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Best of luck, everyone!

The Most Important Practice for Writers

This community is built on the idea of practice, but a good writing practice is about much more than grammar, vocabulary, or storytelling techniques. The best writing practice, what every writer needs to practice each day is openness.

The Most Important Writing Practice

“We write what we see,” I say in 14 Prompts, and so your greatest tools (and what you need to sharpen daily) are your eyes, the way you see the world, and, of course, whether they are open at all.

The Writing Practice Everyone Needs

When was the last time you saw the trees out your window, really saw them? When was the last time you walked down your street noticing the world, breathing in your surroundings, digesting them in your soul?

Are you sleeping through life or are you awake?

Yesterday, I walked down the street by my office and I saw the ivy wrapping its way around the tall birch tree which is still leafless this March. I sat outside and waited while the barista from Venezuela brought my coffee out and I wrote a poem about openness. It goes:

Open
To trees and cars and bees and bellinis
The sign reads Carroll Street Café
But the first T and second A are missing
It’s okay though because the missing
Letters rusted over and their rustshadows outlast them
Tourists step out of their rented rooms and into the cafe
This is the street to rent on, really
And I wait for coffee
From the Venezuelan barista with long wavy hair
And I’m open
Open
To trees and cars and bees and bellinis
My letters rust over

Yes, work on your grammar and structure and storytelling techniques. We all can improve at these.

Most of all, though, practice opening your eyes, your soul. To be a writer, you will need them open wide.

Does this idea of openness resonate with you? When was the last time you truly saw the world? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Practice openness. You might take a walk, look out the window, or just look around the room where you are right now. Then, see. I don’t know how to describe that except notice the things you haven’t seen in a long time.

Then, once you are seeing them, start to put words to what you’re seeing. You’ll probably find that your eyes take you somewhere completely new, somewhere you can’t see with your eyes at all.

Free write like this for fifteen minutes. And when you’re finished, post your practice in the comments section below. Then, be sure to give feedback to your fellow writers.

Happy seeing, happy writing.

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

  • Nina

    Good advice–it is important to go back to those “sketching” exercises that are always available for us as writers, no matter where we are.

    I read/worked through the book “Drawing On the Right Side of the Brain” many years ago. The art/drawing exercises in that book were some of the most valuable I’ve had as a writer because they forced me to look at things as they are and not as I perceived them. (For example, I always assumed tree trunks were brown, and the exercises helped me realize that no, many are gray with bits of white and charcoal and sometimes brown.) Once I’d worked through those drawing exercises, my written descriptions improved drastically because I’d finally learned to truly look at things and could write about them with much more vividness.

    • That’s such an important point, Nina. We need reminders that what we THINK we see is not the same as truly seeing. Good writing, like good painting, requires going beyond assumptions and looking with fresh eyes.

      • Beth Schmelzer

        Although I enjoy your guest posters, it is great to see your encouraging writing providing us with more inspiration, Joe! Love your post on openness, a trait we should all strive to achieve in person and on paper. While trying to let my subconscious bring me ideas, as per The Magic Violinist, I am struggling with finding a focus for my writing time. Should I read, write poetry, revise my piece for the online writing course on revision, edit for a friend or two, or free write about my main character to understand her motivations.
        No decisions yet, but I will maintain an open mind as I do them all, one at a time, on my own schedule.
        Here is an anonymous poem I found to be a muse helping me to be open to language and feeling the sensual images around me:
        “Have You Ever Seen?”
        Have you ever seen a sheet on a river bed?
        Or a single hair from a hammer’s head?
        Has the foot of a mountain any toes?
        And is there a pair of garden hose?
        Does the needle ever wink its eye?
        Why doesn’t the wing of a building fly?
        Can you tickle the ribs of a parasol?
        Or open the trunk of a tree at all?
        Are the teeth of a rake ever going to bite?
        Have the hands of a clock any left or right?
        Can the garden plot be deep and dark?
        And what is the sound of the birch’s bark?
        Thanks to Julie Andrews and her daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton for “A Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies”

  • strictlynoelephant

    Just what I needed to hear/read! Thanks for the (long awaited) reminder Joe. Cheers from Paris (where sun is now out 🙂

    • Great! You have no shortage of cafés to write from there. 🙂

  • EmFairley

    Thanks Joe. I’ll be doing a lot of this next week on vacation

    • Good for you, Em. Have fun and hope you’re able to write a lot! 🙂

      • EmFairley

        Thanks Joe! I might not write all that much while I’m away, but thanks to a photographic memory I’ll be doing a lot when I get back. 🙂

  • Annie

    Here is a poem I wrote when I concentrated on the people around me and how they affected what I was doing. It’s a hyperbolic poem entitled “Window”.

