I read and what I do)
  • Reading literary books (writing is like food for me — I am what I eat)
  • Collecting quotes and excerpts (for sharing/discussion)
  • Poetry (deathy stuff inspires me to cherish the time)
  • Reading Lapham’s Quarterly (for exquisite excerpts around themes)
  • Reading The New Yorker (to practice skimming good writing)
  • Playing the piano (for mental acuity and physical therapy)
  • Attending almost any performing art ( art is like food for me)
  • Knitting (I enjoy tangible outcomes)
  • Laughing often (what I find funny, sometimes surprises me)

The Original Stoker

Relaxation has never come easily to me, unless presented by someone in fur, with four legs and a tail. Stoker (and our lovely Mondo the Cat before him) had magical motors. A purring cat causes me to cease, to stop all the spinning wheels, to simply sit for a snuggle and a snooze. There is something about that purring, how it soothes so pleasantly, so persistently…surely the reason for the term cat nap.

Pet Theories

What fuels your fire one answer stokersIt was the same, but more conversational, with our dogs — one in particular, our Roobie, who was so sensitive and smart that she was downright publishable. She even had a hashtag on Twitter for a few years through which she shared observations like this:

The Press doesn’t seem to PRESS anymore. Once they would hunt, they would chase, they would dig for bones. Now they bury them instead.

The breed has changed. Formerly they were watch dogs. Guard dogs. Now they’re a whole different breed: lap dogs.

Good points from a short-haired pointer! Now we have neither cat nor dog, as we may be relocating at some point in the future. Therefore, I go next door every afternoon to visit my neighbor… who has a cat.  His name is not Stoker, but he keeps me aglow as I seek to pass my little flame from this candle to the next.


Bio: Whitney McKendree Moore

Whitney McKendree Moore has published numerous articles in magazines such as Cruising World, Connecticut Magazine, YANKEE, Greenwich Magazine, Maine Boats and Harbors, and The Nautical Quarterly.Whitney McKendree Moore two drops of ink

In 1987, she authored a book entitled Where to Next? that focused on making a successful career change; she also co-authored a book called Academy Days, a history of the school she attended while growing up in Greenwich, Connecticut, and has published twelve books of her own since. She also helps other people publish their stories onto Amazon using Createspace.

Whitney and her husband, Barry, have been married for forty-six years. They have just one child, a son who was born two weeks after they celebrated their twentieth year of child-free marriage. At the time, they were brand-new in recovery from alcoholism, which is a family disease. For a while, it looked like the disease might win, but God won instead. Their son is now in graduate school, so the family home has been relocated to South Carolina.

Connecting with Whitney and viewing her books




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What stokes you? We’ve got room at Two Drops of Ink for your poetry, prose, and problem-solving for bloggers and writers. Send that submission so we can get stoked, too. 



  1. Whitney, These stokers are some of my favorites, but also some new ones I haven’t tried…yet. We are “dog people” at my house, and even though we don’t have a cat, we could probably be considered “cat folks” as well. Something about having animals to care for you makes it easier to care for other things like writing. Thanks for sharing.

    • YAY, Michelle, any DOG person is a friend of mine. Have you ever noticed that DOG is GOD spelled backwards?!?

  2. Hi Whitney,
    It’s obvious your stoking process is working! Your creativity is showing! I enjoyed your list of “stokers” and have a few of the same items on my list which I call “Finding Inspiration.” I also find my doggie (we have no cats) greatly helps keeps my both calm and creative when I write. Often he is curled up on my lap while I am trying to write on my iPad or iPhone 🙂 Yes! I actually do a lot of my writing on my phone! lol! Whatever “stokes” your fancy, I say! Great post!

  3. Again, thank you for the beautiful job you have done with this, Marilyn, and for the dog picture you chose, which is hilarious. Our actual dog, Roobie, was a Vizsla who was magnificent (and a contortionist as all Vizsla are). I really appreciate your artful handling of my material. I am working now on something called “What Dampens Your Fire?” in which my answer is shaping to be “neglecting it.” More anon!

  4. Hi, Whitney. So glad you mentioned Lapham’s Quarterly. My sister got me a subscription about three years ago. The diversity of the topics and writing is excellent.

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