Strength and Fragility – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , ,

I’d like to share another prompt recently used in one of my creative writing circles. We warmed up with ‘what’s in a name?’ I’m intrigued by the power of the word, but also by its limitations – for there are some things we can’t put words to, no matter how rich our vocabulary. I believe that’s one of the beauties and strengths of poetry, for it plays with words and uses them in non everyday ways to hint at a truth that evades logical description. The best poets lay pathways that lead us into a new we can not turn back from, because we’ve felt a truth, and we can’t undo or unknow wisdom that’s touched at a cellular level, however much we try to deny.

 

Anyway, I’m going off the point! So then we did one of our ‘gathering’ exercises, sending out sticky blank pages to collect thoughts like a bee harvests pollen. On one side – images of fragility, on the other, images of strength. When it came to reading the lists aloud, a couple of people were unsure whether they were on the correct side, a beautiful illustration of the fact that these two qualities are deeply interrelated. It is sometimes when we are at our most fragile and vulnerable that we discover or demonstrate our strength, and it is sometimes in intentional displays of strength that we reveal our fragility.

 

Anyway, I digress again! After sharing and digesting this image gathering I asked each person to write a poem exploring that edge, that threshold, that mingling, that inter-relatedness between strength and fragility. This is what I wrote:

 

You held me

stroked my hair

lifted me

with my hands in yours

you guided, taught, shared

hands full of strength

who’s palms against my being

were like roots and rocks all at once

now have skin that cracks

spots of age that can be read

like the circles in a tree trunk

enough to play join the dots

and draw out the story

of these hands that carry love

invisible and unseen

unspillable in their warmth and responsiveness

that now shake when life’s storms hit

and I hold one

in both of mine

and know myself as root and rock

in hands that stir and lift and chop

to serve and nurture

I hold your hand

in both of mine

and in your eyes

see the strength that hasn’t left

it’s just moved home

 

It’s a tender sweet spot, isn’t it, that meeting place between these two? How would you describe it?

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

Advertisements

Write a wish come true – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

I’ll admit to feeling a little shy in sharing this prompt, because I am aware that, well, you probably ‘had to be there’ to feel the magic. The prompt itself was super simple, but what came out was truly awe inspiring; not just some beautiful writing, but a palpable sense of hope and excitement and power. I’m hoping that the others who were with me last week will send me their stories to share too, but for now, I’ll share the prompt, and then what I wrote in response.

 

Each writer was given three small pieces of paper, and asked to write on each one a wish. These were then folded and placed in the centre of the circle. I then asked each person to write for three minutes about what it feels like for a wish to come true. This was not going to be read aloud, but was an opportunity to align with that experience. I then asked each person to pick a wish from the centre of the circle, open it, and then write about that wish coming true. How was completely up to the imagination.

 

I picked: The Earth’s Healing

 

IMG_3037 (2).JPG

 

This is what I wrote, in ten minutes, unedited. As I said, I hope to be able to share some of the other stories with you soon too. Enjoy 🙂

 

Once upon a time, though not so very long ago that your great grandparents wouldn’t have been there, but long ago enough that I must tell you the story, because you were not there, and you need to know so that the wisdom and love required then lives on to be used again, should you ever face the challenges we did…

 

It was a spring, much like the one which is about to come to life now, but there was a discord; the warmth and the rains came at unexpected times, and nature couldn’t recognise their rhythm. Some life came forth before conditions were ready to welcome it, and storms raged, as if the very earth, the same mother beneath your feet now, was crying out in pain. Many ears remained deaf to her suffering, but somewhere, someone was listening.

 

That someone was just like you; a human being, with a beating heart, and a curious mind, and a little piece of life’s miracle living only in them. They listened, and knew the task was big, and they were small. They listened and knew that the little piece of life in them was like a candle; small enough to be blown out, yet strong enough to light many others, without ever losing any of the brightness of its own flame.

 

Small things can grow, but nothing can grow from nothing. So this listener did as the voice they heard told, began to care for the world they met with each step, picking up litter, buying food that was unwrapped, and smiling as they did so. Not a forced smile, but a true smile, for taking small steps felt good, and that feeling shone into a smile, which, like a candle, lit smiles on the faces of others, who began to listen too, because they too wanted that good feeling.

 

And so the listening grew, and spread, and little steps became big steps taken together, and the air was cleaned, and the seas were cleansed, and the trees were recognised as sacred bridges between heaven and earth, planted and revered until spring came again. But this time, the warmth was just right, and the rains came just so, and healing began to grow.

 

What do you wish? Now I dare you to make it come true, with just a pen and a blank sheet of paper, where anythings’s possible…

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

 

Natural Rhythm, interrupted – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Before holding my weekly writing group last Friday, whilst doing my morning pages (follow links below for more information about this practice) I found myself exploring my personal understanding of the words routine and rhythm, and the distinctly different ways I respond to these two words.

http://juliacameronlive.com/basic-tools/morning-pages/

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/oct/03/morning-pages-change-your-life-oliver-burkeman

In brief I wanted to reinstate some daily routines I know serve me well (morning pages among them) but it felt too ‘shouldy’. Cultivating them as part of a natural personal rhythm, on the other hand, felt playful, responsive and a joy.

I often make use of what’s alive in me when preparing these sessions, so we began with a three minute warm up, where I invited participants to write freely in response to the phrase ‘a break in the routine’. There was palpable joy, rebellion, freedom and relief among the responses.

Later, I gave each writer three small pieces of paper, and asked them to write on each one an example of a natural rhythm being broken or interrupted. We folded these up, placing them in the centre of the circle, and then we wrote for three minutes on what it feels like when a natural rhythm is broken or interrupted. This piece was not shared, rather it was intended to feed into the main focus of this prompt – to write a story inspired by one of the examples written on the pieces of paper in the centre.

I was very moved by the powerful narratives that grew from these humble beginnings, the imagination on display was truly impressive. However, for now, I have only my own response to share. When I opened the little piece of paper I’d picked it said ‘a guitarist breaks a string’ (written in just 10 minutes, raw and unedited!)

 

The silence was like friendly walls, keeping the world out and the drama in. Breath was held and the dancer stood; bold, beautiful, staring out at somewhere or something nobody else could see, except through her. The audience anticipated seeing the story stamped out before them, and waited for the opening line.

The guitarist and the dancer exchanged a nod, and the silence went darker, deeper still. The story began, music and movement joined by the lightest, tightest of threads, each giving the other full freedom and full support. It was a story of love, betrayal, strength; stamped out and strummed out, sending this world within walls spinning.

A guitar string breaks, the sound alters, missing a thread. The dance continues. As the guitar goes silent and still, someone begins to clap, another to sing. The dancer has not missed a beat, and the broken string has spun a larger thread that binds the audience into its own living, breathing musical instrument of many parts. They take their cue from each other, and from the dancer, finding and creating the melody in each magic moment.

Another guitar has been found, and the guitarist picks up the story again, but the audience continue to feed their music into its phrases. The collaboration is fed by all the lives lived, hearts beating together, woven through with their own stories of love and betrayal and strength. The dancer opens her body to let her feet find the rhythm of it all; the rich, full mess of the every life. 

A final strum, stamp, clap. The silence is back, like the closing of a book, and each audience member carries a volume away with them, but each story has a different title, and the events within are unique too, bound only by the threads of love, drama and life’s dance.