    Overwhelmed,
    Distracted,
    Laughing and giggling,
    Talking and conversing,
    They sit and pretend they’re
    Not making me want to
    Jump out of a window.
    Well, that’s a tad extreme.
    I don’t necessarily want to
    Jump out of a window,
    Only smash my fist into one,
    Causing glass to
    Shatter to the floor
    And heads to turn
    And silence to settle.
    Beautiful,
    Blissful.
    Silence will come,
    And until it does,
    I will sit, trying to look content,
    While my hands curl into fists
    And my mind curses the people
    Nearby for distracting me
    From possibly the most important
    Thing I will ever do in my life.
    There I go again
    Exaggerating my situation.
    But you never know,
    The thing I am writing now,
    Or attempting to write,
    May end up making me millions,
    Giving me a steady income
    And providing for my future family.
    But we may never know,
    Because I am currently in a room
    Of loud,
    Distracting,
    And overwhelming
    People,
    And I can barely
    Hear myself think.
    The steady music in the background
    Is soothing,
    But the people are not so much.
    They pretend to work,
    While they are really making me want
    To shatter a window,
    And turn the world to slow motion:
    Glass flying around me,
    Not phasing me whatsoever,
    Jaws dropping open
    As people wonder what
    Has gotten into this
    Normally
    calm, cool, and collected girl.
    Gasps permeate the air, but
    Other than the surprised bursts
    Of air, the room is silent,
    Blissfully silent.
    And the window,
    The window is broken,
    Giving me a way out of this moment
    Of distraction,
    Loud people,
    And overwhelming sounds.

    • This is great, Annie! Did you write this today?

      • Annie

        Thanks! And no, I wrote it during class when we were having a work day. I was attempting to finish my essay, but the distractions were too much. I decided to take the disctactions and do something productive with them.

  • Hattie

    Hey Joe!
    Yep……I totally hear what you are saying…..
    Have just been out of action for about a year and my whole world is an exciting adventure …..
    Went on a train the other day and was elated!!
    And I think all my writing has no particular technic……
    Just straight
    From mind….
    To pen…
    To ink….to flow ….

  • rosie

    forgotten
    you’re the place i once called home

    you’re a memorized, now forgotten poem

    you’re the swimmer who never stops to breathe

    you’re the summer and winter breeze

    you’re the sun, moon and the stars
    but you’re a city of blurred cars

    you’re the place where sky and sea meet
    an empty and forgotten street

    I stared out my bedroom window (I have the best sunrise view, and a view of the ocean!) and wrote this. I’ve never really tried rhyming couplets before–except in songwriting–but was inspired by Ingrid Jonker, an Afrikaans poet. So this was an attempt!

    • rosie

      Sorry about the structure going haywire.

  • GREAT post, Joe, I can tell a lot about my daily attitude as to whether or not I’m being open to the world around me. My family is in Breckenridge Colorado, enjoying Spring Break, so of course, I’m seeing everything with fresh eyes.

    But, a vacation is not always available, so I try to see my regular world differently. Sometimes I go to a different coffee shop, drive a different route to the grocery store. Other times, I just need to slow down at home, vent about something, so I can begin again.

    Thanks for this reminder of being open, Joe. It really spoke to me + I’VE MISSED Y’ALL! 🙂

    • How fun, Marcy. Enjoy the mountains and your family time!

    • EmFairley

      Yep, Marcy, I agree any change to the routine allows us to open our eyes. Hope you’re having fun!

      • Thanks, Em! Hope you’re enjoying your vacation, too!

