Sisters (and brothers!)

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Slam

From Wikipedia:poetry slam is a competition in which poets read or recite original work.  The performances at a poetry slam are judged by a panel of judges, or sometimes judged by audience response. The judges usually give each poem a score on a scale of 0–10 (zero being the worst and ten being the best). 

I recently said yes to participating in my first poetry slam (!) which takes place in a couple of days, and would like to share a poem I wrote a while back (for my sister’s birthday), which I memorised this morning. It’s the one I intend to use for the first round (!) Enjoy 🙂 And wish me luck!

 

Sisters are doing it

for each other right

building their might

behind not you or me

but us, together, we

can face the world

without a scowl or a smirk

just the willingness to work

at the compassion that says

I know your pain

I’ve been there

I know your joy

I’ve flown there

with wings so strong and free

I was sure I could take the whole world with me,

but they stayed behind, why, I cry

I don’t want this just for me

It’s nothing if not shared, so frankly

what’s the point if you’re not in the sky too

refusing to look down and

racing at the clouds

until they part like a floating white sea

you, me, free

laughing our way over the mountain peeks

until we reach the other side

and fall clinging to each other

through the pain of a landing

that doesn’t break us but sows

the seed of something new

in a soft soil that takes our tears

as invitations to try again

bigger, brighter, lighter, taller

reaching up with the grace of

tender topmost branches

that dance and sway

and leave the flying to the birds

preferring to stay rooted in the earth

because this time it’s not just about the highs

but earth and sky

and everything in between

I mean, love is the trunk

that thickens in circles, expands

with the breath of the years that roughen

the bark and keep the insides wildly tenderly

alive, so thank you sister

for rooting me in the earth

whose darkness I was afraid of

for I never know what I’m made of

until you need me, see me

feed me your belief in the me I can’t

yet see myself but catch a glimpse of

in the light of your love but it’s not enough

to thank you I want to grow you too,

shine so you can see

the best in you.

 

 

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A Key – Writers’ Well

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I’d like to share a super simple prompt from last week’s session, which could be taken in many directions. I’ll also share what I wrote in response, though it feels quite incomplete, and is a piece I may choose to take further.

In my experience this is one of the beauties, one of the fruits, of short bursts of spontaneous writing; they leave you wanting more, wanting to put more pen to paper, more keys to screen, more ideas zooming around inside you. It can be hard to decide which one to catch. A tree knows not all its pine cones will take toot and grow into strong tall evergreens. Life proliferates and then waits to see where the desire and the strength is. So never feel you have to bring each idea to full fruition, that’s not the point. Create, proliferate, and then take the time to see which idea has the juice to grow.

So, the prompt – super simple! Close your eyes (well, you’ll have to keep them open for a second while you read on a bit…) and picture a key, in detail. What does it look and feel like? (Pause) Who’s holding it? (Pause) What does it open? (Pause)

Now, write a story – you have 10 minutes.

This is what I wrote:

There are no lights on, but that’s expected. He still sighs though. Hands go into a pocket full of a collection of bits that is anything but treasure. Still, his hands aren’t squeamish, and they find the hard coolness of the key among the bits of wrapper, stones, crushed shells and undefinable fluff.

He slots the key into the door, and throws his bag at the radiator beneath which shoes are strewn in not-pairs. Coat off. Lights on. Phone pings. He reads. “Running late. Make yourself a sandwich. DO NOT just eat cereal. Back 7.30ish.”

In the kitchen he takes out a bowl and fills it with nutty crunchyness; uses the last of the milk even though he knows his mum will want a cup of tea when she gets back home and will be angry.

He goes to his room. Music on. Shoes off. Phone in palm. Text conversations; plans, complaints. The phone is more ‘home’ that this empty bloody house.

Later. Another key. The same door opening goes unheard over the music. The steps that follow go unnoticed too,  until the knock at his door.

