Writing Advice From Ray Bradbury

by Ruthanne Reid | 45 comments

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Sometimes, you can't write.

Writing Advice from Ray Bradbury

And I mean you REALLY can't write. You know the feeling: the kind where it seems your soul is so parched and empty that your imagination has withered and gone. The kind where everything you managed to write before either looks incredibly stupid (and you made it public! The horror!) or, worse yet, was the product of some brief moment of genius which you shall ne'er taste again.

Yeah. That kind.

Today, I'm going to walk you through what to do during those times.

The Low Point

When we writers start out, we can't imagine the devastation of finding ourselves unable to write. We may be frightened, but we have both passion and the inertia of that powerful decision to begin. For a while, that's enough to carry us along.

Then life happens. Physical exhaustion or emotional strain, family challenges or difficulties at work, or even the dreaded bad responses from folks who were supposed to help, but instead ripped your brand-new story to pieces.

Whatever the reason, you remember the desire and need and drive to write, but when you sit down to do it, you can't. You just can't.

Everything in your head sounds stupid. Anything you type up looks inane. And you begin to wonder if this was really a good idea after all.

Here's an important fact to hold in hand and heart: your favorite authors went through this, too.

Yes. They did. Even the Ray Bradburys of this world who “write a short story every week” felt like this (more on that in a moment).

All writers do. All creatives do. If you doubt, head on over to your favorite author's website (assuming they're still alive, ahem), and shoot off an email asking if they've ever felt like they couldn't write anymore.

I bet you dollars to doughnuts you'll get a response along these lines: “Yes, but keep writing.”

Everyone hits those times. It doesn't mean you aren't a writer, or that you won't make it. Take that truth to heart; knowing you're not alone can be a big help when you're in that shadowed valley.

Writing Advice From Ray Bradbury

The good news is, since every writer hits those times, you're following a well-worn path, and many great writers have left support and encouragement for you along the way.

Now, I know you know the name Ray Bradbury. One of the most influential writers of the 20th and 21st centuries, Bradbury reframed the short story, revamped both sci-fi and dark fantasy, and redefined what it meant to be a writer as part of a community.

This is a man who would put off hours of his own work just so he could show some young kid what it was like to be a writer. In fact, he's one of the primary influences in the lives of such modern-day award-winning wonders as Neil Gaiman.

An isolated and miserable Hemingway, he was not. He was prolific; he was friendly and welcoming; and most importantly of all, he gave a ton of advice to up-and-coming writers.

Let's look at four of Bradbury's pieces of advice:

1. It's Okay to Write Crap

For me, one of the most intimidating things Bradbury ever said was this:

Let me tell you, the first time I read that quote, I freaked out. I'm a slow writer; it's never been in me to write quickly, and I'm often spooked by folks who are able to churn out masterpieces on a daily basis (I'm looking at you, Jeff Elkins).

Initially, when I saw this quote, I wanted to cry.

I can't do it, I thought. I guess I'll never be a writer.

That's because I focused on the first part of what Bradbury said and not the latter. Re-read that part with me: not possible to write 52 bad short stories in a row.

Bad short stories. In a row, which meant there were bad ones in between the good ones.

That means Bradbury wrote bad short stories. Ray Freaking Bradbury wrote crap (sometimes).

That means the purpose of writing something every week isn't about writing something good. It doesn't mean churning out excellence; it means just writing something down.

(Psst: Do you have a little time? Watch this video in which he explains this in detail. His encouragement is unbelievably powerful.)

Ray Bradbury also said this:

Just type any old thing that comes into your head.
—Ray Bradbury

That includes crap. He's not the only writers who says this, either:

It is perfectly okay to write garbage—as long as you edit brilliantly.
—C. J. Cherryh

Seriously. Give yourself permission to write crap. Drivel. Blarney.

Before you freak out, read this next sentence: when you write crap, do it absolutely knowing that no one will ever see it but you.

If you write something knowing full well it will never make anyone's eyes bleed other than your own, then it doesn't matter so much if it sucks. You're a lot more free to write the thing. (And that advice came directly from Jeff Elkins. Darn that writerly wisdom.)

Bradbury claimed that several walls in several rooms of his house were covered with rejections. Wow.

Write it with full permission to write crap because Bradbury did, so you know it's allowed. Or, as Maureen Johnson puts it, dare to suck.