        • EmFairley

          Thanks sweetie! I don’t start mine until Wednesday, so I’m counting the days LOL

  • Mary James

    Your article is a wonderful reminder to pause and take in the sounds, sights, and textures of life around us. My dog can tell time. Promptly at 4:00 p.m. she is at my desk, pawing at my leg – “Hey, it’s time to take you out for your walk in the park!” We have seen some interesting things that would have been missed were I still sitting in front of my computer. 1) The riot of white and purple orchids blooming in my backyard as we depart from the back door. 2) The rustling of the leaves as the wind caresses the branches of the trees. 3) The falcon snatching its dinner of Mourning Dove from the sky, pinning it to the ground with strong talons while it eviscerates its meal. 4) The chitterings of the squirrel as we pass under the Mango tree returning to our backyard. Yes, life is abundant and full of drama around my house.

    • KatSteve

      So great! At first glance wondered about the numbering system, but your images and word choices had me hooked and spell-bound.

  • kathunsworth

    Great post Joe. I get so caught up in learning the story telling techniques etc that I have not set my mind and senses free in a long while. I think before, when I knew absolutely nothing about writing, I wrote better. So maybe its time to pretend I know nothing again and write like I use too.

    • I hear you, Kath. I’ve had the same problem. Trying to refocus.

  • manilamac

    Walking home from grocery shopping, I stop for coffee at one of Manila’s numerous outdoor spots–a place where I often cogitate & annotate about whatever I’m writing.

    It was quiet. Despite the crowd at tables on either side–and the usual Filipino habit of maintaining a conversation-per-table ratio that can be calculated by diving the number of people per table by two, then adding one–I was setting my coffee down in an environment of uncommon acoustic peace.

    Until I was physically startled by a sharp peal of unified laughter from the table I half-faced on my left. Then silence again!

    I had to sneak-peek…no resistance possible.

    A jovial looking dude with the kind of buzz-cut stubble haircut we call “kalbo” here (it literally means “bald”) was talking in an uncharacteristically quiet voice–his listeners spellbound. Leaning into his every word–processing every gesture. An inaudible statement, followed by a slow shrug and a half-raised hand. Another apparent statement interrupted by a quizzical examination of the (not-really-visible) horizon, as though checking to make sure he could safely finish what he was saying. A master storyteller!

    Later, I observed that all other conversation at the table would revert to the general everybody-talking-over-everybody-else mode I’m so acclimated to.

    Then he’d be off again. Another spellbinding story!

    • KatSteve

      Thank you! What fun to read this.

    • Vincent

      Hahaha, I can see the scene clearly – I spent 7 months in the PI years ago. Some things don’t change, good.

  • Madani

    While I was reading the post my daughters were sitting behind me. ‘ Why not to read them what you have written,?I asked myself. And so I did ‘ When was the last time you saw the trees out of your window…..’?
    ‘Snails! said of them, a future dentist. ‘ Snails? I said, ‘ why are you speaking about snails?
    ‘What you have read makes me remember the days when I used to go school crossing the little forest surrounding our house. The fragrance of the trees, snails hanging on rosemaries, the path through the forest..;
    ‘This what I am going to put in the comments’ I said. So I did and sent.

  • Kim

    Just went on renewing walk and then saw this post – amen to everything you just said! Seeing the spring blossoms and the patches of green amidst the bare trees was incredibly renewing! The glory of God alive in the world!

  • KatSteve

    I am doing a stream of consciousness, with a little going back for editing.

    Open
    We opened the door and a brisk, I mean brisk as in bracing waft of air struck us, much to the delight of my four-legged companion. We could tell it was romp weather and we are heading to the park to throw the tennis ball around. Walking through the yard, we pass the Winter Garden. Right now, there are large patches of bare black earth. I see that there are several bushes with small, but bright, almost emerald-colored leaves. They have the appearance and vibrancy of mid-summer, and have been that way all winter. There are several stones and bronze statues, even an interesting wind chime of small brass bowl bells on long stems, looking like Tibetan bowl flowers growing right up out of the ground. It is an interesting and beautiful place all year long. I guess that’s why they call it the “Winter Garden.”

