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Everyday Wrods writing prompts

Speak Simply

Pensarn Beach strand. Photographed by Diane Woodrow
Taken this morning [27th April 2022] on my early morning beach walk with the dog

There have been a few ups and downs clouding my outlook and stopping me looking forward to my holiday. One of them, which might sound trivial, is these prompts from Everyday words. As I have said before they are so full and there is so much to think about that I have been doing them slowly. But they are now filling up my inbox and my “get it done” nature is struggling with them all. So I decided to take a new tack and am doing the ones that are most recent. So today I have done today’s prompt even though I still haven’t done Day 10’s. Coming from this approach has stopped me feeling so overwhelmed. I am learning too that sometimes life in general overwhelms me and I have to find a way out.

Preparing for a holiday can overwhelm me. I feel like there are so many things to get done – packing, sorting and preparing things for the animals that are either staying [the cat] or coming with us [the dog]. I feel like I need the house clean and tidy and all the washing done. Some of that comes from wanting to be kind to my future-returning-from-holiday-self, but it does make me panic a bit. This morning I was really pleased when my husband hugged me and thanked me for doing the washing so that there would be clean clothes for the holiday. It is probably from those words that the inspiration for this poem comes from.

Even though the PDF says one thing I am renaming it “Simple Things“. So the prompt comes from my friend Victoria Field’s poem ‘Dandelions’ which can be found in her new book A Speech of Birds. and Sarah’s suggestion of taking the line “Dandelions speak dandelion…. write about what they might say to each other”

My dog walk this morning was filled very much with the simple things of a dog enjoying being on a walk, of the sea and these lovely plants that grow on edge of the shore, of chatting with fellow dog walkers and a friend giving some wise advise. In my preparations for my holiday I need to keep the simple things in focus and not get all ‘Marthaed” and do what doesn’t need to be done.

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change everyday words

Neglected?

View of sky, sand and sea with awesome lines and colours photographed by Diane Woodrow
View on my dog walk this morning

The prompt for Day 9 of Everyday Words 30 days of prompts is from Alison Brackenbury’s Mr Hill and Me

Interesting things stood out for me. The first was the line about how the school ‘knew no one they might ring‘ back in 1959 when this poem was set and she has to walk home alone with measles. It made me think of how we take this constant communication for granted. We all, or at least most of us, have mobile phones constantly on us. And those who don’t are seen as odd. In fact you cannot get on to your bank or pay by Paypal or other such things without a text from your bank. We are constantly in communication – texting, phoning, social mediaing, Instagraming, Whatsapping, blogging our thoughts :). It is hard to imagine a time without being able to contact someone in an instant.

I remember when I was about 9 or 10 being in charge of my little sister. My mum worked part time and during school holidays we would go off with our friends for the morning, the older kids keeping an eye on the little ones. We were all primary school age so no one over 11. Not a mobile between us and even if we did have most would have had no one to phone anyway.

But my first thought when I read about her walking home alone and not knowing who was there was that she was neglected, that she had no one to care for her. Because I am putting my 21st century lens on this 1959 time of life.

The next bit that jumped out at me was about Mr Hill. The poem unfolds with her getting weaker and weaker as the illness of the measles takes over and then we have Mr Hill sweeping. Now for some reason I picked up something ominous about Mr Hill. But I think again this is because my 21st century lens has seen and read too much in which the single men, especially older single men, are to be watched out for, that they are going to grab the child – Pedophile? Child catcher? Murderer?

So I read this poem as one of child neglect and was waiting for child abuse but this is not what this poem is about. It is about how life was back in 1959. Men swept the road, parents could not be phone up to pick up their children from school if they were sick, kids were expected to be able to walk back and forth to school.

Was it safe then that it is now? Who knows. Were children back then more neglected than they are now? Who knows. But what I do know, and it is similar to yesterday’s post, is that not everything is as I see it. And also that in 60+ years things have moved on and changed. I need to read things from the perspective they were written. But also to be aware that everything I read, see, and even do is view through the lens of where I sit now and my experiences.

