What writers do is write…I’m sure you’ve heard me say this before, as have many people before me. At times, writing on particular projects can be labored and finding ideas becomes like panning for gold in modern day teen accessory store! When this happens to me, I do some writing activities. Any writing is better than none, plus, in my experience, this is the quickest way of finding hidden gems.
This morning I ducked into a charity store on my way to my favourite café to do a stint of coffee fueled writing. I found a gorgeous faux fur jacket that looked like it walked in on wild legs of its own. I decided I could use the idea of a fur coat as the basis of a writing activity: writing from the point of view of an inanimate object.
Here’s what I came up with:
On the day She was born, the pack tore my pelt off. I was old and I had dreamt that She would come. I was Her surrogate, Her sacrifice, Her twin. The pack licked my hide as tenderly as a fresh-born cub, soft and supple like new skin, saliva forming stings of spittle dropping from their jowls. My pelt was offered to the raven.
The skies had told the raven that She would need help. The raven cut the filigree fibres from her own silken feathers and wove these into thread strong and dark, like a moonless night that sparkled with stars. And with this, beak over claw, she stitched my pelt into a coat. The raven’s feather thread gave my fur the lightness of air and sealed its seams against the bitter winter winds.
The river, in its babbling, watery song, foretold of Her need.
The pack delivered my coat to the fish. She swan, slick and swift through the river rapids to the rubble laden beds where the mussels grew, rock-bound and weed-trapped. The mussels opened themselves to the fish and she gathered seven pearls in her mouth. And these she made into buttons to fasten my hide. The fish rubbed my fur, fin over tail, sleek and smooth with oils from beneath her slimy scales and made my pelt water-tight and snow-safe.
I passed by fin-to-hand to travelling gypsies, for it was written in nature that She would need a coat of fun. The gypsies cried as they cut their ancestral cloth, keening over the woven story of their race. Their tears bound the cloth strips and, as they uttered secret words and cast forbidden charms, they trimmed my coat.
Wrapped with the care of a babe in arms, my hide was concealed away in the hidden place that only gypsies know. And there my coat lay and waited, for it was written in nature that She would need my skin and one day the pack would claim Her.
She is the daughter of the raven, granddaughter of the fish. She is wolf.
Have a go yourself, you might surprise yourself, and if nothing else, you will have had fun with your writing and before you know it, you will have written whole swathes of (hopefully) usable words, or at least something that can be re-written and edited into shape.
This is an activity you can do over and over with different objects. Try taking an object from a piece of writing you are currently working on.
Photo credit: wolves – sorry, not sure whwre this came from.
Photo credit: Raven
Photo credit: Fish