    We exit out the black wrought iron gate, t has those spiked tops that look like arrows and the long straight arrow stems acting as bars. There is a cover over the handle and if I am not careful, my thumb gets caught, but today I am careful or lucky and my thumb escapes the mini-trap.

    We exit into the alley and head toward sidewalk. I am thankful it stopped raining and that my feet will be dry as we make our way past the empty pot-holes and onto the sidewalk. I am running late with our morning trek to the park, so there is plenty of activity this morning. A school is across the street. Parents and school buses are vying for control of the street so they can deposit children and be on their way. There are brightly ribboned patrol personnel moving children towards the school and directing traffic.

    As I move past the school and look at the sky, I realize there have been multiple days of blue skys and puffy clouds this week. Although the clouds are a bright silver color, for rain, in some sections, I am appreciative of the areas of shining white. Spring really might arrive on schedule this year.

    The end for now…

  • The Almighty

    I’m 15 so this freeverse probably sucks, but I wrote it while walking home and reading this post.
    ___________________
    Open.
    The can of tea bursts to life,
    And what life I have led,
    To gaze upon the fleeting faces
    Strolling past my forgettable figure,
    And relishing the dingy shadows of the morning and night,
    Waiting for the gallant knight of the east and west.
    But I toss my can into the garbage and glance away from the caress of the Sun,
    Because nothing compares to the prying light of my shutters,
    The beating light of my computer,
    Or the careless purrs of my friend.
    I’m free under the azure depth,
    Flying beyond the scope of possibility,
    To be open.
    Open to the wonder of daily toils.

    • Sana Damani

      Don’t put yourself down because of your age. Besides, I’ve always thought that the eyes of youth are filled with more wonder and “openness” than those of maturity.

      I thought this was really good. I especially liked the line “strolling past my forgettable figure”. We never really think of ourselves as forgettable, so this made me feel very insignificant, which I think was the point.

      And “open to the wonder of daily toils” brings out what the writer of the post was talking about: finding wonder everywhere.

      • The Almighty

        Yeah, I’ve always thought that too.
        Especially when you’re in an environment where everyone is trying to be “different.” But at the end of the day, I try to recall all those people and none come to mind. And I’m pretty sure I don’t either.
        Thank you for your thoughtful comment!

    • Amy G

      love it!!

    • nancy

      I, too, love this. What struck me right away was the can rather than cup of tea. Modern times. Sana, you never thought of yourself as forgettable? Lucky you. I’m always thinking, why am I so forgettable? Maybe that’s why I’m so eager to launch this novel.

      • I’m determined

        Oh, yes. Cup of tea, of coffee, or a can. Modern times? Times eternal. John Done would have reached for his tankard of beer, yet in doing so, we all look for that mighty Knight of east or west, and dream. may you always dream, and write your dreams.

      • Sana Damani

        Haha. Narcissist in me I suppose 🙂
        I’m sure deep down we’re all afraid we will be forgotten. That’s why we write. So that we live on in our words. Congratulations on finishing a novel BTW!

    • Vincent

      You are sure to surpass many if you keep pursuing this. Good Luck! When you are a big star remember to mention you were the Almighty way back when. 🙂

      • The Almighty

        Haha. I will. XD

    • Davidh Digman

      Never put your work down.

      This does not suck.

      If you ever do write something you feel may suck, work on it until you know it does not.

      What sucks is to suck yourself down. Don’t do that.

      Ever.

      There are enough people queuing up in the world ready to do that without you joining them.

      Cheers!

      • The Almighty

        Thank you! I will keep this mind!
        I really do like writing and poetry, but I feel it’s not taken seriously. I guess it’s okay with me. I don’t really take my younger siblings seriously about a lot of things, so. XD
        Thank you so much for your thoughts!

    • agomonee

      I would like you to take this as a compliment when I say I was looking for the Like button. You presented the nonchalance and yet curious youth of a 15 year old very well. Loved it.

      • The Almighty

        Oh my.
        Thank you! I was aiming for an everyday feel to the freeverse! 😀

    • This was very nice. Thanks for sharing it!

