Quote for the Day

When we read, we stat at the beginning and continue until we reach the end. When we write, we start in the middle and fight our way out.

-Vickie Karp

Writing Prompt: The Photograph

I sat at the desk and looked around the room seeking inspiration. It came to me in the form of an empty picture frame. I searched my memory for the photograph that was once housed there and found none. I can’t remember the frame being there before. Was it a gift, a purchase at a garage sale, did it belong to someone else?

It seemed strange to me that all around me on the walls and on every inch of desk and table in this room there was a photo in the centre of a decorative frame. But this frame, plain silver and alone rested on the window sill image-less.

Photo can be very powerful things. They can evoke memories, feelings, imagination… Although it’s just a picture, have you ever tired removing the eyes from a photo? You’ll find that it provokes a really unpleasant sensation in most people, even though it’s just paper…

Try this: Create a scene where the main character finds a photograph nestled in the pages of a book, long abandoned. What is the photo of and what memory does it bring back to the character? Alternatively, create a scene where the main character comes home to find a photo missing from their home. What was the photo, who took it and why?

Have fun.

Writing Prompt: The Photograph

Writing Prompt: The Hardest Word

My relationship with someone close to me is damaged, hopefully not permanently, but it’s going to be hard to fix. Have you ever wanted to repair some damage with someone even when you believe they’re partly in the wrong? Sometimes we say hurtful things to deflect from the fact that we’re the ones acting like jerks. How do you put things right? Never under estimate the power of a well written letter. I might try that.

I think at one point or another we all get it wrong and need to re-build a bridge. Sometimes we gloss over the apology or avoid it all together. Think back. Have you ever said or done anything to someone you wanted to take back?

Write an apology. Write what you really feel, then put it aside. How do you feel for having committed it to paper? I’m not saying you have to give it to anyone, this is something for you. Have a go, see where it takes you.

Writing Prompt: The Listener

You have to write through everything. There are times when life throws you a curve ball and you want to give up, throw your pen in the bin and say “What’s the point?”. Sometimes it’s tempting to sulk and feel sorry for yourself or to try to defer your writing to days when you’re feeling better, more inspired. You can’t. Through sadness or joy, thrilled or heart broken, you have to press on and write. It’s a way of living life twice, once in the heart and once in the head.

Funny, it’s when I feel the most desperate and isolated that I force myself to the desk. The journal always listens, it’s never too busy, doesn’t argue, doesn’t judge or reject you. It’s just there, with its smooth pages and narrow lines waiting to be visited, to be filled up with the wanderings of your heart.

Try this. Sit down, right now and write for ten minutes about how you feel. Are you in a good mood, bad mood, sad, relaxed…In short, try to record how you’re feeling at that moment. Write freehand, don’t edit.

Writing Prompt: The Listener

Writing Prompt: The Room

fleur de lisWhen I wandered into the cafe, I felt like I had been transported back in time to my college days.

There were odd posters and paintings from local artists on the walls. The furniture, mismatched and awkward suited the overall thrown-together feel of the place. It was an open planned room with a stage, random fixtures and glass vases of odd shapes and sizes on the shelves. A cuddly-toy bunny sat abandoned on a window sill. The place seemed to say, pull up a chair, make yourself at home, I’m not really fussed, I’m too busy being a tortured artist.

When I entered the cafe, it was sunny outside, summer having just arrived made me wish I had a place to sit and write with a beer and some colourful company to look at, away from the corporate types that litter my usual part of the city. The cafe offered one, anyway. On it’s menu I could choose from coffees in all shapes and sizes and every free-trade tea imaginable, but no alcohol. I opted for Earl Grey and my reaction to getting no lemon and a splash of milk made me realise was heading towards becoming a middle aged and suited snob. Oh dear, I thought. Best knock that attitude on the head and just enjoy the solitude.

I dragged a chair over to a table in the corner and with tea and journal in hand, settled in to write. The characters in the room were full of colour. No one wore black or anything resembling a suit. Nothing grey, nothing that would fit in at a meeting. Just a rainbow of colours from the hair on down to their Birkenstocks.

When I was at university, my favourite place was a mirror of the cafe where I sat writing. It was called the “Fleur de Lis”. My friends and I met there every night to discuss our projects, listen to local musicians and impromptu poetry readings. Even I found the nerve to spout a verse or two, back before the self-consciousness of public speaking settled in. It was a place where we were all freaks and weirdos, all wanting to stand out as unique, where we were all going to be Shakespeares and Mozarts, Hemingways and Picassos. 

The conservative town where it had found it’s own little corner didn’t approve of the comings and goings of the Fleur de Lis’ clientele. When it was time for the young couple who ran the Fleur de Lis  to renew their licence, it was refused. It was handed over to a retired cop who turned our home into a tea house with white doilies and cucumber sandwiches. Our club house was gone and we all had to move on.

When I graduated, I wanted to have something with which to remember those happy days of creativity. So, when the chance came to immortalise that place and the memories it carried, I thought of the proper tribute. With a friend in tow, I handed the artist my drawing and leaned on the table. The sting of the needle didn’t bother me at all, and now I have a reminder that isn’t going anywhere without surgery…

Writing Prompt: The Room

Describe a room and the personality it conveys. Have fun, leave nothing out.

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