He hears it. Ignores it. It’s more insistent. He ignores it. It ignores his ignoring, and the door opens. She enters, and sits on the edge of his bed.

“Mum!”

“I’ve had a shitty day.”

He sees the red eyes and something opens. No longer a wish to punish, but to soothe.

“Sorry I used all the milk.”

“What? Oh. I hadn’t noticed.”

No words. The music feels loud. He turns it off. Silence. Her tears make him reach out, and she hugs him so tightly he can hardly breathe, but he knows it will pass. It always does.

“Thanks love.” She shivers. “Why didn’t you put the heating on?” He shrugs. She leaves. He hears her go downstairs, picks up his phone. Puts it down again. Follows her. 

 

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/

 

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May I also take this opportunity to draw your attention to a fundraising campaign I have going at the moment, on behalf of a dear friend and her sons in Rwanda. Follow the link for further details. Thank you 🙂

 

https://www.gofundme.com/for-beatha-and-her-boys

 

 

 

 

 

Introducing…The PotentialiTREE!

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Dear Friends

I’d like to introduce you to my ‘other family’ – Beatha and her three sons; Mucyo, Mugisha and Mugabe, who live in Rwanda.

Beatha and boys

The top photo is clearer, but from almost two years ago now! The others were WhatsApped to me just last week!

You can find out more about the background of our friendship on my other blog, most of which was written around the time I last visited, in early 2013.

me-and-beatha

https://beathaandherboys.wordpress.com/

Beatha and I met almost 17 years ago now, and I have been supporting her monthly, with the help of my family and friends, since she left her husband back in 2010 when he became dangerously violent towards her.

Now I’d like to invite your help so that I can continue to support this courageous young family and help them continue to thrive. I’ve set up a GoFundMe campaign…

https://www.gofundme.com/for-beatha-and-her-boys

…to raise £900, which will cover the family’s basic costs for the next six months, while I focus on a longer term solutions AND…

I’m recording and celebrating progress on my PotentialiTREE!

For every £1 donated to my GoFundMe campaign I will colour in one £1 sized circle, and write your name and a single word ‘blessing/gift/wish’ of your choice into it. If you don’t ask for a particular word(s), then the default is LOVE ❤️ The first £300 is the roots/base of the trunk. This will cover the rent of Beatha’s house for 6 months, so she and her sons can remain safe and sheltered. Let’s grow this!

 

In the meantime, here is the story of when I first met Beatha, for you to enjoy!

 

I worked full time teaching in the school, preparing and delivering lessons, running the English Club, learning the languages (most of my day was spent speaking French or Kinyarwanda) and generally finding my way into a new country, culture and climate. I went shopping for food in the local markets, where my bartering always drew a crowd, and prepared my own food on a single ring camping gas stove on which I also boiled all my drinking water. This had to be left to cool and then put through a filter before any thirst could be quenched. I was doing my level best, desperate to prove that I could and would take care of myself. After about a month of determined independence it seems I made a mistake, or cut a dangerous corner somewhere along the line. My stomach blew up to about three times its normal size, filled fit to explode with a gas noxious enough to threaten the climate all by itself. All I wanted was my Mum.

After two visits to the local health centre and three days off school, eating nothing but plain roasted sweet potatoes with no oil or butter, I was pretty much recovered. However, it turned out my getting sick was all the excuse the nuns needed. They guarded my well being fiercely, on all fronts, and insisted I allow them to find me an appropriate live in help.

Within days I was informed that they’d found a young woman who would cook and clean for me, and she was to have the second bedroom in the small bungalow I’d been given to live in. She’d had a simple life but spoke a little French, and the Headmistress, an exuberant and inspired nun named Anna Beatha, knew her through complex family connections that I couldn’t quite understand. I don’t remember exactly how it was decided and agreed upon, but for sure somehow it was. Beatha was on her way.