    • I’m determined

      What struck me most – please forgive me – was your opening comment about walking home and reading this post. Naturally, my mind flits back to when i was 15. [My figure was definitely forgettable, so don’t let that irk you.] for me to read this post whllst walking home I would have opened the envelope, taken out the sheet of paper, and yes, read as I walked. How things have changed!
      I like Flying beyond the scope of possibility. May that scope always entice you to further realms to see.

      • The Almighty

        Thank you very much! I was messing around and bored. It was kinda hot and as such, drinking some Arizona, which has become uber popular. I never thought this post would warrant much attention.
        “Flying beyond the scope…” was me referencing to the pressure a lot of teens face. From school, to getting into college, and deciding what you wanna do for the rest of your life. Bleh. Most of us teens try so hard to stand out, when we’re really fading into the sky like a firework among tons of others.
        But thank you for your kind words!

  • LaCresha Lawson

    That was wonderful.☺ The world all around should inspire us to write. Very good!☺

  • Davidh Digman

    My old newspaper column used be all about reminding people to look out and be, and it is so important to never forget that.

    Thank you for the always-needed reminder that in art, as in life, breathing is not an optional extra.

  • The Awesomely, Awesome Bird

    I can’t help but to find myself going over past memories.

    • As Stephen King said, the only qualification to be a writer “is to remember every scar.”

  • LPN

    Thanks for the post. I used this to write a story on medium.com. Thanks

  • Vincent

    As always in the raw:
    As I load up my kayak
    I am only too aware of the eyes upon me from the apartment building next door.
    Kayaks are strange and unknown here and they don’t adapt to new ideas well
    here. No matter I am loaded up and ready to head on down to the lake. As I drive
    through town people stare and comment even though they have been watching me
    for 3 years now. Once in a while I catch a smile and wave. They know it is a
    boat of some kind, but the colors, oh that design! It is too much for them.
    Fashioned after an Inuit style using Brazilian colors with a dash of red and
    blue, just too festive. All lake boats here are either solid yellow, blue or
    white. No mixing allowed. Hahaha. I arrive at my favorite launch point and see
    that in the past month the restaurant has taken over most of the access to the
    beach for parking. I drop my boat between two fisherman boats and park my car
    up out of the way so someone else can get in if they need to. I see the busboy
    of the restaurant run off to tell someone that I have parked in one of their
    spots. I keep going, it isn’t really their spot and since I am launching a boat
    the local regulations say they can’t stop it. I am sure by the summer it will
    change, not in my favor. Ah, I am on the water, the morning mist is still
    lifting, but the mountains and clouds are still majestic. They aren’t the
    biggest mountains, but they they play so well with the clouds colliding into
    them and changing their shapes. The mountains and clouds using each other to
    create a new vista, just for me! I look over about every 15 minutes and the
    scene is different. One day I will be surprised and the mountain will move. Hahaha.
    During the summer when I go out in the evening the sun will play with the
    mountains changing their shapes. The old man faces appear best about 1 hour
    before the sun goes down. The dark crevices and craggy outcroppings seem to
    change from a face to old men right before your eyes. I come here often, just
    to watch what will unfold. When I stop looking I guess it will be time to move
    on, but until then I will enjoy the scenary that moves with me

    • LilianGardner

      Thanks for sharing.
      I can see and feel everything through your descriptive script.

      • Vincent

        Thank you

  • Trish Olson

    I read somewhere recently that it’s not only about describing what you see, but describing all five senses. What your character is hearing, smelling, tasting, touching, and feeling. It’s definitely easier said than done, but the idea is to make the reader feel like they are standing right next to your main character, experiencing exactly what they are going through. That is the secret to a book you can’t put down, versus one that you just read. There is a difference between reading that “Joe came home from work, saw a plate of chocolate chip cookies, picked one up, bit into it, and smiled” and reading, “After a twelve hour day of surgery, followed by rush hour traffic, Joe came home to the warm smell of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies, and saw the note from his grandmother saying that she couldn’t make him as happy as the parents of the children he saved, but she could try. He bit into the cookie, which still had melting chocolate chips inside, and smiled. He could feel her hug, even though she had already left for work.”

    • LilianGardner

      This is great, Trish.
      What a difference from telling to showing.