[I haven’t written a poem from this prompt. Only this blog post]

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presumption Viewpoint

Not Everyone Views The World As I Do

Photograph taken whilst on a walk with husband and mother-in-law taken by myself, Diane Woodrow
Lambs, Lady’s Walk, Montacute April 2022. Taken by myself

I was really surprised yesterday at the writing group I was running that the two ladies who were there had never picked wild garlic and so never cooked with it. I then told a dog walking friend this and she had also never picked and eaten wild garlic. Her and I are now off to do that later this week. But it got me thinking of how many things I take for granted and think everyone can do them.

But it also clouds ones view of things. I know I would not be great at helping people who struggle with money because I have always been great at budgeting and of making money stretch. I am not 100% sure how I do it but I just do. So for someone to say they just cannot budget would leave me confused. But also I cannot map read. No matter how many times my husband shows me how to do it, and he is patient, I just can’t seem to get my head round it. I still am amazed that the sea is at the top of the map here. We live of the North Wales coast so for many of you that will be obvious but to me – Nope!

Too often when we talk about things, whether it is how we budget, what we eat, or try to share our faith, we come from the place of what we know. So for instance faith-wise we know what we know about God – and that can be different for each person – but we talk about it from what we have experienced, how it manifests to us, and then get frustrated with others from that point. This with the ladies at my writing group has helped me to see this. They are both over 60 and to me everyone has picked garlic.

With the Christian youth group I’m privileged to co-run I have started to ask the young people questions based on the liturgies and phrases they use about God, about their faith, about the out-workings of it all. When you say “I believe in God the Father” what do you mean by that? Because I am a writer I get them to write it down. Also I think there is space to say things in writing that you might not say out loud.

So for me from these ladies and that they had made it past 60 having never picked or cooked with wild garlic I am hopefully learning that my experiences of the world are mine and have shaped how I do and see things but not everyone has experienced, done or see what I have or in the same way I have. So instead of presuming I will start asking and wondering and learning and finding out.

Perhaps if we all started listening, learning and asking questions rather than presuming and going our way then there would be less fear, less anxiety and less fighting and wars?

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poem Prompts writing

Everyday words April prompts – 6th and 7th

Amazing colours and frosts looking over a local park in Abergele, Conwy taken by Diane Woodrow
Picture of my local park April 2022

So I am steadily getting further and further behind with these prompts and loving them more and more. These two clash, contradict and I think compliment each other. One is based on the horrors unfolding in Ukraine and other other was written Easter Saturday morning whilst we were staying in our friend’s house.

So this one from Day 6 was inspired by Laurie Wagner’s poem Things I Didn’t Know I Loved For me this has an even more poignant feel after I’ve read the Joel News report from Ukraine. Joel News’ remit is to show the good news that is happening in the world, to show where God is moving. And yet this week’s one talks of the awfulness of the war in Ukraine and of the coming global famine. It makes one ask “Where is God in all this?” But also one of the things I’ve learned with QEC is that to keep aligned and not get into high stress I need to be grateful. So really this poem is about what I realised I was grateful for and often take for granted. I’ve also called it Things I Didn’t Know I Loved.

This next one from Day 7 comes from a poem by Catherine Smith called Hero, about a bus driver really. But one of the prompts was ‘Where would you go to if a bus driver would take you absolutely anywhere?’. I did the prompt whilst we were staying down south visiting mothers and friends. It was a busy weekend and I was up early with the dog sitting in our friend’s conservatory enjoying some time out – something that I realise I do need to add to my “Things I didn’t know I loved” poem. So here is “Where would I go if I could go anywhere?” This one also comes with photos of the view I had.

As Brits we can have a perchance for moaning about what we do not have. Sometimes it is good to remind ourselves what we do have, but also then to remember to pray for those who do not have. We must never get smug and complacent, but I think that by being grateful one can learn to not be complacent and also to pray others can have what we too often take for granted.

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Prompts writing

Everyday Words – prompt for 5th April

Photo of stakes and safety nets taken by Diane Woodrow whilst walking with her dog.
Abergwyngregan Nature reserve, 8th April 2022 taken by myself

I like this picture because it is a bit smudged. I took it on Friday when I was out on a long walk, which culminated in coffee and a bacon buttie, with my dog, getting away, getting some headspace and pondering the poem I had started whilst I was working in the pub the day before. The prompt came from Sarah’s Everyday Words prompt for Tuesday 5th. So as you can see I am a long way behind.

I have gone in a totally different direction to the prompt, which as I have said before is not a bad thing. A prompt is to prompt one to write something not to hold one in chains as to what to write. But it also got me thinking about God and the Bible and of how both those can be used not to prompt us to explore but to hold us in chains. How often do we get told that the Bible means X and if we don’t agree when we are wrong? How often do we hear someone’s interpretation and then worry what is wrong with us because we don’t agree?

I very much think that God allowed the Bible, and many other religious texts, to be written as springboards to get us thinking, so see what direction we would head off in. I do not believe there is a right and wrong in interpreting God’s word however it comes it us. I do believe that the base line for it is the commandment that Jesus told us – to love God with everything we have and to love others as ourselves – which is why I would disagree with any war, genocide, abuse, control, etc that is done allegedly “in the name of God”. But with that as our base line then we go onwards and outwards and explore from there.

So as well as creating this little poem that I’ll share with you from Sarah’s prompt I have also had chance to explore God. Again it is amazing what one little carefully thought out prompt can lead.

So the prompt was based on a poem by Mohja Kahf called The Aunty Poem (Mi Privilege Es Su Privilege)  For me it was Sarah’s final suggestion that sent me off on what support and safety nets can mean to me and here is what came to me, Safety Nets. It was good and therapeutic for me to write this, as it often is I find with writing poetry rather than journaling around things as I have said before. But also it excited me to what a prompt can do.

So remember – no right, no wrong – no write, no wrong 🙂

It is also why I’ve just put this prompt up alone because of the “more” I wanted to talk about. But also that the prompt for 6th April has even more meat in it and I’ve been chewing that over all weekend!!!

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Prompts writing

Everyday Words – prompts for 3rd and 4th April

Best laid plans of mice and men” or “make a plan so God can have a laugh” are very much what life feels like at the moment. So I made this plan and didn’t just ask Sarah of Everyday Words permission to post from her prompts daily but also blogged that I would. But I had also put those feelers out to get some part time work that was not writing.

Well firstly I did not realise that Sarah’s prompts would be so rich and so full of meat that I needed to spend time digesting them before I wrote anything, and then had to ponder what I wrote afterwards before sharing it. But also work has got in the way.

So this week I’ve run a writing group on Tuesday afternoon and then worked 6 hours Wednesday afternoon and am working 6 hours this afternoon. But also I have been pushing for creative practitioner freelancing work and had a meeting with the local mayor on Tuesday – in the pub which was a lovely way to have a meeting. The excuse was “supporting local businesses” which is the best excuse ever. Anyway from that there is something coming. Then a couple of other feelers I sent out are proving maybe not fruitful but possible. And I’d also done a great course with Writers&Artists and one of the follow ups was to have the novel idea we’d started on looked out. Well Natalie Young was so supportive of the idea that I want to run with it. She also said to commit to writing 1000 words per day.

So the plan of posting an Everyday Words prompt each day has had to go by the by for now. But today, even though it is the 7th April, I do have prompts from 3rd and 4th ready to share.

The prompt from the 3rd came from a recipe by Olia Hercules, a Ukranian cook and writer, using foraged food. One of the prompts was to think of a time when you went foraging but instead it reminded me of a home school trip with my kids in a field of wild garlic. Here is it – Foraging

Then the one for the 4th April I wrote yesterday whilst I was working. I had an hour where I was totally alone in the pub and because it was my first full shift I didn’t know what I was supposed to do. So I clicked up the link, which I had been pondering for a while. The prompt was to look at one of the last phrases which was “stupid with smiles” and to write from there. Well this is what I got. It is a bit raw and rough but I like it – Stupid With Smiles.

When will the next get posted? Well I’m hoping over the weekend but … tomorrow I’m catching up with a friend and have to catch up with housework, Saturday I’m attending a workshop and always come back with loads of poem ideas, and also I have a blog buzzing in my head around a Godspace post from earlier in the week so …. Now I know to hold my plans lightly I am saying that hopefully soon but you could be reading April prompts well into June the way this is going.

