prompt: a way of easing back into writing after taking a break

A blank page can be rather daunting, can’t it? When you want to ease yourself back to writing again after taking a break, there’s often no better way than by responding to a creative prompt. It helps that someone else has done the initial thinking work for you! Though Holy Spirit inspired listening to life is invaluable to me too.

One of my favourite creative prompts to dive into after resting my words for a while is the Twittering Tales series—where we write within Twitter’s character limit restraints in response to a photograph—hosted by my delightfully eclectic poetic friend Kat Myrman, especially because images so often stir creative juices in me.

Today’s offering is more light-hearted than usual and has veered in the direction of both poetry and prose. I hope it inspires you to have a go yourself….

photo by leoperezwildadventure – courtesy of pixabay.com

Few stopped to savour the glorious view spread out before them, or note the delightful sounds of wildlife in the dense vegetation, intent instead on clicking their cameras, thinking only of how they would share some stunning images on social media to impress their friends with.

(278 characters)

cameras poised and eyes peeled
they had no inkling of how their
canoe was sinking, letting in water
enough to pool and wet them well

they were so enchanted by the scenes
before them, and those to come, that they
ignored the feeling of soggy feet until, too
late, it became waist deep at least

(280 characters)

Bearded hipster Harry sat in the back with his face set and grim. He didn’t want to spoil their fun but he knew his situation was getting desperate. As the vessel keeled this way and that as they turned excitedly, he felt his stomach contents protesting with their every movement.

(280 characters)

What helps prompt you to write or helps you to restart after a creative lull? I’d love to hear in the comments below. If you would like to join in you can find Kat’s beautiful blog here and this week’s Twittering Tale prompt here* Enjoy!  🙂

photography: a contemplative way of seeing life differently

 

Every picture (or photograph) tells a story. But what if we were to simply make one up in response to what we see? I actually do that all the time to some extent, when writing poetry to go with a photograph I have taken.

When using photographs contemplatively, the image itself acts as a prompt to stir contemplation and creativity. Words follow soon after. It’s a kind of contemplative seeing via a camera lens.

And an art I am slowly learning with every photo I take. It’s very satisfying to see more than the image presents itself as. To use our imagination and be able to trace God’s hand at work in what is before our eyes. It requires me to still my soul and focus on the object before me, while I take several snaps from different angles to gain a fresh perspective.

Today I am venturing back into the Twittering Tales creative exercise which my blogging friend, Kat Myrman shares on her site, among her eclectic and delightful offerings! I have written three responses, telling a consecutive story.

God inhabits our life story and seemingly ordinary days, making them sacred by His Presence. Our intentional holy-ordinary seeing helps pave the way for growing awareness of His grace in our lives.

Obscured

Almost obscured by leaves
this sign breathes renewed
hope into her sad soul
signalling a new beginning
where joy and optimism
overcomes pain
©joylenton

(139 characters)

 

We hop

She squirms higher in her seat because, at age 5, she can barely read. But she sees “hop we” as indicator of her family being happier here.
(139 characters)

Secrets lurk within

Hedged in by dense
undergrowth, accessed
by dusty driveway
a house stands proud
looks inviting but is
far from it, for deep
secrets lurk within
©joylenton

(140 characters)

 

This week’s photo prompt is based on the image at the top of my post, courtesy of Leigh Heasley at Pexels.com  If you would like to participate in Twittering Tales, you can find the rules and link up advice here.

**Are you interested in discovering more about the practice of contemplative photography? Here’s a helpful book by Christine Valters Paintner that’s on my wish list! My friend, Kate Kennington Steer has a great contemplative eye. Her Instagram feed is well worth following** 🙂

change: when life is far from the cat’s whiskers

change-cats-whiskers-pj

 

How do you view the prospect of change? It can seem exciting for many as they look forward with eager anticipation to the next new experience and all it will bring to them. And for others? It can fill them with dismay and become something to be feared, because change has potential to be such an unwelcome intrusion into our lives.

The longer we stay in one place, maintain a fixed mindset or refuse to move with the times, the harder accepting and adapting to change can become. And it’s often those whose circumstances keep them glued to a place,  stuck fast in their ways, who need (or are forced to endure) a regular routine, who can become wary and weary of doing things differently.

Though unlike cats, who are thought to be gifted with nine lives, we only have one wild and precious life, as Mary Oliver so famously said, and need wisdom in how to live it well. Being overly cautious doesn’t seem the best approach to take if it means we’re living in a limited, less than trusting way.