      • Trish Olson

        One of the best samples I can think of off the top of my head is Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. He does an amazing job of describibing every nook and cranny of the details 🙂

    • Agreed Trish. We wrote about that here recently: http://thewritepractice.com/five-senses-in-writing/

      Great example! Thanks for sharing that!

    • I’m determined

      Yes! I can feel that grandmother’s warmth and smell, taste, those chocolate chip biscuits, feel their slight softness as Ipick them up and bite into them. Excellent exposition!

  • LilianGardner

    Thanks for this post, Joe.
    I’ve written a verse of what I saw on my early morning walk this morning.
    There’s always something new and wondorous to see along the riverbank, or wherever I walk. I love nature!

    I walk along the riverbank at daybreak
    and stop to watch the ribbon of grey-blue water
    rolling smoothly out to sea,
    creating wavelets to lap against
    the bank, burbling, ‘Hush-hush,
    Peace be with you today’.
    The sun peeps over the horizon
    Illuminating the sky,
    restoring colour to everything I see.
    A dragonfly alights
    Upon a budding rambling rose
    to rest its gossamer wings.
    A blackbird, with unpremeditated art
    pierces the silence with melodic song
    I stop to listen and my whole being
    is filled with awe at the beauty
    that surrounds me.
    My heart sings, but words are not enough
    to express my gratitude
    for the splendour and perfection
    of our extraordinary planet, Earth.

    • I’m determined

      Beautiful. I was there with you.

      • LilianGardner

        Thanks I’m Determined. I know you were with me. I felt your presence.God Bless.

    • sprngrdn

      Beautiful

      • LilianGardner

        Thanks so much, sprngrdn.
        Join me on my walks, where ever I go, to appreciate the marvels and beauty of nature together. I’m an incurable romantic.
        Happy Easter!

  • Madani

    I read your verse and here is my comment:
    I wish I could master the English language enough just to tell you that I (aged 63) felt the time taking me on its wings to my early years.
    Thank you.

    • Gary G Little

      Hah! Wait till you’re 69! 🙂

  • Leanne Howard Kenney

    I like the missing letters and, indeed, this is the street to rent on.

  • Leanne Howard Kenney

    Here is my poem:

    Tuxedo Nights:

    Stunning
    Pink rose buds
    Married to white chanel
    He spins her,
    Toes pointed
    Legs tone.

    Quick
    Sped right
    A hip, shake left
    Brown hair twirling under the light.

    Faster she moves
    Harder he tried
    Pulsed the base
    Pitch perfect he sang
    Drums
    Beat
    When she started to
    Fall
    As the guitar played on
    After dark
    San Diego streets
    Rolled up
    Until dawn
    Remembered.

    • Gary G Little

      I like. But I wonder if it might be ‘Quick step right”.

      • Leanne Howard Kenney

        I could change it to quick step right, but it was, “quick, sped right.”

        I was saying from the first stanza he spins her, quick, sped right — but you’re right something is wrong. It’s the tense. I do not want to add the pronoun she, because that is obvious.

        Any ideas?

  • I’m determined

    Openness –

    It was going to be a matter of minutes

    I’d breeze through my clutter and make more space

    Stack items I still need back amongst my sewing

    All will be tidy. Again.

    Library books, from two different libraries.

    How come? I’d returned all of them. I’m sure.

    Mending I’ve still got to get around to do.

    They get bagged, individually. Some migrate

    From the mending pile to the house cleaning rags collection.

    Lemon verbena shrub caresses me each time to venture forth

    Sit outside and extract dust from the vac fitting

    Brush dried leaves from the sun shade mesh.

    A bird sings – serenades the passing of Summer

    Autumn’s withering growth – and scavenges food.

    They have reared last season’s offspring

    Sent their fledglings flying

    Taught them all they could of survival

    Instincts will now be those new bird’s instructors.

    We all go by instincts – yet us humans

    Have many shades of learning to impose

    Encumber us with morals and laws, finances and reasons why

    We must limit instincts even when our world

    Would be, might be, more sane, more loving

    If some of our number were to become deceased.

    For who are we to judge?