2. Practice Word Association

It might help your stalled brain if you don't consider this step “writing.” Consider it just something you need to do, like taking vitamins or drinking water.

It was with great relief, then, that in my early twenties I floundered into a word-association process in which I simply got out of bed each morning, walked to my desk, and put down any word or series of words that happened along in my head. I would then take arms against the word, or for it, and bring on an assortment of characters to weigh the word and show me its meaning in my own life. An hour or two hours later, to my amazement, a new story would be finished and done. The surprise was total and lovely. I soon found that I would have to work this way for the rest of my life.
—Ray Bradbury

I'm not saying that if you're starting from a cold-engine stop, you'll come up with stories right off the bat. What I am saying is that if you have any kind of language in your head, if you're able to read these words, if you're able to communicate with words in any way, you can do this.

In the morning, just write down the first words that come into your head.

Maybe they're tired, coffee, coffee, dog, cat vomited, baby crying, tired, tired, need a new job.

That's fine. Write them down.

Maybe they're kids, school, lunch, date, time off, babysitter, little romance, make reservations, sparkling wine.

Maybe they're school, school, tests, school, exams, challenges, teachers-judges-aliens-gods, unseen masters, don't find out you're being tested until you graduate and then it's too late.

Do you see what I'm doing?

I'm letting the words tell me where to go. If you just let the words go, they'll take you someplace. That's how the human brain works. Don't just try it once and then stop; keep doing it, and I promise something good will happen.

3. You're Not a Failure

One thing I know from my own stalled periods is that when I freeze, my inner critic turns into a vicious demon. He's never pleasant, but when I'm not writing, he goes from critical to violent.

You're a failure, he says.

You could never do this, he says.

You were fooling yourself all along, he says.

And if I let him keep going, he'll get personal.

That inner critic is a [word I won't put here, but you know the one I mean]. We have to fight him. And Ray Bradbury talks about that, too:

So we should not look down on work nor look down on the forty-five out of fifty-two stories written in our first year as failures. To fail is to give up. But you are in the midst of a moving process. Nothing fails then. All goes on. Work is done. If good, you learn from it. If bad, you learn even more. Work done and behind you is a lesson to be studied. There is no failure unless one stops. Not to work is to cease, tighten up, become nervous and therefore destructive of the creative process.
—Ray Bradbury

Or, to put it more succinctly:

As long as you're struggling with this, you haven't stopped.

Yes, you may not be writing right now. That is not the same thing as quitting.

You haven't quit until you actually choose never to write again. And as long as you're still trying, you are a writer. And if you're a writer, then you are not a failure.

Take an imaginary club, carve those words into the club, and whale on your inner critic until the words show up on his ugly, tusk-laden face like tattoos.

Your inner critic is violent with you. You have permission to be violent back to him. (Yes, I am talking about a non-physical being. Please do not take a club to your relatives.)

If you haven't quit, you aren't a failure. And if you're not a failure . . . then by gum, you can write!

4. Feed Your Soul

Okay, I say this a lot. I know I say this a lot. I can't possibly ever say it enough: read a lot.

I've quoted Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, William Faulkner, and many others on this same point. Read a lot.

I will preach this until the day I die. You want to know how to craft beauty in syllables? Read. You want to know how to develop good characters? Read. You want to know what not to do? READ.

Ray Bradbury said this:

Just write every day of your life. Read intensely. Then see what happens. Most of my friends who are put on that diet have very pleasant careers.
—Ray Bradbury

He even suggested making the time to read one short story, one essay, and one classic poem every night for a thousand nights. (Huh! It's almost like he didn't spend his evenings vegging out in front of the TV. What madness be this?)

Read. To paraphrase Faulkner, read everything, good and bad; as a reader, you will be able to learn what's good and bad by reading both, and that will make you a better writer.

To paraphrase Julia Cameron (whose book, The Artist's Way, is one you need in your armory), your soul is like a well. If you just draw from it and don't refill it, it's going to go dry. When you take in creative things, it's like rain and rivers refilling your well; it will give you your creativity back.

It doesn't even have to cost you money. Join the library. Sign up at Overdrive.com (it's free) and you can even get digital books from said library.

