Equations of opposites – Writers’ Well

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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 🙂 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  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 catch or not

use or discard

as we choose,

depending on the size

of our container

and our willingness

to be curious,

the time we have 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

exactly 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 😉

 

 

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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Synchronicity – Writers’ Well

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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 inspired by the concept of ‘Synchronicity’. This is something that has always fascinated me, ever since I read The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield) as a teenager. I enjoy watching how life plays out, and seeing how really, there are no coincidences; it all happens for a reason. At least, that’s my take on those moments that seem too well timed, too perfect, too unexpectedly ‘spot on appropriate’ to be explained by anything other than a universe rich with wisdom, humour and purpose.

So, back to the prompt! We simply wrote down an example of synchronicity from our lives, passed the sheet on and added to the one we received until we had a variety of examples which we read aloud for mutual inspiration. We then wrote a story, in 10 minutes, either directly inspired by a personal experience, or about an imaginary scenario that incorporated our understanding of synchronicity. This is what I wrote:

 

“There’s nothing more I can do for you sir. We’ve received the paperwork and the process is unfolding. You must wait.”

He took these words with him onto the bus, with the heaviness of a weary traveller carrying the world on their back. The driver clipped a hole in his return ticket and he took a seat on the half empty bus, being careful not to meet eyes or smile.

The panic was making his heart race so fast he put a hand on his chest to stop it leaping right out and disturbing his fellow passengers. What would he say? His wife. His child. They looked to him. They needed him strong.

His shoulders collapsed and he took a deep breath involuntarily, as if preparing to let out all his tears in a single flood; but a voice stopped him, and his breath left quietly, stilled by an urgent yearning to hear. 

It was his language. Someone was speaking his language!

He turned slowly, scared he’d find this to be a dream, a sound mirage spun by an unravelling mind. But no. 

There, three rows back, on the other side of the bus, was a man in his thirties, bouncing a young girl on his knee and telling her a story that was making her giggle and laugh with abandon. Unable to stop himself from staring, he was noticed, and the young girl pointed at him.

The father, or so he assumed, looked up, and the speed with which those eyes both recognised and felt his own pain, hit sharply in his ravaged chest. The stranger patted the seat beside him, and smiled.

“Come, share our story.”

And he did.

 

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/

…light… – Writers’ Well

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And a new season of creative collaboration in a circle of courageous and compassionate creatives has begun! It’s been a joy to return to the weekly writing workshops I teach, and I’d like to share with you one of our recent prompts.

 

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 one that took me by surprise. It was light (:-) and playful, appealing to both the crossword/scrabble part of my mind (though I’m terrible at both – I don’t have the patience!) and the imaginative, creative and lyrical part.

 

Take a sheet of paper and write as many words or short phrases (each phrase can have up to 3 words) containing the word light. If you’re doing this as a group, write one and then pass the paper on to your right, receiving on your left, and adding to the lists collectively. Once this gathering is complete use the ideas generated to inspre a poem (or if poetry is not your thing, a piece of prose or a story).

For example:

delight

the light dazzled

moonlight on water

starlight…. etc etc

 

I actually did this prompt twice this week, with different groups. and I’m going to include both the pieces I wrote in response, because it fascinates me how differently we can respond to the same prompt on a different day, and within a different circle, although now I read them again, there are similarities! Enjoy:-)

 

So, here’s ‘Take one’:

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Will you be my lighthouse?

I fear the rocks

and storms are raging

 

Will you light my nights

oh silver moon

and keep me safe till day wakes?

 

and will you teach my feet

to tread softly

leaving only sole kisses on my path

 

and will you light the flame

that grows wings to lift me

into a flight of faith

 

that gives my perspective

enough height to see

the moving patterns in the shadow.

 

And  ‘Take two’:

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The spotlight is searching

but truth

sinks in the shadows

while the lighthouse

that used to warn

ships of the rocks

remains dark

and the moon does her best

but still the ships come

risking it all

on nights of no welcome

lightning flares

and captures faces

alive with shock

for a bright second

until obscurity returns

as the spotlight searches

the hungry restless waves.

 

Do you have a preference?

 

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/

My Writer’s Box

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Last week I shared a post by http://www.itmeanshappyone.wordpress.com about creating your own ‘Writer’s Box’ in which to collect inspiration and food for the imagination! Well, this afternoon I made mine…

 

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This Writer’s Box is made of Flowers, Failure, Friends and Family, and honours the four elements; one side each for Earth, Air, Fire and Water.

Flowers: because the original box held the base of a bouquet of flowers sent to me by a dear friend, and part of the top is made of crocheted flower petals which were…a

Failure: …because they didn’t turn out the way they were supposed to, and weren’t used for their intended purpose…but I kept them. The scarf which lines the box also failed to turn out well enough to become the gift it had been intended as, but now softens and warms this nest, also fed by…

Friends: several of the items contained in the box were given to me by friends and…

Family: … including the card which I cut up and shared across the box’s four sides:

 

We must not allow the clock

and the calendar to blind us to the

fact that each moment of life

is a miracle and a mystery

H G WELLS

 

As I was making the box it occurred to me that creativity needs us to be soft, open and yielding as FLOWERS if we are to grow our unique gifts, and we must never fear FAILURE for if we do we’re beaten before we begin, and besides, this is how we grow and learn, as long as we have FRIENDS and FAMILY around to support and encourage us when we’re struggling, and to celebrate us when we shine.

 

 

This box of wonders and wanderings – through the memories and thought trails lit up by the responses arising from connecting with these items – will ever remain open and incomplete, as I will no doubt continue to add and use and discard elements of its contents, but I will share with you a few to be found there now…

Images:

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Miscellaneous:

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Gifts from nature:

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Bits of previous creative projects:

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…among other things.

 

While making this treasure trove of trinkets I chanced upon another aspect of creativity:

Creativity is endlessly inventive and generous, for I found all that I needed immediately to hand. The urge to create, if truly opened to, will overcome any obstacles or perceived ‘lack’ and find abundance and beauty in all that it meets.

 

I’ll let you know how I get on the first time I make use of the box, but for now I DARE you to make your own! It’s soooooo much fun! And the process feeds itself – who knows what you’ll find when you start searching… Enjoy!

Blessings

Harula x

 

 

There is a season – Writers’ Well

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Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used in my workshops, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (we did it as a warm-up, so just 3 mins in total) is simply to connect with your favourite season, in that moment, and write about it. I chose Autumn, and this is what I wrote, unedited…

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Autumn is for abundance – bringing in and giving thanks for the harvest, the explosion of colour in the trees and the preparations as we prepare to move into the shorter days. Warm soups and open fires – new beginnings as school terms begin – and we come in from outside and begin to shift our focus inwards, for the light is becoming more golden and tired and the colder weather makes for brisk walks and buttoning up – it’s a transitional season when the intensity of summer’s joy and pace can slow down a little – we catch our breath and give thanks.

I’m reminded, as I type this up, of a song I wrote (wow, five years ago in turns out!) as I drove through a stunning Autumn landscape in the Scottish Highlands singing for my life as the beauty threatened to take my breath away, and not being able to take my hands off the wheel to write it down I had to repeat and repeat so I wouldn’t forget it…

I called it Colour My World…

 

Colour my world with the blue of the free skies

Colour my world with a rainbow of butterflies

Colour my world with the magic of evergreen

Colour my world with the silver of full moon sheen

Colour my world

Colour my world

Great Painter

 

*Chorus*

Beauty my world with all animals running free

Lighten my heart with the laughter that tickles me

Beauty my world

Lighten my heart

Creator

 

Colour my world with the pink cheeks of happiness

Colour my world with the grey on my father’s head

Colour my world with the soft white of feather down

Colour my world with the river’s rich peaty brown

Colour my world

Colour my world

Great painter

 

*Chorus*

 

Colour my world with the dark blue green oceans deep

Colour my world with the bright yellow blackbird’s beak

Colour my world with the red of the robin’s chest

Colour my world with the orange gold pink sunset

Colour my world

Colour my world

Great painter

Oh Beauty my world

Please Lighten my heart

Creator

 

What’s your favourite season?

 

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/

 

 

Lost and Found – Writers’ Well

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Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used in my workshops, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt (allow about 10/12 mins in total) is called Lost and Found. First, jot down a few thoughts around what it feels like to be lost and/or to lose. This can be done on your own or, if in a group, pass the paper(s) around and collect a cross pollination of ideas to get the creative juices flowing. Now, write a short story entitled Lost and Found.

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This is what I wrote:

“He won’t know who you are, but don’t let that worry you. He’s a bit confused. Not his best day.”

It didn’t feel like an auspicious start. It was the first time he’d visited his grandfather since he’d been sent to the home. Mum had told him to wait, let Granddad settle first, before visiting, but he couldn’t wait.

The care worker led him through a series of corridors until Sean heard the unmistakable sound of background daytime TV over muffled chatter, and noted the smell of pink wafer biscuits.

His grandfather was sitting in a comfortable looking brown check armchair, eyes on the window rather than the TV. He didn’t hear Sean approach and shook with surprise when Sean laid a hand on his shoulder. “All right Pops?”

The old man turned a vacant stare from the window to Sean’s face and seemed to scan it in search of familiarity, Finding none, he barked “What do you want? I ‘ent buying nothing young man – I’ve all I need. Now go on with yeh!”

Sean took a step back, feeling warmth rise to his cheeks. “I’m not selling anything. It’s me Pops. I came to see how you were.”

The old man paused for a moment, getting Sean’s hopes up. Then something changed. Panic. The old eyes began to swim in a face at sea. “Where am I? This isn’t – Get away! Get away from me!” He tried to stand, but his right knee buckled and wouldn’t lift him.

Sean put a hand in his pocket and took out a pipe. “They won’t let you smoke it here, but this is yours. You used to let me light it for you if Mum wasn’t around.” He held the pipe out towards trembling hands and watched for a moment as his grandfather reached out, and came back.

“Sean? You brought my pipe. Thank you.”

 

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/

 

Beauty – Writers’ Well

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Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt was our three minute warm up last week.  Very simply, take the word Beauty, immerse yourself in whatever you feel and think of when it comes to that quality, and write – without using the word beauty, or the word beautiful. We wrote for just three minutes. This was my response:

 

Playful and powerful, it winks at functionality and says you may be necessary, but I’m utterly free and superfluous, and nobody can agree on exactly what I am so they can’t give instructions or tie me down. I’m here because I choose to be. I’m here because there’s more to life than what we see, for yes, I am not only for the eyes – the eyes may receive information but they won’r see me unless they’re willing to open up from within – like a window being opened, I bring life alive with freshness and reward life with softness – an ache – that says, ah, you see me now do you – well that’s you. It’s all you.

 

Beauty is a topic I often reflect upon, and have explored on the blog before. Here are a couple of relevant posts that also explore this huge, potent theme.

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/beauty-triple-tanka/

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2013/12/03/leaving-beauty/

https://wordsthatserve.wordpress.com/2014/10/12/the-art-of-ritual-and-reverance-a-good-deeds-post/

 

 

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/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Body scan: Writers’ Well

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Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt was our three minute warm up last week.  All you do is sit or stand comfortably, and do an internal body scan. In other words, pay attention to any thoughts/feelings/sensations as you move your focus from your feet up through your body to your head. We just did a three minute ‘scan’ followed by three minutes writing whatever came, but you could of course extend this.

Actually, I’d had another warm up in mind, but had had a brief chat with the woman who runs the building where I offer the workshop, and my mind had wandered, so I needed something to help me get centered and grounded again. Here is what I wrote:

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LOL – I spelled ‘soles’ wrong 😉

I feel spinning disks in the soles of my feet, and I can’t feel my toes. The socks and boots feel in the way – my feet are hungry for the feel of the earth and the weight of my body which they’re made to carry. They feel too light, too floaty, when I’m sitting. There’s not much to notice on the route up – until I reach my heart – a bit fast? Maybe my coffee was too strong. My neck feels thick and stiff and my head’s heavy, it wants to move and roll around, shift it’s weight, carry less.

 

I’m about to go for a walk with a friend so luckily my feet will have a chance to do their job again and feel my full weight for a bit after a morning of lots of playful thinking…

Take care of it all y’all; mind, body and soles/soul 😉

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/

 

A line of dialogue… – Writers’ Well

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Each week, I share one of the writing prompts used the previous Friday in my weekly workshop, along with an example of what was written in response. Today’s prompt is to take a line of dialogue and use it to start a short story. In our group we each wrote two lines of dialogue, one each on a small piece of paper, folded them up, and then each person picked one. If you’re doing this on your own you might want to write three or four and then pick one at random. I got “Well, that’s just how I’m made.” This is what I wrote in the 10 minutes allowed, no edits:

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“Well that’s just how I’m made.”

“And a good job too, I’d say,” replied her husband, as he pulled her to him and kissed her tenderly on the lips.

“Go on, ya daft beggar,” and she pushed him gently but firmly out of the front door, without closing it. He didn’t look back, but she didn’t close the door until she’d watched him get into the rusty blue old Ford he was too stingy to replace, and too stubborn to let anyone else have a look at. ‘I know cars,’ he would say.

She sighed. Well, that’s just how he’s made. She allowed herself a deep chuckle and closed the door.

She was kneading bread when the call came. It took a few rings for her to clean the flour off her hands. and she picked up the phone, careful not to disturb the photos that grew thick as spring daisies on the small counter top. There always seemed to be more.

“Hello, 63-20-17?” She dusted the photo frames lightly with her finger tips.

“Mrs Crosswell,” said an unfamiliar voice.

“That’s me.” She waited.

“Mrs Crosswell, I have your husband here. I’m afraid we picked him up in a vehicle that, well, frankly, it’s not road worthy. We can’t allow him to drive home in it until it’s been seen to.”

She took a breath. The roller coaster those few sentences had taken her imagination on had left her light headed, and she waited for the relief to take hold.

“The daft beggar,” she muttered.

“What was that Mrs Crosswell?”

“Thank you officer, I’m sure I’ll be along presently. John next door’ll run me over. I’ll be along officer. Presently.”

Just the way he’s made, she thought, shaking her head as she replaced the receiver. Well, she’d be making him when she saw him, and no mistake!

 

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/