The power of the word

Words matter immensely. My theory is that they have been traveling alongside us since the dawn of the human race, telling our history. They have inspired writers, been meticulously stated in ink: guilty or not guilty, been used in declarations of war and peace: hate you, love you. They can entertain, inform, and make power-hungry small minds tremble. Through our pens, they pass on the stories of the past, comment on the times in which we live, and leave a mark for tomorrow. If we fail to catch the words as they pass by, they quickly fade away and move on, from writer to writer, always traveling.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: “It might have been!”
— John Greenleaf Whittier, “Maud Muller”

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Theory

Grown-ups always need explanations

 

Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them.
— Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “The Little Prince”

Grown-ups always need explanations, the narrator in The Little Prince says. Once, when he was six, he saw a picture of a boa constrictor swallowing a wild animal. With this picture in mind, he made his first drawing:

littleprince1

The grown-ups thought it was a hat, when in fact it was a boa constrictor digesting an elephant. He then made another drawing to simplify things for them:

littleprince2

They advised him to put away his drawings and become something useful instead. He became a pilot but remained unimpressed by grown-ups. He still showed them his first boa restrictor drawing, and they always said it was a hat.

Later, when the little prince asks him to draw a sheep, he draws a box and explains that the sheep is inside it. Obvious, isn’t it? They both think so.

littleprince

littleprince_cover
The Little Prince, delightful storytelling

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Age

Snippets of everyday moments

On the bridge over the highway, some preschool children were waving at the cars passing by underneath. A truck driver spotted them and honked his horn, and the children jumped up and down in delight. I jotted down the story in my notebook.

At the grocery store, my eyes caught a young woman with a long shopping list and a story started to spin in my head on my way to the milk shelves. Notebook time.

From snippets of everyday moments like these, great stories can be born. Maybe the truck driver is transporting red apples from Italy, and maybe the young woman with the long shopping list will buy some for her apple pie. There’s a line running from a family’s apple farm in the south of Europe to a truck driver spending endless hours behind the wheel, honking his horn at a group of children while missing his own, to a woman with a desperate look in her eyes at a Nordic grocery store shopping for a family dinner she’s not capable of making.

Of course, the beauty would be to write the actual stories of the people we meet. Like the one of the man who stood bent in a 45-degree angle over a garbage bin he used as a stand for his beer cans, hacking and hawking and coughing up a slimy glob that landed a couple of feet away from him. He gave me a friendly “Hello” as I walked by. I waved back. I wonder what his story is. He’s in the notebook, too.

***

Great ideas thrive a great notebook. I have checked out five: Hunting for the perfect notebook

WordPress Daily Prompts: Snippet

Good stories die hard

Timeless classic: When a character you created decades ago — one with red hair, sticky-out pigtails, freckles, strength, and the name of Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Efraim’s Daughter Longstocking, Pippi for short — continues to inspire, both because of who she is and because of her mismatched long stockings. Knit yourself a pair.

pippi
I love these! Found them on Pinterest.

Swedish children’s author Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) was a wonderful storyteller.

A childhood without books — that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.
— Astrid Lindgren

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Knit

My kind of hen

She was the odd one in the chicken farm, smaller, with messy head feathers, and always going her own ways. “She just won’t fit in,” the others complained, referring to their established 8.5 by 11 inches format. Their negative attitude towards her began to change the day she jumped on the fence and crowed, not exactly like an early morning rooster, but with her own distinctive voice. Comfort zones were shaken.

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Underdog

Charles Bukowski: It is Your Life

 
 

Invent yourself and then reinvent yourself and stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.
— Charles Bukowski, from “No Leaders, Please”

Read the full poem below or listen to Bukowski himself reading the poem:

 
NO LEADERS, PLEASE
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
don’t swim in the same slough.
invent yourself and then reinvent yourself
and
stay out of the clutches of mediocrity.

invent yourself and then reinvent yourself,
change your tone and shape so often that they can
never
categorize you.

reinvigorate yourself and
accept what is
but only on the terms that you have invented
and reinvented.

be self-taught.

and reinvent your life because you must;
it is your life and
its history
and the present
belong only to
you.

By Charles Bukowski

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Clutch

My story, my rules

 
 
I hold his fate in my hands. I might show him mercy for what I had him do on page 12, but not just yet. Maybe on page 189, maybe never. My story, my rules, right?

Happy endings are best achieved by keeping the right doors locked.
— Margaret Atwood, The Penelopiad

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Mercy

A Writer’s Nest

 
 
A WRITER’S NEST
In the bitter-sweet world of words
I cannot escape because
they were entrusted to me
when my destiny was carved out,

        I sip coffee from mugs
        with city names on them
        while sketchy characters
        on yellow post-its
        put their lives
        in my hands
        and await their destiny.

This is my writing nest
where I rule and
create worlds within worlds of words.

Zol H., 2017

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Nest