In my poetic responses to my inventive, creative friend, Kat Myrman’s  ‘Twittering Tales’ photo prompt this week, I couldn’t help but focus on the potential challenges facing this imaginary woman with a cat on her lap. I’ve lived long enough to lose quite a few friends and family members, sat with death and disease frequently as a nurse, and come face to face with my own limitations on a daily basis.

change-cat-photo-twittering-tales-pj

 

Tired, sweetly supine in her

arms, this dear feline friend

remains more faithful than

the rest, whom time and age

gradually removed, dispersed

(140 characters)

 

She didn’t want to go, leave

this house and home, for who

else would know how to take

care of her darling cat or give

her such loving attention?

(140 characters)

 

Then I found myself going in a more playful direction here…

 

She stroked him under the chin

and chuckled deep within, for

none could know this cat now

in sweet repose was none

other than a witch’s familiar

(140 characters)

I’m grateful above all things in this fast paced, ever-changing world for the fact that God changes not. He remains reliably faithful, trustworthy, unchangeable, loving, kind and gracious toward us. We may not always be able to see the way ahead but we can always trust the One who is holding us.

change-cats-whiskers-faith-trust-lamentations-3-22-23-pj

home: our universal ache and longing to belong

home-our-universal-ache-and-longing-to-belong-pj

 

Home is where the heart is, our place of safety, solace and security—or at least it could and should be. Though for many, home is far from a haven. It can often be the very place they long to escape from.

Right from our earliest memories, home remains a place we are either joined together by strong ties of deep love and affection, or feel a sense of disconnection to. Because not all of us are loved well or treated right in our formative years. Not all of us desire to stay or return to where we began our days.

It is natural to develop independence and want to spread our wings when we get to a certain age, but some of us have an inner longing to flee a place where we don’t feel cherished, a home where we don’t seem to fit in or truly belong, a need for a different shelter of sorts.

That’s why God offers us all an eternal Home, a place of grace and loving kindness, a haven of perfect love and peace, an abiding sense of safety and stability and an anchor for the soul of true acceptance and rest. We have a taste of its beauty in this world and glimpses of its magnificence to come.

Meanwhile, His arms are all the safe place and shelter we seek. His love is unconditional, overwhelming and free. His mercy and grace help us to make changes in how we perceive our lives and His healing touch helps us to forgive and move forward again.

Here are 3 aspects of home in 140 characters or less….

twittering-tales-trainwindow

 

He feels a tug to look back

calling him homeward

His eyes realise how vast

the universe can be

He aches to stay as he

breaks the cord to leave

(139 characters)

 

A window seat is a way

to see more clearly, get

a fresh perspective, because

home is anywhere at all

No more or less than

a place to lay his head

(140 characters)

 

“Are you ready for this?

He nods, gulps back tears, turns to take another look outside, where home shrinks small while he faces new horizons. (140 characters)

The thoughts, poems and prose above, were inspired by my creative friend, Kat Myrman,  and this week’s ‘Twittering Tales’ photo prompt she has provided. Just click on the link to read more. You’re warmly welcome to  join in if you’d like to.

What does the word ‘home’ conjure up for you?

Do you feel ready to take a step of faith toward the next thing God has planned for you? 

every picture tells a story – twittering tales #12

arty-photo-every-picture-tells-a-story-pj-pyjama-pattern

 

Every picture tells a story, doesn’t it? The one above is what I call an arty photo. It’s basically an altered image of my pyjama trousers, made into an abstract pattern. Like many a photograph, it is open to creative interpretation and imaginative storytelling.

As regular readers will know, I love to see what I can do with a prompt. The photograph below is for this week’s Twittering Tales prompt #12, as set by my lovely creative poet friend, Kat Myrman.

Basically, a story is told (poetically or otherwise) in response to a new weekly photo prompt, with the goal of keeping within the 140 character limit of a tweet. Please click here to see how it works and to join in if you’d like to.

I’m joining in here for the first time, with two poems and a tiny twittering tale story inspired by this image.

twittering-tales-image-jan-10th-2017

First the story…

He saw them framed by sun’s dying rays, knew it might come to this. He’d already lost wife and child; now they wanted his canine friend. (137 characters)

Poem One…

A dying sun’s rays bathes inky figures

The river ripples with golden glints

Time and tide wait for no man

His canine friend beckons

But he wants to run

(140 characters)

Poem Two…

All is solemn, still, a place

now steeped in silhouettes 

Bathed in liquid gold, they wait

His dog moves forward eagerly

But he pauses, hesitates

(140 characters)

While my circumstances remain challenging and I feel stretched enough by them, I am welcoming the opportunity to relax a bit creatively and try my hand at different things. Because it’s good to break out of routine sometimes and stretch ourselves in a new direction. You may like to see my attempts at magnetic poetry too. If so, you can check them out here.

Have you been inspired to try your hand at a new form of creativity, maybe a different writing medium or style? I’d love to hear how it’s helped to inspire or relax you.