Poem for the day

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Writing Prompt: Tongue Tied

There are so many times during each day when I hold my tongue. I want to say something, but don’t because I know that the repercussions could be severe and unpleasant. At other times, I want to say things to people that I know will change how we deal with each other and forces me to keep still.  Each of us has things that we want to say, but good sense holds us back.

All of these things are frustrating,but nothing is worse that having no words at all. I stood talking with a group of people the other day, when an uncomfortable silence descended upon us like some horrid cloud. I looked from one face to the next searching  for inspiration, for something clever or engaging to say, but nothing came.

I searched the eyes of my friends and thought of a few subjects I could have raised had I been alone with each of them, but there was no common denominator, nothing I could say that would not exclude someone else in the group, so I remained silent. It wasn’t until after we had all parted company that I though of things I could have said to break the deadlock.

 If I could have that night (like so many others) over again, I would have done something different.

Have you ever been tongue tied only to think of the perfect thing to say when it’s too late?

try this – write a to someone, saying everything you wish you had said and didn’t…

Writing Prompt: The Times Are A’Changin’

I woke up this morning completely unaware that the clocks had gone back and that I was in possession of another waking hour today. I’ve been ill for the past few days, shivering and sweating in my bed with my DVD player and laptop to keep me busy. I’ve been thinking all day about what to write. A few things occurred to me. It’s not just the hour that has changed, it’s also the season. Winter is here. My friend Samantha just gave birth to her new son a few hours ago after a long, frightening and difficult labour. She’s safe, they both are and I’m grateful that someone so dear to me is taking a step into another chapter into her life. They haven’t decided names yet, but I’m hoping that like her first child, Cassandra, he’ll be my new god-child.

I’m anxious for something new too. A new city, a new challenge, a new anything. (not kids, that’s what my friends are for 😉 )

I’ve been thinking about some of the people I admire and love the most. They all share something in common. They’re brave, they take chances, they are uncompromising in their desire for something that’s all their own. I guess that’s what I want for myself too. So, a few things to think about. If you had one hour to do anything, with no restrictions, limited to only your imagination, what would you do? If you could take a risk in your life, a real risk that could change everything, what would it be?

Be brave, write it down. You might surprise yourself and you might just decide to do something about it.

Writing Prompt: Voice and Music

Have you ever thought about how everyone’s voice is unique, like a signature? Each voice also has a different effect on each person that hears it. What some people find attractive, others might find grating.

There are some people’s voices that are warm and familiar to me. Family generally feels soothing. My mother’s voice stirs a mixture of feelings in me. Sometimes it’s homesickness, other times it’s frustration. I love her accent, sweet and thick with the sounds of her native country. Strange to some, but to me, her voice sounds like home. I’m filled with the frustration that comes from wanting to hear it in person. I only hear it over the phone every couple of weeks. Sometimes I don’t call, not because I don’t want to catch up, but because it’s painful to be so far away. When she gives me news of home, of things that trouble her, I get angry that I can be there with her and I feel like she’s on the other side of a thick glass wall I can never penetrate.

I have a friend who can calm me down when I’m upset just by telling me it’s ok. His voice has a soothing effect on me and whenever I need to gain a bit of perspective, honesty and equilibrium, I’m straight on the phone. Works every time.

I’ve never been a fan of my own voice. It’s high, American accented, Californian with a touch of English and Scottish expression thrown in. There’s no trace of my Hispanic roots, not even when I speak Spanish. I’m teased for my accent by my family when I try to speak it.

There’s another friend of mine whose voice I love, but can never remember it. When I concentrate, I can’t hear anything in my head, I can see him in my thoughts, but there’s no sound until I see him and he speaks. Odd…

Finally, there are some people who make me feel like someone has stabbed me with an ice pick in the heart when they speak. They don’t even need to be speaking to me before I want to run for cover.  Do you think the measure of a person’s heart can be heard in their voice?

 Try this, think about someone’s voice. Try to remember its tone, expression, does it fill your heart with joy or panic? Now, describe it. Tone, accent, manner of speaking, give the characteristics as much life as possible. Draw comparisons to other sounds so that the reader can almost hear it through your words.

Writing Prompt: Touch

When writing, people often overlook how something feels to the touch, paying most attention to sounds (dialogue) and appearances (description/characterisation). Look around, there are hundreds of textures all around you. As I sit here, I can spot some of my favourites. Titch is sitting on the arm of the sofa next to me, every so often leaning her soft, black, furry little head towards my hand and giving it a few licks. I love the feeling of Titch’s little pink sandpaper tongue on my hand.

My hairbrush sits abandoned on the coffee table. I like the feeling of its bristles pulling the tangles in my hair free. On the window sill there’s a crystal vase of yellow roses. They remind me of the walks I often take through the Princes Street gardens. Sometimes, as I pass the flowerbeds, I run my hand along to petals. They’re soft, but have a sort of glossy, almost slick feel to them.

The other day I got caught running in the rain. I was freezing, tired and my fingers were numb, but I could feel every muscle in my body working, even the sting from the sweat and water running into my eyes was worth it. I love the feeling of rain on my skin.

On the other arm of the sofa, my suede jacket is draped over a sofa cushion. It’s too thin for the approaching winter, but I still love the softness of the outer shell. I try not to think of where it came from.

All of these textures, pleasant or not are worth remembering and noting. Here’s a secret, my favourite feeling is a hug.

Try this, look around the room. Describe an object by how it’s shaped and how it feels.  See if you can do this to the point where someone can work out what you’re describing without spelling out what it is.

Have fun.

Writing Prompt: The Eyes Have It

You can tell so much from a person’s eyes. You can tell if they’re happy, sad, tired, lying, honest, angry, sincere. There is something quite disarming about looking, really looking, into a person’s eyes. Have you ever watched someone laugh and see the true feeling in their expression?

Eye colour is also interesting. Now, I’ll admit, I’ve always been a fan of blue, probably because I have such boring brown ones myself, but I spoke to someone recently and was struck by how dark their eye were. I kept looking, trying to see the edge that divided the pupil from the iris. Quite extraordinaly, really.

Some people are able to communicate almost exclusively with their eyes, not moving a muscle or curving their mouth to tell you what they’re thinking, but rather, relying on their eyes to convey messages.

Next time you’re talking to someone, pay particular attention to their expressions and how their eyes change when you speak. Try to describe them in a charater where most of the exchange is based around facial expression rather than pure dialogue. It’s hard to describe in writing, but have a go.

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