 

That afternoon, at home after the session, I searched for local Flamenco classes. Sometimes writing has a very direct impact on my life, and the choices I make and adventures I have…

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

“I think of a few of my favourite words…” – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , , , ,

landmarks

I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used in last week’s writing workshop, which was inspired by my having recently read the beginning of Landmarks, by Robert MacFarlane. Here is the paragraph that particularly moved me, copied here from a newspaper article which you can read in full by following this link:

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/feb/27/robert-macfarlane-word-hoard-rewilding-landscape

lost words

First, without having said anything about the background context to the idea, I asked each person to take a sheet of paper and write at the top one of their favourite words (no theme, just a favourite word). That paper was then passed to the right, another received from the left, and another word added until we had a beautiful collection. I then read the above paragraph, and asked people to write a poem in celebration of their favourite words. Of course, it need not include all or any of the ones we’d already collected, for as always I offer prompts with the lightest of nudges – there are really no rules, just a wide and heartfelt invitation to play in that general direction.  This is what I wrote, in 10 minutes, unedited and imperfect:

 

 

Story, a collection of words

phrases and sentences

but also a weaving

a binding, a flowing

of a river that takes you

on a journey

 

I have a story

and it has a beginning

and it will have an end

but the words that fill it

are as life-full and vulnerable

as the elemental environment

 

If I plant wonder and cuddle

and sharing and joy

the earth of my roots

fixes in itself foundations of

magic and kindness

and feasting and fun

 

but stories are being polluted,

like car fumes choking our air,

with thick rooted, thorn stemmed

fear and hatred,

indifference and defense

 

To rewrite the story

mind needs a shedfull of tools;

compassion to cut down the fear that’s flourishing

and throw it on the compost,

and kindness to weed away the illusion of lack

that abundance might be visible again

 

The mind environment,

the heart habitat,

are threatened too

but we all have the word tools

we need to clean it up

let it breathe

let it weave

a journey of wonder again

 

Should you feel moved, follow this link to sign the petition requesting the reinstatement of these culled nature words in the Junior Oxford English Dictionary:

https://www.change.org/p/oxford-university-press-nature-related-words-should-be-reinstated-in-the-junior-oxford-english-dictionary

 

I could say so much more, but I’ll leave that for another time. Suffice it to say, my dear wordsmith, language loving friends – cherish words, use them well and widely!

 

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

The Light is Coming Back – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , ,

A very warm welcome to the first Writers’ Well of 2018! I seem to have had quite an extended virtual hibernation, and my roots and shoots are still only slowly waking, but with renewed joy and wonder at the circles and cycles of life, and the sense of renewal and resilience at its core. One of my favourite of those circles is the group I write with each Friday morning, and I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used last week.

 

Here in the Northern Hemisphere the shortest day passed almost a month ago, and so to acknowledge and celebrate the slow but sure lengthening of the days again, I asked each person to write a word or phrase in response to the theme ‘the light is coming back’ on their individual sheet of paper. That sheet was then passed to the right and added to, until we’d collected an abundance of images and ideas. And from those, my fellow alchemists of words and I were tasked to mix and stir and form a poem, in just 10 minutes!

 

This is what I wrote. Enjoy:-)

 

The flowers know it

or notice it

before I do

and begin to leave

the earth’s dark cocoon

breaching the surface

with green tips

like the summit of palms

met in prayer

pointing to the taller skies –

the light is coming back.

***

The leaves that hid

in dead looking branches

aren’t surprised either

and unfurl from who knows where

(I’ve seen snapped branches,

they’re not inside)

but I mustn’t rush

or frantically search for source

lest I kill the goose

and lose the golden egg –

of the light that’s coming back.

***

Is it old

or is it new

lit from an original flame

and so different, but the same

tracing its origins back to the start

and bringing life with it

touching with rays that wake

the spark that knows

it was there at the beginning too.

 

Funny the things time can so

when the light is coming back.

 

 

Wherever in the world this finds you, may you be touched

and inspired by the light of New Beginnings.

Many blessings on the year ahead!

Be Well, Be happy, Be Peaceful.

 

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

 

 

 

I used to believe – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Roald-Dahl-quote-on-Believing-in-Magic

 

I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used in one of last week’s workshops, which we had a lot of fun with. It left a sweet, tender feeling in the heart…at least in mine, for sure!

