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Each week, I share on this blog one of the writing prompts used in my workshops, along with an example of what was written in response. This week’s prompt was a bit of an experiment, and kinda fun πŸ™‚ I could go into more detail on why and how I came up with it and what I had intended to explore, but I’ll save that for another time. So here goes – Equations of Opposites!

First, we went round writing pairs of opposites, any kind of opposites, for example:


Love Β Hate

Black White


…and so on.

Then, on the next go round we added a + sign and an = sign, and completed this word equation with whatever new word/short phrase came to mind. It wasn’t about getting it ‘right’, there was no ‘right’ answer, just what that combination made you think of in that moment. Here are some examples…



Then, I invited people to write a poem in response, in just 10 minutes, though of course you could use this as a build up to any kind of writing. This is what I wrote:


Life is a smorgasbord

and doesn’t come with a menu

but rather throws us

ingredients we can choose

to catchΒ or not

use or discard

as we choose,

depending on the size

of ourΒ container

and our willingness

to be curious,

the time we haveΒ to stir

and the heat we can brave

as we cook it all up


I’d love to hold your hand

feel your joy

or pain

and claim to know

and offer you

exactlyΒ what you need

to make it all

turn out right

but I can’t

and if I try

I lie

because it’s your pot

you’re stirring

and the fires beneath

are kindled by your dreams

your wishes


but when it tastes bad

or you get burnt

or the pot boils over

I can add a little seasoning

put on some ointment so it doesn’t blister

help you clean up

until you’re ready

for more ingredients

and a new recipe



Hmmm – can you tell I’ve been cooking a lot lately πŸ˜‰



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


and here: