“The aspiring poet is constantly lowering a bucket only half way down a well. coming up time and again with nothing but empty air. The frustration is immense. But you must keep doing it anyway. After many years of practice, the chain draws unexpectedly tight, and you have dipped into the waters that will continue to entice you back. You’ll have broken the skin on the pool of yourself.”
– SEAMUS HEANEY
Welcome to this regular slot each Wednesday, which I call Writers’ Well because: it’s intended to be a source of nourishment and inspiration for the writer in you, it expresses my belief that creative writing can benefit our well being on many levels, and…I love the above quote from Seamus Heaney. It gives me goosebumps every time. It also resonates with my own intention when leading writing workshops. It’s not about producing good writing, it’s about brave, real writing. Writing that goes down deep within to draw up something unexpected.
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 (allow about 15 mins total) is called…Magic Glasses
Imagine you had a pair of Magic Glasses. These Magic Glasses will allow you to see anything you want to see, but can’t right now. First, make a list, speedily and spontaneously, of about 10 things you would like to be able to see. If you’re doing it in a group, you can pass your list round to the right after each item and add to each others so you get some creative cross pollination of imaginative ideas.
So, you have your list, which was intended to wake your imagination up. Now choose one of those things, or something else if a new idea comes to mind as you start to write…
Here is what I wrote:
I’m reading one of his books, but I’ve read it so many times I could almost recite it word for word from beginning to end. Well, ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I could certainly retell the story in detail, and repeat verbatim those key, inimitable phrases and made up words. Such magic! But how did he do that?
I open the drawer and take them out, trying not to remember the last time I put them on because that might put me off. As fast as I can, I hook them round the backs of my ears, close my eyes, and tell them what I want to see.
When I open my eyes again I’m there, in his hut, and I see the old fashioned lamp angled towards the yellow pad on which he’s writing in pencil. I see the pencil moving, hear it even, because it’s so quiet in here. Every now and then he picks up a rubber, uses it, brushes the crumbs onto the floor, and continues. This continues and continues, and I realise I asked wrong. I close my eyes again, and when I open them it’s chaotic! There are chocolate rivers and terrifying giants all lining up before a door that seems to be placed right between the backs of his two eyes. They each wait patiently, knocking politely, and being granted entry, at which point they seem to dissolve into a mini tornado that descends down to the tip of his pencil.
But now there’s a backlog! The line is filling up faster and faster at the back, the knocks are getting louder and more insistent. I find myself pushed out, and I’m there watching again as he puts down his pencil, does up a few buttons on his cardigan as he stands, and makes to leave the hut.
What would you ask to see with your Magic Glasses?
If you enjoyed this prompt, then you can find more here:
And for some added inspiration, here is an interesting TED talk about fear and the imagination.