Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing Prompt Thursday (#wpthu): 29 March 2012

Image/Text © 2012 Sean M. Madden. All Rights Reserved.

Update (31 Mar 12): Visit the #wpthu page for important new information.

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Here's today's #wpthu prompt ...

Take 10 minutes (or more) to put pen to paper and write about a place which you treasure. But more than just writing about the place, write in response to it. In other words, include how your treasured place makes you feel, what associations rise up for you, and let your writing meander where it will — without much consideration — like a raindrop falling down a window pane.

As always, simply put pen to paper and write (yes, longhand — it's good to get away from the computer for a while, and to reawaken your writing hand). Nurture a sense of letting go of any creative burden, self-critical judgment, or comparison (with yourself in times past, or with others). Keep your pen moving. And honor, truly honor, whatever flows through you and onto the page. This is great practice in learning to trust in the process.

Roll Call: Are you going to participate in today's #wpthu? If so, and you have a Twitter account, please tweet your intention to do so by clicking on the Retweet button in the tweet, below. But, first, why not Follow Mindful Living Guide:

  — Let's get the conversation flowing in the comments below. Also, feel free to type up your piece and post it below, leaving out any personal particulars which you prefer not to share. And please help us spread word of Writing Prompt Thursday by clicking on any of the below social media share buttons. Thank you!


  1. … a place which I treasure…

    My thought was immediate: Bali. And then I’m flooded with memories; the more recent ones and the long ago ones. A place I’ve shared with people I love, or have loved. The dawn of the new Millennium with my father. Bringing in 2010 with on of my best friends and my mother.
    That was the most recent visit and an emotionally confusing holiday. Having the loveliest time with both parents and a true friend, yet missing my beloved Arijus back in the UK.
    Everything about Bali delights me. The sights, the smells, the sounds. The people and their wonderfully infuriating laid back culture. The way you can wait aeons to be served, how open and friendly people in the more rural countryside and (sometimes) the city are.
    The padi fields; the breathtaking views. The rush, the chaos of Kuta. The heat! Oh, how I miss you, Equatorial Sun.
    The smell that brings all these memories is the smell of hot, hot sun on tarmac. When I step off the plane or out of the airport in Indonesia the smell hits me, and it feels like home.

  2. This was a tough one for me as I've moved about so much in my life but I finally narrowed it down, and blogged about it here - I've linked to your site too and tweeted it. Thanks for the prompt - it's a good one.

  3. Thank you, Karina, for sharing your Bali piece with us this morning. And, as noted via Twitter, best wishes with your embarking upon a fresh journey with your writing.

    With warm regards,


  4. Fi, thank you so much for writing, and for sharing with us, your lovely piece about Mucky Trotters and your wider life. Gorgeous, and complete with atmospheric photos.

    Thank you, too, for your introduction as well as your link back to Mindful Living Guide.

    Here's a hypertext-link back to your post on Fi's Magical Writing Haven.

    With warm regards,


  5. An interesting exercise. I've discovered that I don't treasure places, only people. I don't know if this is a healthy approach to life but it was the way the writing exercise concluded. The only place that I found myself writing about was that place inside your head where you go when you're immersed in writing. Now that's a place to treasure.

  6. Thank you, Rosalind, for putting pen to paper and letting things meander as they will. And, hey, what a discovery!

    Perhaps during a future writing session you'll find you treasure a particular place, a season, a time of day, or what have you (or not!). The wonderful thing about writing is that we can witness the world afresh every day, every writing session, each and every moment.

    Thanks, again, for joining us today, and I hope you'll do the same next Thursday.

    With warm regards,


  7. Also, #wpthu writers, you can now visit us on Facebook (our new FB page is feeling a bit like a loner relative to the number of MLG Twitter followers, so do visit and like it ... if you do, of course!).

    You can also add us to your Google+ circles.

    Thank you, as always, for your consideration. And keep those fine pieces of writing coming ... What place do you treasure?

    With warm regards,


  8. 'A Place I Treasure'

    It's not so much 'a' place, as a space, that I treasure. Its location shifts, outside at least, so if there is, a place of specific dimensions, my guess is, it must be somewhere inside.

    I stumble across it, often when I least expect it. It can be watching rain bubbles bounce on the river's surface, & suddenly slipping lost in the concentric circles, or listening to a piece of music. There are five notes, almost hidden, in Shostakovich's Andante piano concerto No 2, and I feel I could hover there forever.

    It's like, there are these wormholes, & sometimes, just sometimes, I can wriggle through. So, I sit there, like a bird in the hedgerow, I can still hear the lorries, all of life, the rushing parts, rushing past, but there's a break in the fabric of existence. Something has opened up, a membrane has slipped & I enter this other space. All the coordinates line up, perhaps it is a personal magnetic North, who knows? I just know, everything aligns, & being is the treasure.

  9. Kerry-ann, need I say more? Okay, how 'bout this?

    A real pleasure to have you with us today!

    With warm regards,


  10. First Visit to Ireland

    Carrig House – the name beckoned me, led me down the winding drive through the rhododendrons, the camellias, the green shrubs still to flower, until I reached the hotel, glowing warmly golden in the freshly-washed April sunlight. Welcomed at the door by Frank, the lovely Frank, with whom I fell in love at first sight, despite my partner ‘s presence by my side. Frank, twenty years older than me, of average looks, but such a warm voice and beautiful, cultured Galway accent, making me melt away as he offered coffee and cake. He showed us to our quirky, antique-clad room, warm and wonderful, smelling of centuries of polish; but it was the view outside that drew me, my life-long dream version of Ireland framed by one large window. Bright blue skies leaked into purple mountains that grew greener as I let my gaze drop and eventually fix onto the beautiful Caragh Lake, blue, bright blue, echoing the sky, gently rippling as if blown by baby’s breath. Beneath me spread Mary’s garden, a labour of love befitting the lake-and-mountain backdrop sculpted by nature. This was peace. This was heaven.