We began by each passing round a sheet of paper on which we had completed the sentence ‘I used to believe….” then passed it to the next person, who would add another – passing on to the right, receiving on the left. Once we’d gathered a few ideas I explained the task.

Each of us would begin a story which had at the centre of it a character who USED to believe something, was showing in some way that indeed they no longer believed. Then, after five minutes, we would pass that story to the person on our right, who would then complete the story, and in their five minutes, would turn it around to show the person beginning to believe again. This is the story I and my creative collaborator wrote:

IMG_2868 (2)

“Why, why, just when she had to leave must it start raining? It had been dry, if not sunny, all day, but now, as she left work, and had to walk the half mile or so to her car, the skies had opened. As she took a deep breath, and pushed the door open, she forced her way onto the rush hour pavement. It really was like driving. You had to look over your shoulder and change lanes, or you’d likely crash into someone, head down against the rain, not looking where they were going.

She was almost at her car when she saw a child in a bright raincoat and wellies, running along with the woman holding her hand – her mother – and facing up, eyes closed, to catch the rain in her mouth. She smiled, and tried not to stare. Then she was there. She pointed her key at the car and pushed the button to open the doors. Lights flashed. She smiled again. It was like magic. She shook her head. Of course it wasn’t magic – it was an electric…something.

She eased her way out of the car park, peering through the waterfall on her windscreen. Wipers at full speed, she indicated (lovely soft tick, another small wizardry) and drove back up the High Street. People still jostled each other on the pavement, coats slick with many colours. Their strange dance seemed more urgent now, as folk began to hurry home. Cars were accelerating to get through the lights; impatient pedestrians crowded on the kerb. And there were the little yellow wellies and raincoat, her happy face turned up to Mum as they waited. But a heavy set man stumbled into them, knocked into Little Yellow, and sent her flying into the road. A car was speeding through the lights, and with horrid inevitability, the ton of steel and the yellow wellies approached each other along their collision course.

“No!” she shrieked, her car immobile at the lights, her hands stretched out in horror. Her fingers reached for the windscreen, reached desperately to the flying figure, to catch her, turn her, save her…

And somehow, the little girl…stopped. Instead of falling straight into the car’s path, her heels seemed to trip on something, the air itself perhaps, and she fell into the gutter, wet and bruised, but safe.

The lights changed. The driver, heart full of delight, continued home.

 

Whatever you believe, this festive season, I dare you to believe it with your whole heart…

i believe

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

People, Play and Purpose – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , , , , ,

I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used in last Friday’s workshop, which sparked much reflection in me, and I believe others. I continue to explore some of the thoughts and ideas it brought up, but for now let me simply share what we did, and what I wrote at the time.

For me this is the time of year for reflection, looking back on what has been and harvesting the juicy stuff, whilst throwing the rest on a glorious winter bonfire – right? It might seem a little early to some, as we’re not even in December yet, but I can easily get wrapped up in other stuff (!) in December, and then come to New Year and – oh? There’s another year gone? So no harm in starting early:-)

So, super-simply, I gave everyone three minutes to make some notes on the following topics, as they reflected on the year that has been; People, Play and Purpose. When those three minutes were up, those notes were used to inspire a poem written in 10 minutes. The notes themselves were not shared or read aloud, and I personally only touched on a few things in this poem, so the notes will no doubt be a potential source of further writing inspiration. For now, I share with you the poem I wrote:

 

Play is my hot air balloon,

my purpose a clumsy anchor

that play can help me lift,

if I trust its lightness

to hold such weight,

for I do not wish play

to float away

and disappear me beyond beyond,

for who would I find there?

What would I do?

For sure I need an anchor too.

But roots aren’t heavy,

plant pots can move.

