Thursday, April 12, 2012

Writing Prompt Thursday (#wpthu): 12 April 2012

If this is the first time you've heard of Writing Prompt Thursday, you'll want to visit the #wpthu page on Mindful Living Guide. The page includes: 1) a brief introduction to the Writing Prompt Thursday online community, 2) two super-easy (email address only) subscription forms so that you're automatically kept abreast of all things #wpthu, and 3) information on how to get the embed code for the new #wpthu badge for your own blog or website.


Today's #wpthu prompt ...

The following is one of my favorite passages from Rilke's Letters to a Young Poet (tr. Stephen Mitchell, 1984):
So rescue yourself from these general themes and write about what your everyday life offers you; describe your sorrows and desires, the thoughts that pass through your mind and your belief in some kind of beauty—describe all these with heartfelt, silent, humble sincerity and, when you express yourself, use the Things around you, the images from your dreams, and the objects that you remember.
This passage, alone, could stand as today's #wpthu prompt, and could be used to wonderful effect throughout one's lifetime. But here's the actual writing prompt for today which inspired my reaching for my copy of Rilke's Letters so as to write out the above quote ...

Make your way slowly around your home, your dorm room, or wherever you're presently living, and observe — in a physically grounded, open and aware manner — the personal objects and belongings which you treasure, which speak to you of precious or otherwise meaningful moments from your life, or of loved ones present or past.

Pick up these objects, one by one, hold them for some time, and allow them to resonate in your hands as well as in your heart. Feel what stories they have to tell. Listen quietly to what they have to say, memories which they might trigger.

Choose one of these objects

Bring it with you to your writing table, place it nearby your notebook, and write in response to it. Nurture the writing of a response which is felt, grounded in the physical, as much as it is considered by our rational minds.

Write from this felt presence for 10 minutes (or more), and surprise yourself in what flows through you and onto the page, perhaps even previously unconsidered tangents which might reveal themselves well beyond the particulars of the object at hand. But don't force this.

As always with #wpthu, write 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 challenge? If so, and you have a Twitter account, please tweet your intention by clicking on the Retweet button in the below tweet. And if you haven't already done so, you can also Follow Mindful Living Guide:

— Let's get the conversation flowing in the comments below. How did it feel to put pen to paper today and to write in response to a personal belonging? Consider typing up your piece and posting it below (never, however, an obligation or expectation), leaving out any personal particulars which you may 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. Hello #wpthu writers,

    A brief reminder to only submit each of your comments one time. They're moderated, so won't appear immediately after submitting. However, I keep a close eye on incoming comments, and will publish them as soon as I see there's a comment to approve.

    And thank you for joining us today. I look forward to hearing from you ...

    With warm regards,


  2. I'm in ... I'll submit later; have a great day

  3. Excellent! Really good to have you with us today, Don. Looking forward to reading your piece when it's ready.

    All for now ...


  4. I keep my treasure in a small wooden box on a table in my bedroom. The box, along with pictures of loved ones that have gone on to live with the eternal warmth of the sun and the black night, gets dusted every week. I make sure it's arranged optimally on the table so that visitors can see it, open its ornately carved cover if they wish.

    Inside the box is a curl of brown hair, taken from my nephew's nine-month-old head. For something that's been shut up in a box for the past 17 years, it's still remarkably tinged with light, as if my life and my joy (all terms of endearment I have given to my nephew) just had his hair cut yesterday.

    I don't know why I keep this. Oh...yes I do. I keep it because it reminds me of sweet days holding him in my arms, playing ball and living in moments shared by just the two of us. It reminds me of the look on his face, as he gazes up at me -- waiting anxiously for the next words to come out of my mouth.

    When I pick it up, hold it between my fingers, it reminds me how it feels to be loved ... unconditionally.

  5. Lovely, Don. Thank you for sharing this with us, and for being a regular #wpthu writer, not to mention longtime MLG contributor!