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Prompts writing

Everyday Words – 1st and 2nd April

photo of Renly and Damon together taken by Diane Woodrow
My dog after his walk this morning

These prompts from Sarah of Everyday Words are so wonderfully thought out and well worth the £1 per day I am spending on them. She has really thought this through. I’ve tried other prompts before but they have seemed dull in comparison.

For one who would have thought of suggesting that one gather all those poems one likes into one special place – making one’s own anthology!!! I always love it when someone suggests something that is so obvious but does it in a way you don’t feel daft for not having thought of it first.

So here is my work from 1st April. It was looking at poem but one of the prompts was to think about the author of this poem which led me to writing about “Anon of Canadian Good Housekeeping” and of what could happen when our false pride gets in the way. “Anon of Canadian Good Housekeeping

Then Saturday 2nd April’s prompt came from a poem by Clare Best called Drive time  for Freddie, about how far the school run with her son was if they just kept going. It caused me to have a couple of days pondering my twice daily dog walks and how far they were in total. I think in lockdown my daughter and I worked out the dog and I dig 1200-1500 miles a year. So that gets us to roughly Australia. Here’s the piece about it – Walk Eat Repeat – not poem, not prose but could almost be described as prose poetry, maybe.

Now to get on and do yesterday’s and today’s. Though as I’ve learned with the 2nd’s prompt, it took time to percolate and see where it was going.

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Flexible trust

Flexibility

Photograph taken by Diane Woodrow
View from a walk taken by myself

I had a plan on Friday. Sarah from Everyday Words had just started her series of prompts for Write a Poem a Day in April because April is National Poetry month. My plan was to write from her prompts each day and post them through out April on both this website and my website, Barefoot At The Kitchen Table, which I use to promote my writing workshops to get a bit of footfall through there. Well as you can see that did not happen.

Instead I got a job!!!

A friend of mine works in a local pub and is going to be off work for 4-6 weeks for a much needed operation. I’d been pondering about asking if I could do some shifts whilst she was off as things are quiet with regard to writing workshops, and was hoping maybe if my time was more focused I might just write more. Anyway I never got around to asking. But on Friday morning her and I were off out for coffee. She was having a quick chat with the landlord of the pub about something else when I turned up at her house and said “need to go as Diane and I are off for a coffee”. She was on speaker phone and he shouted “Diane, do you want a job?” So instead of going for coffee we went to the pub where I had a quick interview and started work that self same evening.

It meant that my head was in a bit of a different place and also I had to get done those things I wouldn’t have time to do. But mainly it was because I was really nervous about starting.

Funny isn’t it how I’ve been doing all this trusting in God/The Universe to sort things out for me and yet when they do it all of a sudden I go into a bit of panic – adrenaline. But also I did not go into sorting out my autonomic nervous system [ANS] but just allowed myself to be in freeze mode for a bit.

What this has showed me is that one’s ANS goes into fight/flight/freeze/fawn mode over change as much as over good/bad things. It is always there to protect us from the perceived dangers out there – which is great because I don’t want to be eaten by a lion – but also don’t want to be in high alter mode just about starting a new job.

Some of the panic was also because I had already planned what I was going to do Friday night and had to change that. No matter how much I talk about having flexible boundaries, of being aligned rather than set in hard stone, of trusting and going with the flow, I still like my safe routines, my knowing what is going on.

So once I had worked that out I was then kind to myself about how I felt, let expectations go and was able to really enjoy Friday night – even though some very drunk man decided to kick off and I got a pint of larger poured all over me.

I so love that life isn’t settled, that it is a learning curve and as Beth commented on another post “we are only human after all”.

So I shall enjoy learning, enjoying being human, enjoy making mistakes, enjoy knowing that I don’t have to stay in a state of anxiety and can more on.

Also with this job I am going to have to learn to go with the flow because it is Sunday morning and the landlord still hasn’t sorted the rota out for next week so I will just have to trust that it will all be fine 🙂

[Post for the Everyday Words prompts will start coming as from tomorrow 🙂 ]