Pilgrimage

 
Writing prompt: Homophones

 
PILGRIMAGE

Right or wrong?
Wrong or write?
Write or left?
I can’t tell anymore
I keep on walking
under the burning son
My sole’s on fire

(Zol H, 2019)

 
Homophones are words that are pronounced the same but differ in meaning. For example: there, their and they’re, mail and male, right and write, sole and soul, dye and die, pair and pear.

Read also Henry Bladon’s Homophones, a grate story first published at 50-Words Stories.

 
Image by ThreeMilesPerHour from Pixabay

Dickens or Montmartre?

 
A time traveler’s dilemma: Great Expectations or a glass of absinthe?

Writing prompt: If you had a time machine that let you spend one hour in a different time, where would you go?

Text: Solveig Hansen

“Coming back in time, changing history, that’s cheating” (young Kirk to future Spock in Star Trek while preparing for transwarp beaming). At that time, Kirk of course didn’t know that he and his crew would do the same (well, at least they did in the original timeline) years later, when they traveled back to 1986 San Francisco (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) to find humpback whales, inventing transparent aluminum in the process, and bring the whales back to their own time to save the Earth.

The concept of time travel captures our imagination more than anything. We tend to forget that we already are time travelers, traveling into the future second by second. Still, it’s not every day you get an opportunity to travel to a different time period, even only for an hour. You might want to get a glimpse of what’s ahead of you or go back to relive an episode in your own life or witness a historic event.

If I were to travel into a time in the future, I would choose an Earth colony in space, there’s no question about that.

Most of all I would like to travel back in time and observe the events as they unfold, like a movie. There’s plenty to choose from:

– Falling of the Berlin Wall
– Woodstock
– The shores of Normandy on D-Day
– Titanic in her final hour
– The very first performance of Beethoven’s mighty 9th Symphony, with the deaf master himself on the stage
– Michelangelo at work in the Sistine Chapel
– And the list goes on…

We could even go back to year 33 AD to see what really happened, or be a fly on the wall at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 AD to see the making of dogmas. Or why not go all the way and watch the very first sunrays as they hit the newborn Earth?

In the end, we have to make do with what we have here and now. And since we already are time travelers, I thought I would find inspiration in the past to take with me as I write my way onwards. No inventing of transparent aluminum, no humpback whales, no tampering with the timeline, just one hour of pure creative input.

I’m torn between two choices:

I could visit Charles Dickens as he works on Great Expectations in his study at Gad’s Hill Place. “Good day to you, Sir,” I shall say. Maybe he’ll say, “Would you like a cup of tea, dear?” I would ask him about the characters in his books. Does he create a full bio for them before he starts the actual writing? Does he know the full story beforehand, or does the story reveal itself as he writes? I would ask him about the role of writers as voices of society vs. entertainers. Things like that. If I told him that I came from the future, would he ask whether he was still remembered? Do people still read my books?

Decision time: In the end, I choose the Paris bohemians at the turn of the 20th century and walk among the writers and artists in Montmartre for an hour. I know we tend to romanticize them, but we need a few rebels from time to time. There may have been destruction, but there was also creation. I raise my glass of absinthe to that.

 
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

To write more, write more

 
Undulate. That’s today’s writing prompt from WordPress. English is not my mother tongue, and I had to look it up:

undulate

“To move with a smooth wave-like motion.” Got it. I’ll “undulate” my way through this post, which is about the usefulness daily prompts have proved to have for the reluctant writer I used to be.

“I sit, I stand up, I walk, I sit down, I get coffee and then some more. I’m not a patient writer. But then, once in a while, I get completely absorbed in the task before me and ideas and words flow freely. The sun sets and when it seemingly suddenly rises again, I’m still sitting there in front of my computer.” This is how I used to describe my writing habits. I really wanted to write on a regular basis, but there was a resistance inside me so strong that it seemed like a physical barrier.

Then I discovered the daily prompts from WordPress. “To write more, write more,” they reminded their bloggers in 2010 and encouraged us to write a post every day in 2011, presenting us with a daily writing prompt. “Yeah, right,” I said but jumped on the challenge, and the resistance faded away as the days and weeks went by. I began to think about the resistance as birth pangs, unborn stories struggling to find their way into the world. There’s only one thing to do and that’s to sit down and start writing.

Another writing initiative I enjoy is the annual NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month, which is actually a global event), modeled after NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) and founded by poet Maureen Thorson in 2003. The challenge is to write a poem every day throughout April. Cinquain, ottava rima, tanka, and pantun have been among the daily prompts, not to forget the dreaded sonnet. I’m a narrator more than a poet and didn’t expect much to begin with, but I was surprised by how easily the words and word-pictures came to me. Come April, I might give it a try again.

In the meantime, I rely on the daily prompts from WordPress to keep my writing going. They are like daily push-ups to keep the writing muscle in shape.

 
WordPress Daily Prompts: Undulate

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 in 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

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 Tom O’Bedlam 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, Notable

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