Writing Prompt #1

When I started this blog I decided to not put any of my writing here.  I didn’t want to make people feel obligated to read or comment, to be polite.  And I also didn’t want to deal with criticism when I was just feeling my way back into writing.  But Lisa, from the satsumaart blog (link in the blogroll) has been sharing these amazing writing prompts with me.  And not only that, but she’s been so brave, posting her prompt results.

Everyone knows a prompt isn’t something to spend time on.  The purpose is to open those gates and let the words flood out freely, in whatever form they want.  So there’s no editing, no plotting, no forethought at all.  Which is me taking a roundabout way to say that I am going to post my first writing prompt here, just to honor the task Lisa has given me.  Don’t expect perfect writing.  And please excuse me for hogging the spotlight and digressing from talking about writing.

Prompt #1 Salvation

Wasn’t a life change supposed to happen with salvation?  I expected it anyway in my early twenties, and so I figured I must have done something wrong.  I’d ask again, and nothing.  Maybe I wasn’t humble enough.  Or, wow, maybe I didn’t really mean it.  The people in the bible study group made it sound so easy.  So I started asking questions, and the answer I repeatedly got was as deflating as the lack of fireworks.  Faith.  You have to accept it and believe it on faith alone.

Excuse me.  If you want me to devote my life to something, I need something back.  Something more than faith.  Like answers.  Like explanations.

I walked into the woods instead.  The trees became my faith.  They were concrete, I could touch them, they were quiet, non-judgmental, didn’t act like I was going to hell, seemed content to be my back support and a sharer of dreams.  I could sense their roots digging deep, not only into earth, but into history.  I could sense their branches reaching high, not to something in the sky out of sight, like heaven, but opening to breathe in, to breathe out, to be part of and mingled with and shared.

I could sense timelessness, a slowing of rushing, an attitude of bringing that errand-driven heart-rate under control in order to be part of, to walk among, to simply be.

I felt weird, maybe crazy, definitely foolish talking to the trees.  I’d whisper, looking over my shoulder.  Until I found out I wasn’t the only one out there doing the same thing.  Not a tree-hugger, not an environmental hippy, just someone who felt okay being with trees.  Part of something bigger, part of something older, more majestic, more spiritual and holy.

I want my salvation to be growing old like a tree.  Gnarled, bent, wise, patient, living each second like it’s a year, feeling cool earth between my toes and a cool wind in my hair.  And when I die, cremation, fertilizer for seedlings.

6 thoughts on “Writing Prompt #1

  1. I think I already told you my opinion on it, but since this is here again I read it again and AGAIN I can only see wonderful you in it! How wonderful you are with words, a gentle flow, like a melody, a song.


  2. No editing, no forethought, no planning? I’m in awe of this. Without at least some of those things, my writing is unbearable. I mean it. There’s psychological weirdness at work in my head, and it can’t be subverted with a decision to just do it. The words come out cutting like knives pointed at my throat. I MEAN it. For all the freedom I want, I seem to need a few parameters and a basic plot in mind before I begin– if I want to keep my sanity.

    I love what you’ve said in this piece, and the beauty with which you said it. I envy your ability to do this with a prompt, a writing instrument and nothing else. And ditto what Jenni said!


  3. Thanks for the kind words. One thing I realized after posting this is that I’ve been picking and choosing the prompts, writing on the ones where I instantly know exactly what I want to write about. Oops. Kind of defeats the purpose. I need to try the ones that are harder, that I have to think about. Doubt those will read as evenly. I love the phrase ‘psychological weirdness at work in my head’. That should be on tee-shirts for all writers.


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