“I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately, I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, To put to rout all that was not life and not when I had come to die Discover that I had not lived.”
– Henry David Thoreau
– Henry David Thoreau
If there is a special Hell for writers it would be in the forced contemplation of their own works.
– John Dos Passos
I pulled my laundry from the tumble dryer, dropped everything onto the living room sofa and began to fold. As I reached into the pile I pulled out something that looked remarkably like my favourite merino wool jumper, only smaller, much smaller. In my haste to get all my laundry done in one go, I forgot to sort things and in it went. My fluffy jumper, which once had long sleeves that I could lose my hands in resembled something one would dress a barbie doll in, only it might be a bit tight on her…
Have you every done something totally daft and avoidable through haste? Have you ever ruined or broken something special to you? How did you feel and why was it special? In the case of my jumper, it was warm and I had bought it on a shopping trip with my Mom. Not a huge deal, I know, but that instant I realised what I had done, I felt like a total donut, pillowcase, numpty, airhead, Homer, you name it…
Writing Prompt: Doh!
A perfectly healthy sentence, it is true, is extremely rare. For the most part we miss the hue and fragrance of the thought; as if we could be satisfied with the dews of the morning or evening without their colors, or the heavens without their azure.
~Henry David Thoreau
When I sat at my computer, the blank screen in Word taunted me. I rested my hands on the keyboard, fingers at the ready, twitching to be set loose on the keys. I waited. Nothing happened.
I began to think of things troubling me, of relationships I’m worried about, about the future. Too much, I thought, it’s all a wee bit too much for a Sunday evening.
I closed my eyes and began to type. I hit delete more than once. I tried again. Thank God for the ability to create drafts before it all goes out into the world.
Ok, I though, someone save me. At that precise moment, my eyes wandered around the desk and rested on “Chambers Handy Dictionary”. That’s it! I thought. I opened the book and chose a random word, then a few more in arbitrary pages. Here is my list.
furtive, quibble, stringent, constrict, masquerade
I’ve decided to start a piece based on these words. Pick up a dictionary, select five words at random and make them work together to create a theme. From there, who knows where the idea may travel.
Example: She looked up and gave him a furtive look. From where he sat, he seemed serene, but she, having known him for so many years recognised the masquerade. He was angry. Although she had no desire to quibble with him, she wanted to make peace. To accuse him of hiding his emotions would no doubt bring them out, but to wait until he was calm again was the wiser, if not immediately gratifying choice. No, she would have to wait, let him count to ten, then approach in a day or so.
She wanted to march up to him and shake him out of his mask of calm, to accuse him, to provoke a reaction, but she would be stringent with herself for her and his own good. Nothing good would come of dragging out their dispute for all to see. She rehersed the scene in her head for half an hour, shouting in her head what she most wanted to say to him, until she was worked up. She was stifled, and the repression of her feelings towards him at that moment served only to constrict her breathing. No, this would not do, she thought. I have to have my say.
She stood and wandered towards his desk, ready for a fight. Upon reaching it, he looked up and offered her a neutral, though slightly questioning look. “Yeah?” he said. There was no aggression there.
“Uh,” she started, but faltered. “I’m making some coffees for everyone. You want one?” She said.
“Nope. Thanks, though.” He said.
“Ok, just checking.” She said and made her way towards the kitchen. Whew, she thought, that was a close one. As she reached the kitchen, she thanked God for decaf and self control. Maybe I’m the one who needs time, she sighed…
Writing Prompt: Putting Words in the Blender
The pages are still blank, but there is a miraculous feeling of the words being there, written in invisible ink and clamoring to become visible.
I gave the book one last flick. Drew out my pen and began to write.
“Dear reader, you’ve just wandered into an experiment. The book in your hands had been left intentionally in the hope that someone like yourself will be curious enough to open it. I’m hoping you’ll read and enjoy this book and leave it for someone else. If so, please visit www.spreadingtheword.wordpress.com and let us know what you thought, and more importantly, where you’ve left the book for others.
The purpose of the experiment is twofold. 1. To spread good books around. 2. To see how long the trail will go and where the book will travel next.
If you’re not inclined to read this book, please leave it for someone else.
Thanks, and happy reading.”
I wrapped the book in clear plastic against the elements and wandered into Princes Street gardens. Near the top of the path facing the castle there is a row of benches. I looked around and sensing no one near me, deposited the book on a bench.
If you head over to www.spreadingtheword.wordpress.com you can see which books have gone, where they’ve been left and which are next. I’ll be hoping that this works and curious to see what happens next. I’d encourage others to try the same and drop me a line. Let me know the book and where is was left and I’ll add a page to the site in order to track progress. Good luck.
There are thousands of thoughts lying within a man that he does not know till he takes up the pen and writes.
~William Makepeace Thackeray
If you want to get rich from writing, write the sort of thing that’s read by persons who move their lips when they’re reading to themselves.