  • John Yeo

    THE CHANGES
    The allotments are a fruitful place to ponder on the ever-changing cycles of the planting year and the changes of the scenery as man made structures appear. The flowers are a sure sign of continual change. At the end of winter the snowdrops are the first flowers to appear, closely followed by daffodils and primulas and hyacinths. The hardy vegetables that have survived the windy blasts of winter, such as kale, leeks and broccoli are finishing their cycle of life and then the weather dictates the garden year. The soil has to be warm to enable seeds to be set and it is interesting to see the changes of method aligned to the natural cycle of weather. At the beginning of spring more birds appear as the breeding cycle begins. An unusual sight is a pair of large seagulls that have taken up residence, one is on the waste green part of the allotments every day, just watching and taking in the scenery. Many subtle changes are slowly taking place that will dictate the eventual results of the growing cycle. Perhaps a new greenhouse on a neighbouring allotment will allow a new barter system to operate as plants are swapped between friends. Small changes that can result in large alterations as life on the allotments goes forward.

    • Gary G Little

      This might best be broken into two sentences:

      “The hardy vegetables that have survived the windy blasts of winter, such as kale, leeks and broccoli[,] are finishing their cycle of life[. The] weather dictates the garden year.”

      Removing the weakening adverbs such as “slowly” can give it more strength, even tension.

      Well done though. It’s a nice read.

  • KL17307

    This may be the most vulnerable thing I have done in a long time…

    Open

    Laying in the rawness of my bed recalling my thoughts paused from the night before.
    Trying to tell my jaw to relax while breathing in scents of lavender.
    I close my eyes.
    Longing to count sheep yet counting thorns instead.
    Replay.
    Rewind.
    Fast forward.
    Pause.
    My imagination the TV and my mind the controller.

    Praying, just praying for the batteries to die.

    • I really liked how you owned the metaphor of your mind as a videoplayer you don’t have full control over. But I can’t tell if it’s a daydream or nightmare the narrator is trying to escape from. This is a very nice poem, but I think you’re not being as vulnerable as you think you are. You might check out this post on being specific: http://thewritepractice.com/become-a-better-writer/ I LOVE that last line though:

      Praying, just praying for the batteries to die.

      Great image!

      • KL17307

        Joe, thanks for that! I know you’re right. The vulnerable part of it was posting it. I don’t think my writing was very vulnerable as you mentioned. It’s actually sad how hard it is for me to write a poem because I had a terrible Poetry teacher in school. SO many years ago, and it still haunts me. I feel as though there are rules I will never understand. I read the post you shared and I can’t wait to dig into it more. I am pretty insecure with my writing and grammar but it’s an area I have been wanting to develops for 5+ years. I guess now is a good time.

  • Tinthia Clemant

    She rests on the wall basking in the noonday sunshine, it’s warmth heating her feathers. Her eyes are closed but she is away of all that goes on around her. She can hear the lap of the water against the wall; she can hear her mate quacking from the water; she can hear the distant call of the barn swallows; and she can smell the rich earth from which the tender sprouts are growing. She is one with them all and she is a single entity. And, if she is silent, she can feel the eggs growing inside her womb. Her offspring for which she would die who will carry on her genes and those of her mate. She rests for now.

  • Gary G Little

    Openness? I define that as the ability to grok. Yes that’s pure Heinlein, but it does have a definition. Select word and do a look for it. I found “understanding (something) intuitively or by empathy. Empathize or communicate sympathetically; establish a rapport.” Let me provide an example. Why is “I love you” at once sad and happy? Here is my experience.

    I was on my knee, really, I was, when she said yes, and I said “I love you.”

    I lifted her veil, kissed her, and said “I love you.”

    We bought her dream house, and I said “I love you.”

    I told her I had been laid off, but we would over come, and I told her “I love you.”

    I was with her through a wonderful twenty years, and everyday I said “I love you.”

    I wept when I saw her in the emergency room,
    knowing she was gone, and I said “I love you.”

    I emptied her ashes on a windy hill in Texas,
    and as they whirled and played in the wind,
    I said “I love you.”

    I see a figure in the corner of my eye,
    or smell apples and cinnamon baking,
    or hear a laugh,
    and I remember her, and I say “I love you.”