  11. Thank you, Sue, for stopping by and leaving us with the treasure of your first visit to Ireland, a place I likewise love.

    Reader-writers can visit Sue's neck o' the woods here, where you'll also be able to read her #wpthu piece from last week.

  12. What place do I treasure?

    There are countless such places.

    But why go further afield than where I presently sit. I love this place where I've just come to bask in the afternoon sunshine, while enjoying a mid-afternoon club sandwich and a cool glass of water with a slice of lemon — a place which is just a half-minute's walk from our High Street apartment in the county town of Lewes, East Sussex.

    The south-facing terraced garden of an old town house, a sixteenth-century mansion which is now a four-star hotel. For centuries a family home, it later housed the administrative headquarters of the county council for three-quarters of a century before being refashioned into a hotel in 2004.

    The sun beams upon this place.

    I used to treasure those moments when, after my Wednesday morning writing class in Lewes came to a close, a troupe of my students and I would go to any number of splendid cafés in town — but more often than not The Buttercup — and after a long, lazy lunch and relaxed conversation, a few of the diehards would walk back across town via School Hill and dip down St. Andrews Lane to Pelham House, and typically sit atop the grass hill with cups of coffee or a pot of tea and let the sun soak through our oft-sun-starved skin and deep into our souls.

    A final flame of warmth before it would flicker out beyond the South Downs and be swallowed by the gun-metal sea, and we'd return home, warmed within by the sun, but as well as by the warmth of the day — a day of creative writing, authentic conversation and wholehearted sharing of ourselves with one another, around the morning's writing table, over lunch, and continuing into the afternoon at Pelham House.

    A place which is at once beautifully traditional and casually welcoming, a place where I never feel rushed, always feel welcomed, a place I've come to treasure for its affordable grandiosity and writerly good cheer.

    These days I tend to come here less often, living as we do so close by, my no longer commuting into Lewes to teach my classes but, rather, leading them all from our home, Behind the Blue Door, which overlooks the bustling High Street below.

    But there are certain days and evenings when both Mufidah and I hear the call of either the Pelham House garden or the cocktail lounge within which to rest our sometimes weary bones. We first held hands there, on that comfy leather couch where we've also penned scores, perhaps hundreds, of haiku, and recently sipped Sam Pryor's now-famous margaritas with our dear friend Phoebe after a day-long Saturday writing workshop, and got deliciously silly before returning home to give Phoebe a crash course on early-to-mid-90s Grunge before polishing off the remnants of a bottle of merlot with the eggplant parmesan we'd prepared the night before.

    A treasured place chockablock with treasured moments, close to home and to heart.

    1. Excellent, Sean. Having been there with you it was a very special place.

  13. Living in a picturesque English town that’s nestled in the recently designated South Downs National Park we are surrounded by natural beauty and a plethora of treasured places, one of which — Brighton with it’s long stone beach — we visited yesterday.

    Sean and I spent much of the day in town: enjoying coffee and blueberry cake at one of our favourite cafés; walking through the North Laines distributing our flyers; eating a baguette with goat’s cheese whilst listening to a busker sing and play guitar near the Pavilion — and watching a very cute toddler listening intently to his playing and then dancing that one-arm-in-the-air-whilst-spinning-around-on-one-very-wobbly-leg dance that is universal amongst such young children; walking yet more leaflets around the Lanes near the sea; popping into the grocery store to procure a few supplies than can’t be found in our local shops; and, finally, heading down to the sea, freshly brewed flat whites in hand, at around 5.30 in the evening.

    It was still gloriously warm when we arrived at the beach and settled into a spot just to the west of the skeletal remains of the once grand West Pier. The hazy sea-sky lacked it’s usual distinct line on the horizon as the waveless sea blended imperceptibly into the cloudless sky, creating a sheen of pale milky blueness. The beach itself was full of people: families paddling at shore’s edge; lovers entwined on the next stone shelf down from where we sat; three guys in their early twenties trying to figure out how to throw an American football; two young women laying out their picnic on a chequered cloth; and us, sipping our coffee, observing the world.

    After soaking up the last of the sun’s warmth we picked ourselves up and headed off in the direction of Brighton Pier and Kemp Town. As the boardwalk was even more abuzz than the beach we sauntered along, enjoying watching people of all ages ‘doing their thing’: the laid-back drummer who always drums underneath what was the entrance to the West Pier; two women friends jogging together, one dressed entirely in black, the other entirely in red; men with their boxer dogs; women with their Jack Russell terriers; a bunch of skater boys and stunt cyclists sharing a long stretch of tarmac; half-a-dozen breakdancers taking turns to spin on one hand; ten or so basketball players jumping for the hoop; three or four surfer dudes playing volleyball in the only sandy area along the beach; the hip young Brightonians dressed in the requisite black, drinking beer at the Fortune of War; and, in front of the ‘Passacaglia’ sculpture, a group of twenty-somethings building a rather large bonfire out of a quite likely stolen wooden pallet.

    By the time we reached Brighton Pier the air was chilly and the rapidly descending sun was casting a gorgeous orange glow across a thin strip of sea. I pulled out my compact camera and managed to shoot a few pictures before the sun dropped behind the hazy clouds on the horizon. With cold fingers and sun-warmed hearts we walked back to the station to catch our train home.

  14. Great, Mufidah, I walked along with you and pictured it all!! Love, Helen