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Writing Prompt Wednesday

February 14, 2018
mandyevebarnett


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List a few phobias you have. When and how did you discover you had these?

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My ‘phobia’s’ are rather bizarre to say the least. Firstly, as a child I had a recurring nightmare, which was so vivid I would wake with terrible stomach and back pain. The source was a rhino’s horn penetrating my body! In the dream I was at a fancy ‘garden’ party with marquees, waiters, lavish tables, musicians – the works. I was still young and attended with my parents. The setting was Africa on the boundary of the wilderness. (I was born in South Africa).

A rhino thundered towards the garden party scattering the guests in all directions, it also pierced through me as it exited the scene. I could feel the horn through my body and the jarring as the animal ran across the savanna. I could hear screams behind me as the guests realized my predicament. This is the moment I would wake up.

Many, many years later, when my daughter, a born animal whisper wanted to visit the rhino house at Longleat Safari Park, UK, I tried to get her to go on her own. Up to that point I couldn’t even look at a rhino photo images on the TV. She was insistent I went with her to stroke the animal. As we entered the rhino house my fear grew. My daughter went up to the rhino, who was leaning against the massive metal bars and patted it’s hide. She held my hand as I did the same. It’s hide is incredibly solid and rough and I was amazed at how it felt. This encounter lessened my childhood fear in a way I did not think possible. I can look at rhino’s now but still find I turn away when the images are of a charging bull rhino.

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My second ‘phobia’ became apparent once I became a mother. The feelings of love and protection were (and are) so intense that I worry about my children’s safety and well-being. Even now when they are adult’s, I still worry about them (I am often teased because of it but the ‘cord’ is never cut – as we mother’s know only too well). Again I had recurring nightmares of this situation, which in a dreamscape is perfectly reasonable, of course. Bearing in mind at the time I was living in England and the situation was far from possible, the dreams were all too real to me.

Once again the dreams were vivid and I had the sensation of the bitter cold. Upon waking I would be shivering. The dream situated me with my two small children on a mountain side where an avalanche roared down towards us. I grabbed a child under each arm and ran to a rocky outcrop, where I held them tight under the overhang. As tonnes of snow poured over us I clung as tightly as I could to ensure each child was not ripped from my grasp.

Once the torrent ceased, we were buried in a capsule of snow and ice with a small pocket of space around us. As time passed, we became colder and colder and I understood I had to find a way to keep my children warm. (Now remember this is a dream and anything is possible in a dream!) I had the children put their feet and hands on my torso and that worked for a while but I could feel my extremities heat lessening. So the best way to keep the children warm was to put them ‘inside’ me where it was very warm. I cut my torso open and made the children crawl inside.

This is the moment I would wake up.

So now you have a glimpse at my psyche – how about you share too?

Parched of ideas…

January 28, 2013
mandyevebarnett


Parched – definition : to wilt and dry out from heat.

Another descriptive word, which does the job of a long expositional sentence defining the landscape. But let’s look at it another way. What if we are ‘parched’ for ideas?

We have all stopped short in the midst of a scene unable to see where it is going or sat down to begin a new story and drawn a blank. Hesitation is the killer of ideas, in my opinion. Instead of worrying at which point to begin – just write what comes, the refining can come later. If seeing the words on the screen distract you and your inner editor wants to revise try this trick. Cover the screen with a tea towel or another piece of cloth! Sounds strange I know but it works. You can type what comes into your mind without the distraction. Obviously this trick doesn’t really help when you are writing in  a notebook! I’m still working on that one.

Another ‘mind refresher’ is to look out of your window and write what you see in as much detail as you can.

Nuggets of ideas are transient at best so don’t lose them agonizing about how to incorporate or formulate them. Let it flow until you come to a natural halt. These small ideas may fill up note books or  ‘idea’ folders on your computer, just keep them. At some stage they will come into  their own as a scene, a short story or even the basis of a novel. I have scrolled through mine from time to time and not remembered writing some of them. It is like discovering old friends.

This is true for prompts as well, which I have found to be exceptionally helpful (and fun) when my mind is parched. Looking back on ‘scribbles’ is a great way to reignite your writing flow as well as a great source of character profiles and scenes. I have developed a whole novella from several prompts (The Rython Kingdom) and my children’s book Rumble’s First Scare was created from one prompt.

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One resource I use is the featured book, Writing Prompt Journey http://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/retail/books/writing-prompt-journey-road-your-creativity    This excellent book is a compilation of prompts with several responses from other writers after each. You can either respond to the prompt and then read the other interpretations or visa versa. I find it very interesting to see how another writer uses the same prompt and how it sparked a entirely different idea in their mind to mine.

Of course the internet is also full of writing prompts and exercises but it requires quite a period of time trolling through them all. Another resource I use often is http://www.wfscsherwoodpark.com where there is a prompt put up every Saturday on the calendar.

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You may have your own favorites, which is perfectly fine but may be try something new occasionally, you never know where it may lead.

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