I want to play my purpose

into carrying me,

instead of the other way around,

forge it in a fire

that leaves all unnecessaries

light and blowawayable as ash

and all essentials

bright and portable

ready for the journey…

but don’t search my pockets,

rather let’s both

reach into our own depths

and reveal

on one…

two…

three…

the world we hold

in the palms of our hands.

 

I just LOVE the interplay between play and the profound, for it seems in my experience that it is often in the most apparently frivolous moments that I let myself go enough to get a sense of something deeply true, which I then can receive lightly – know what I mean?

Blessings on the People in your life,

and may Play and Purpose dance in you

that your days may be full of joyous meaning…

 

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

Let the way of the heart…Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , ,

I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used in last Friday’s workshop, which warmed us up beautifully for a very thought provoking session. More on that another time perhaps, but for now, the way of the heart…

Let the way of the heart

Let the way of the heart

Let the way of the heart shine through

We sang this simple chant together several times and then, after a few moments of silence, we just wrote for three minutes, whatever came. I found this beautiful version on YouTube. Why don’t you take a brief moment to listen, sing along if you wish, and then just write…

 

This is what I wrote:

The heart is so welcoming, turns nothing away, when left to its own devices. It’s not a matter of forcing, or doing – rather of letting be, giving the heart permission to return to default. Maybe that’s what silence does, like the magic of turning a computer off and on again – silence returns the heart to default, and turns it into Rumi’s Guest House again. It’s grace, effortless, and it’s bigger than me – this ‘way’. And I do not carve, or make, or create it, I follow it – I observe, respond and allow myself to be guided by the song that calls, the light that leads, the heart that knows…the way.

 

And as I’ve referenced it, if you haven’t met Rumi’s Guest House before, here it is…Enjoy!

rumi-poem-page00011

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

 

Are these yours? – Writers’ Well

Tags

, , , , , , ,

laundrette

I’d like to share with you one of the prompts I used in last Friday’s workshop, which sparked much hilarity and excitement, however simple and apparently mundane! It began with my asking people to note down three possible reasons people might need to use the launderette. I then gave each writer two small pieces of paper and asked them to write, one on each, an item of clothing, in as much or as little detail as they wished. These were then folded and placed in a box from which each of us took a single one, and proceeded to write a story which had to begin with:

“Are these/is this yours?”

After we’d shared, we found we’d so enjoyed listening to the stories that we spoke of putting them, format to be decided, in the local launderette for others to read! I’ll let you know if that happens! However, as a starting point, five writers have agreed for me to share their wonderful and wildly unedited work here – all written there and then in just 10 minutes!!! Amazing:-) Enjoy!

 

At the launderette

“Is this yours?” the red-haired bespectacled woman said in the primmest of voices. “I said ‘Is this yours?’” She raised her voice and glared at me as if she was holding up a little lacy black thong number, something sensuously out of bounds. The snigger in the corner got louder. I wanted to say ‘Of course not, mine would be pretty and sexy; I wouldn’t be seen dead in that thing.’ “Err, yes it is thanks” and I moved towards her, holding out my hand to take my Mrs Doubtfire bra back; beige, shining, big and very comfy, it brought laughter to my daughter and granddaughter but they weren’t standing in a busy launderette trying to impress a charming grandfather who had the ease of a relaxed man, glistening white hair and a face rugged and interesting that had stories to tell.

I turned my back, embarrassed. He carried on talking as if nothing had happened and inside I thanked him. The conversation flowed, my heart opened and I fell into his wide, bright blue eyes.

The washing machines stopped. We loaded driers about the same time. I put in extra money in the hope he would too. We sat back down. The laughter came, the smiles became more frequent, the eye gazing wondrous. I told him about my grandchildren, he told me about his life on boats. I made him smile with my shyness, he made me laugh out loud with his humour.

The machine noise stopped and I pulled out my hot, still slightly damp clothes, haphazardly, and untidily, pushing them into my bag.

