There’s a book that I believe should reside on every writer’s bookshelf. It’s called A Writer’s Book of Days, by Judy Reeves. I met Judy at a writer’s conference – she was running one of the workshops – and she’s such a fabulous, energetic spirit who cuts straight through to the quick of things. She taught me to appreciate, nay, savour first lines.
I keep a lot of writing resources on my bookshelf, mostly to do with the mechanics of writing. But this book is a book of inspiration (which I use side-by-side with Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird). It’s for every day practice and it’s for weed whacking your way through to your most authentic voice, when you’ve fallen out of touch with it.
It’s also chock full of writing prompts: 365 of them, to be exact. One for every day of the year. She offers a word or phrase or quote, to make of as you will in a 15-minute freewriting session. For a quarter of an hour, you kick out the censor, the critic, and the editor, and you just respond, stopping only to see more clearly in your mind’s eye.
I did one today, and I thought I would share it with you, raw and unedited. I hope it inspires you to write freely.
The Prompt: Things that enter by way of silence
When I think of things that enter by way of silence, I see an old barn style chapel, where the air is a cozy kind of dark, except for the one ray of light streaming in graceful from a window in the rafters, highlighting dust motes like lazy particles of fairy dust. A white pigeon flies in, floating onto one of the long wooden rafters, its wings cupping the wind like velveteen parachutes.
This is what they look like, those things that enter by way of silence. Secret dreams, unbidden thoughts, a space of calm in a turbulent heart.
They float in unexpected – and yet only mildly surprising, like a good friend dropping by unannounced.
You invited them in because it’s far better than the memos and faxes and emails and noise you’re supposed to be attending to. You invite them in because you suspect real life is lived in the silences in between notes. It’s that lingering space in the air that calls you. The negative space, that throws what’s truly important into sharp relief.
It’s that one ray of God-light filtering into that barn that smells sweetly of hay and sweat, dried grasses and living things. It waits patiently for you to reach out and touch it, to know it is there, except you can’t feel anything of it but its warmth. You know there is something more to it, expanding and immense outside. But you are content to hold it to yourself, here in your secret, sacred barn.
Indulge yourself in a free write and link up with Heather at The Extraordinary Ordinary!