    With warm regards,


  6. Carnet D'Alice

    This dear little / notebook / With the creamy / white / pages / With its story / told / and yet / untold / A solitary staple / shot through / the spine / clings, clenches / to hold itself / together / wondering / whether / one day a / poet might pen / words / into / it / work jet-black / ink / into / its / warp / and weft / to delicately / drag / a loving finger / along its / inner / leaves / and leave its / essential / loving oils / which will seep / slowly / into its very / fiber / and so carry / some part / of the / poet / with it / forever / a stain so / unlike the / bar coding / the uniform / product code / tattooed / upon / its back / A story told / ten thousand times / and yet is seldom / heard / The storyteller / catapulting / tongue clicks — / words, concepts / dripping / from his lips / lips forged / from steel / and the sea / and the / salt / of / this / earth / Tales spun / like a web / a fine / gossamer / thread / tying / tethering / the / whole of the world / holding / us / just / barely / together

  7. How wonderful! I love that our DNA, our very being can go on living and changing the face and nature of things. Great poem.

  8. I walk across my room eyeing every precious to me object. Picking up, holding each of them brings back many memories.
    Sometimes I do imagine my room as a big drawer containing pieces, fragments of days gone by, of people who came and left. And I would usually lose myself in it for seconds, minutes or hours remembering moments, quotes, faces, sounds.

    Today I found that drawer bit boring. But still there was one thing which caught my eyes, one item which I’ve walked past by a dozen times - my old grey and black deck of cards which was gathering dust next to a Neil Gaiman book.

    I picked it up, not thinking of shuffling the cards. They were left in this arrangement on purpose. The Ace of Spades was still the top one just like the last time I and my mates played. K. had left it like that. One would say a simple deck of cards can’t be actually a precious object to a person. It wasn’t given to me by anyone; it didn’t have some special history. But it did have a story, even a recent one.

    There are many ways to remember it. This time I delved into the past alone, leaving the deck before me, letting it transport me back to days in school with four other people whom I would never again have the pleasure of sitting with on one table. Not that I won’t see them in future days. It’s just not going to be the same. They’ve changed, moved on, and I am the one who still smiles silly when thinking what a loud group we were and how much fun we had. I honestly sometimes miss J. and L., H. and K. I miss the simple, relaxing hours in which we played with these very same cards, now home with me never to be played again with. Because they belong to a different time. Nevertheless I bring the memory in my present and let it linger in the room; let it speak to the paper.

    I’d like to be able to keep the feeling this small deck of cards gives me for longer. Call it nostalgia but it’s one I won’t enjoy letting go.

    I gently touch the corners of the deck, clean it of its dust and put it back on its previous place. Someday maybe the memory will fade away and this deck of cards will be just a deck of cards and nothing more. But until then I’ll just let it remain like this and bring me memories and smiles.

  9. Good morning, Cindy. Thank you for joining us again — all the way from Bulgaria — to write in response to this week's #wpthu prompt, and for posting your resulting piece to MLG.

    It's quite magical how something so seemingly simple, like your small grey and black deck of cards, can unlock a treasure trove of memories, pulling them from the past into the present, or at least very nearly so.

    I'm left wanting to know more about these card games and the small group of friends who would gather round to play them. Who were they? Who are they now? How have their lives changed? What particular details do they remember about these gatherings, what feelings might be conjured up were they to hold the cards again?

    Thanks, again, Cindy. I hope you'll be joining us in weeks to come as well. If you're still in touch with J. and L., H. and K., they're most welcome, too, to write of those card games and to post their pieces here as well. A reunion of sorts.

    With warm regards,


    1. I'm glad to hear my little piece of memories has triggered your interest. I would be happy to shed more light on the card games, on my feelings at the time and now, and on the people behind the initials. If I do get in touch with them I'll be sure to let them know about the possibility of a virtual reunion to memorize perhaps our time together.

      Thank you again,

      Have a nice day