    Love is, at the same time, a sad and a happy story.

    • sprngrdn

      Beautiful. This is completely beautiful. You brought me to tears. I was with you. Thank-you for sharing this lovely poem.

  • I no longer have to open my eyes and see
    of how dire the world can be
    It only has one plea;
    for you to set sail at sea

    This world blinds us in
    and keeps us from whats hidden within
    It will feed us with its lies
    until we have sinned

    Our souls are lost and tossed
    We are ghosts that earth will cross
    we are dazed into an illusion
    We will mourn for our loss

    My perspective is real
    and it is not dark
    it does not lie
    I am not cynical

  • Gary G Little

    Someone once said you can never step into the same river twice. Step in and the river chills and thrills, swells and spills all around you. But the river moves on, and a new river awaits you the next time you walk this way.

    I have a river that I walk by every day. My river is not called Missouri, or Mississippi, or, Amazon, or Congo, or even Tanongahela. My river is never the same, when ever I step into it. It to is always changing ever flowing, never the same whenever I go. My river does not thrill, spill, or chill. My river smashes, bashes, crashes and roars. There goes that idiot doing a wheelie on his Harley, how I pray he falls and goes sprawly. My river is Flamingo Boulevard in Ls Vegas. God I wish it were your river.

    • Such a great analogy, Gary, and thanks for giving us a glimpse of your river.

  • gemma feltovich

    One million not-quite-empty bottles
    Not of alcohol
    Or drugs
    Or bad things that come to one’s mind
    But dandruff shampoo
    And normal shampoo
    And conditioner
    And a pink gel face wash with a broken lid
    And a foamy face wash in the corner
    And two bottles of the same brand of conditioner
    Both just half empty
    Both just half full

  • sprngrdn

    I am writing openly about where I am and I welcome your feedback.

    Another morning

    the sun slips through the blind

    as the pain awakens my heart

    I resist, it builds

    I accept, it builds

    I deny, it builds

    It moves

    Throughout my body

    into my hands and feet

    surrounding my heart and soul

    It climbs up my spine

    And crawls through my brain.

    It lives in me

    It breathes through me

    It lives, I surrender

    I become it

    Until

    Another day.

  • Kaeleigh Reynolds

    Green kitchen counter tops
    No green doors on the green cabinets so here is a collection of mugs and small purple clay goblets for the wine and a bowl with a rooster on it and the small plates stacked on the large plates no one ever uses.
    Spices and honey and apple cider vinegar line the window sill still sticky from the dozens of tenants before (most high on hash and slightly pychotic). It’s nicer now, with oranges spilling out of the wooden fruit bowl found in the back of the pots&pans, we leave the grounds in the French press in case you need a weak afternoon pick me up. The open bottle of wine well on its way to vinegar on the counter next to the almonds soaked for milking and the of the few things we’ve left from those before us, the poppy pressed into an oval wooden frame because let us not forget our golden state in a heart of redwood walled home. We have hung the walls with our own tapestries from festivals in the desert. They are illuminated by the sun shining through our big room window shouting “here is your mountain!” and “here are your trees!” and “here is the snow we so desperately need!” So come and drink your coffee in the window seat. Dog paws and ski boots ingrained in the soft oak floors, a house that is lived in shows its scars. Easy going bow, we boil water for ginger root te and sip slowing watching the pine trees sway in the winter breeze, shadows glacier green kitchen counter tops.

  • M.J. Herald

    I adore these exercises as they push me outside of my everyday walk-around thinking.

    Slowly my eyes scanned the room. If one surrounds themselves with things to express who they are, what did it mean to see oodles of roses, angels and lace doilies? I was in the home of the police chief, the very rigid, tough as nails leader of the brothers in blue. Shouldn’t his house be full of sleek, shiny chrome and black leather? Not Tiffany lamps and soft, fluffy crocheted blankets. The six foot man, with shoulders as wide as a barn, descended the staircase holding the hand of a petite blonde.

    “This is my wife, Penny.”

    After spending an hour with the chief and his wife, it all made sense. The rugged chief lived in a space created by his other half. And everywhere you looked was a piece of her heart – and his.