And when the charming man asked ‘Care to join me for a cuppa in the café next door?” I answered, quietly and with pleasure, “Yes please”.

***************

ARE THESE YOURS?

‘They came out of my basket but I’m pretty sure they’re not mine’

Not my size or colour – after all they are even a real pair in their own right – even though well worn, ‘used to be white’ – no holes yet but threatening!

‘Are they yours?  Or yours?’        ….no they wouldn’t be yours either!

Being a regular I get to know the other regulars and recognise the newcomers.  I’m just trying to work out who might be missing ‘em – or not – maybe pleased even they’ve gone missing and too embarrassed to claim.

Ah – ‘ere comes Betty one of the Friday regulars – small wash, dry, sits and chats the hind leg off a donkey.  They wouldn’t be ‘ers.

Ooh!  Busy day today – someone new,  rather posh, not often see that type – they certainly won’t be ‘ers either.

Never mind eh? – they can’t be that well loved.  I mean – just look at the state of ‘em.

Were they for tennis? running?  school?  bed?  Who on earth wants white socks in the first place?

Why am I so obsessed with these darned socks – albeit not darned – yet!

‘Allo Fred – you’re a bit late today.  Been to the Bookies yet?’

‘Yeah I got a hot tip – an outsider at Cheltenham – 3 to 1 – good new racer from Lansdown Stables – pretty little mare named The Missing Sock!’

‘Funny that – I hear there’s a pair’

by Jenni A

****************

Are these yours he said as he pulled out a pair of shiny leopard skin trousers from the drier. On no, they are not mine, but it’s nice that you thought they could be I reply. The young man smiles – Well you could you know you’d get away with it! I laugh and turn back to folding my own clothes. The grey cardi buttoned all the way up to the top. The sensible skirts and mannish trousers. How ironic I think – he could have thought that the leopard skin trousers belonged to me. Perhaps he had sensed my inner wild woman. The one who wants to wear long flowing brightly coloured skirts and funky headbands and wear short skirts over jeans and grow her hair long. That would be the day I think to myself – I know my hair would take forever to grow into long flowing locks if ever. But, those leopard skin trousers had made me think – why not, why should I stay the dowdy middle aged woman – who or what was I hiding from.

I finished packing my washing away and as I went out I quietly put the leopard skin trousers that he had placed on the bench into my bag. Well, you’ve got to start somewhere I told myself . . .

by Hilary B

************

“Are These Yours?”

“Are these yours?”
It was a reasonable question. The item I had taken out of the tumble dryer was a pair of Levi 501 jeans with button opening flies and the person I addressed was a young man of shining muscles sat on the launderette bench in his underpants.
He stood up – I struggled to keep my eyes on his face – and walked over to me. Gosh it gets hot in these places.
“No ma’am, they’re not”. American accent. Am I in a movie suddenly?
“Umm…” A small man, unnoticed until this moment, had made the sound. “Umm….I… that is, they’re mine”.
“But you’re wearing jeans already.”
Clearly I wanted it to be the movies, I wanted those shiny, ripping muscles to have something to do with me. The little person blushed,
“Yes, well, I have more than one pair of jeans.”
“What? Oh, yes, of course. I’m sorry, here you go”.
Mr. Muscles had sat down again and I handed the 501s to the small person.
“Oh, just a minute – there’s something else in the machine. Maybe it fell out of your pocket”, and I handed him a small card, water rippled and crackled by its adventures over the last hour. I couldn’t help but notice (honestly) that it was a card from a local dating agency. How did I recognise it? The same one was sat on my desk at home.
“Don’t be a shrinking violet”, I’d told myself. “Get out more. Meet some people. Maybe you’ll meet the man of your dreams.”
I had – in the launderette: the insignificant man who owned two pairs of jeans (at least) was my date. We met in the cafe next door half an hour later, he is his clean 501s, me in my favourite – now shrunken unfortunately, though he didn’t seem to mind – violet jumper.