This was a time of deep and uncomfortable reflection for me. I could acknowledge that I wasn’t coping well on my own. I knew that all the other teachers (and many Rwandans in fact) had live in help. I knew I could pay her a decent wage from my volunteer allowance. However, my idealistic, independent self remained resolutely uncomfortable with the idea of becoming a person who paid someone else to, basically, do their ‘dirty work’. What did that make me? I was already so aware of being different here – the last thing I wanted was to be put in the role of ‘superior’.

But time worked its mysterious magic and I eventually began to see the potential gifts. I’d be able to practice my Kinyarwanda all day, be free to focus fully on my teaching work and give more to the students I loved whose hunger for learning was such a joy to nourish. Most importantly, I’d be giving someone who very much needed it a job. And so, albeit very reluctantly, I became an employer for the first time.

When Beatha arrived it was late afternoon and the sun was already swiftly making its way to bed. I’d managed to buy a local charcoal cooking stove as instructed, but sadly noted that there was not much food in the house. The busyness of school had caught up with me and I felt embarrassment rising, threatening to redden my cheeks. Not much of a welcome. What was she going to make with rice, tomato puree and some sorry looking vegetables? But at least I had oil and salt. I wasn’t very hungry anyway. The idea of employing a live in housekeeper and cook remained an incredibly distasteful prospect to me and it was doing funny things to my newly sensitive stomach.

We weren’t given the opportunity to exchange much in the way of greetings. The Headmistress herself had escorted Beatha over to our little house on the school playing fields and immediately set her up in the kitchen to cook, leaving us with a cheery, ‘Goodnight’. And then we were two. I was left waiting nervously in our tiny lounge, reading my mini English-Kinyarwanda phrase book and smiling at Beatha in that well meaning but frankly exaggerated way that probably looks more frightening than kind and reassuring. After an amount of time that no doubt felt longer as a result of our mutual awkwardness she came into the room and placed the food on the table. “Bon appetit,’ she said with a shy smile, and went as if to leave the room.

Immediately I realised with shock that she thought she was expected to serve me my food and eat hers alone in the outdoor kitchen. More from sharp instinct than conscious choice I touched her firmly on the arm in an invitation to wait and frantically flicked through the dictionary until I found the useful phrase I’d noticed earlier. “We eat together,’ I said. She half smiled and subtly nodded. She’d understood. Relief and joy flooded me, oh God Bless you dear dictionary and may your wise and practical creators joyously prosper evermore!

Without a word she left to fetch an extra plate and cutlery and joined me at the table. We ate our meal in awkward silence, punctuated occasionally by my laughable attempts at small talk which she dutifully struggled to understand. Not long after dinner, we both went to our own bedrooms to sleep…or not. I lay awake restless and wondering if I was right to believe that the evening hadn’t gone too badly. However, despite the adrenaline running through my veins I did eventually fall asleep, filled with questions that buzzed through my mind like a cloud of hungry mosquitoes. I felt the raw edges inside me being found and crossed. Who and what had I become by climbing over these carefully constructed walls of deeply held beliefs?

About six months later, when our mutual trust and firm friendship had been established, Beatha confessed that she’d barely slept at all that first night. Before meeting me, she’d never even spoken to a ‘muzungu’ let alone slept under the same roof as one, and she’d been terrified! She pointed to the cover of my Brant guide book where an impressive silver back gorilla was pictured glaring out at us. In her own way she expressed how fear had been the result of her friends saying that they suspected I might turn into some kind of gorilla like monster during the night and eat her! Although she insisted she hadn’t really believed them, she still hadn’t slept…just in case. I laughed so hard I truly could have cried. However, as my laughter died down I realised in wonder, not for the first time, what a brave young woman stood before me and how much there remained for me to learn.

 

Thanking you in advance for feeding this PotentialiTREE with your generosity 🙂

 

 

 

Strength and Fragility – Writers’ Well

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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/

Write a wish come true – Writers’ Well

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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/