***********

“Are these yours?”

The launderette had been empty when he arrived through his new method, but now all the machines were whirring around like clocks. Even so, everyone heard.

“Oh no!” he thought. “Not again!”

As time travel was new to him he hadn’t quite got the hang of it. Sometimes he regretted going to that Totnes workshop. All he was trying to do was give his clothes a wash before he somehow found a way to slip back.

The launderette assistant held a pair of thigh length boots aloft for everyone to see. He’d hidden them behind a rickety stack of plastic laundry baskets. He’d hidden himself there too, for as long as he could. (Elizabethan underwear would draw attention.)Of course the feathered hat and boots didn’t need to go in the wash.

Four pairs of curious eyes swivelled in his direction. How embarrassing.

“Er..yes,” he said but the rest got awkward as he found himself speaking in rhyming couplets. He’d obviously spent too much time away from the twenty-first century. A tumble-drier whirred to the end of its cycle.

“Thank you,” he managed to say, with a blush. She placed them on the centre of the floor and retreated disdainfully behind a door. There were giggles.

This was going to be tricky. Timing was everything. He retreated to put on his beautiful breeches and embroidered jacket as things quietened down. The launderette would need to be empty. All the machines including tumble-driers needed to be still. And then there was the very particular curve and angle for launching himself through time…

He flung himself into the empty washing machine just as the town clock struck midday, grabbing his thigh length boots as he went. If he got the timing just right, he’d get to The Globe just in time to see that new play Shakespeare was doing. If not – it would be a long journey in the spin cycle. Hmm… It was looking as if he was going to have to do that Level 2 Time Travel workshop after all .. that is, if he ever managed to get the hang of the timing on the door lock, and get back to Totnes again on the right Saturday morning….

by Wendy W

 

 

 

If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/upcoming-writing-workshops-and-some-prompts-for-you-to-play-with/

and here:

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/writing-prompts-the-elements/

Poetry in three – take two!

Tags

, , , , , ,

Last Friday, while on a half-term break from the weekly writing workshop I lead, I followed through on a personal promise to warm up my three-minute poetry writing skills for real, in preparation for several upcoming events.

It was a truly magical morning, during which I went to the cafe in Exeter Library, and asked if I could write three minute poems for their customers while I drank my coffee. These people would give me a subject of their choosing, I would write the poem in three minutes, and then, if they liked the poem, I would invite them to make a donation to the cafe’s fund, which pays for a coffee for those who can’t afford one. In just half an hour I’d approached five tables, written three poems, and had £15 pounds to donate, as each person who’d received a poem had given me £5, and enough tears/smiles/appreciation to fill my heart to bursting.

I could have continued but I didn’t wanted to push my luck, or break the spell, or get  greedy. I’m sure I will become more accustomed, but it really is a very powerful and connecting experience. When a total stranger reads and receives my words, and responds with tearful eyes, material generosity and an emotional exclamation that I’ve truly captured something of their own thoughts and feelings, that is just…well it’s pure energetic alchemical gold. It’s also the closest I come to the experience of knowing that I receive all that on behalf of something much larger than individual little old me. During those three minutes something is gifting me, and I am accepting my role as the one allowing that gift to be passed on by making it manifest. That is an honour.

“That’s amazing!” said the cafe manager as I gave her the £15  “you should come again!” Indeed I intend to. You can read the poems in the photos. Remember these were written in just three minutes so no, they’re not brilliant, they’re far from perfect, but they spoke to the people they were written for…and that’s all that matters.

 

Poem for a priest2

 

 

Poem baby rose

 

poem about music

I’m very much looking forward to writing in collaborative circles again, both tomorrow and Friday, feeling creatively re-inspired and deeply re-affirmed in my belief in the potential power of poetry, and in general spontaneous writing in from a place of heart, humility and courage.

May you too know the experience of being blessed by the act of blessing another, until there is no distinction between the gifter and the gifted.