Read. It is going to provide fuel for your stalled writer-engine. You need it. You don't even know how badly you do until you start doing it regularly, and then you just might end up wondering how you got through life without a good book in hand.

When You Can't Write, Take Heart

This was one of those funny moments that made me realize I must be getting old: I told someone to take heart the other day, and they had no idea what I meant. Well, that's okay. It just means I get to define it (and anyone who reads my articles knows I have a thing for definitions).

Take heart (verb, idiomatic)

  • to be courageous;
  • to regain one's courage;
  • to feel encouraged;
  • to feel more hopeful and more confident;
  • to be confident and brave, as in, “Take heart, we may still win this.”

Take heart. You can do this.

You are not alone. The greats went through it, too.

Give yourself permission to write crap and write it with freedom and a good sense of humor. Try regular word association every morning and see what happens. Read a LOT.

You are not a failure. Don't quit.

When you can't write, take heart. Ray Bradbury loved writers, as his advice shows. I love writers, too, and I'm telling you now: you can do this.

Take heart.

Have you hit the low point? What advice helped you overcome it? Let me know in the comments.

PRACTICE

Take fifteen minutes and try word association. Don't think! Don't plan. Write whatever words come into your head without hesitation, and when you're through, see if you can see a story. Share your practice in the comments section, and don't forget to give feedback to a few other practitioners. Take heart!

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Best-Selling author Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and was keynote speaker for The Write Practice 2021 Spring Retreat.

Author of two series with five books and fifty short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom, using up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon.

When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away.

P.S. Red is still her favorite color.

45 Comments

  1. Jason

    Music, Clock ticks, Night, cool, writing, light, comfortable.

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      That’s beautiful, Jason; it feels relaxing and home-like.

  2. ohita afeisume

    Thanks Ruthanne. I’m so fired up. I’ve got courage once more for the writing journey!
    I like reading a lot but I had no idea about this free resource-overdrive.

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      I’m so glad to hear that, Ohita! This is a great place to learn more about writing and find the courage to put words on paper. You can do it!

  3. Sarkis Antikajian

    Ruthanne before I continue reading your words here, I just finished spending and hour with Ray Bradbury in ‘ An evening with Ray Bradbury’ what a fantastic listening. I loved it. Thank you for the link. Now I will go back to reading the rest of your post.

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      I’m so glad to hear that, Sarkis! I hope you find yourself inspired to write more and more. 🙂

  4. LaCresha Lawson

    This writing thing gets harder and harder every day. But, better and better….

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      You’ve said something truly profound there, LaCresha! Thanks for sharing that thought with me. 🙂

    • LaCresha Lawson

      You are very welcome!

  5. Cathy Ryan

    Ray Brandbury’s talk was so inspiring! And you, Ruthanne, are encouragement personified. Thank you for this essay.
    My word association:

    My kid, a brave boy, silly, reckless, daring, afraid, fear makes him unreliable sometimes, but he tries, and when he quit he learned from his mistake, and when he was afraid the next time, he yelled so loud he couldn’t hear his fear and ran forward into fire and felt the pain and knew it and still he ran forward until he was through the wall and free. My brave boy became a man. How was that possible? He is still a boy who loves the toads of summer on the porch under the light and fireflies on the lawn at dusk and bullfrogs
    calling and cicadas in the branches of a sleepy summer. My brave boy whose
    courage carried him forward into battle against evil, standing for the weak,
    sheltering them in the face of a fire too big to stand against and yet he did.
    The weak survived and knew him then, my brave boy, the way I knew him. They
    sang a song and wrapped his shell and praised his courage and brought him home,
    my brave boy, flag wrapped, and placed him beneath a stone. And weeping I
    recall my brave boy who stood.

    Reply
    • Rodgin K

      This brought tears to my eyes. Thank you ma’am for your sacrifice.

      From another mother’s brave boy who had the privilege of coming home.

    • Cathy Ryan

      Sorry, this is my response to attending a service at ANC. Not my own experience. I so honor those who served especially those who lost their dear ones.Did you watch the Bradbury video? His response to the scared man influenced this. Again, apologies for misleading.

    • Rodgin K

      Still doesn’t change the reaction. Glad you were honest though. No hard feelings.

      So, in order to keep this from wandering too far afield, I think you nailed the practice. Where/what sort of story do you see this leading to? Obviously what is there has some emotional charge to it but as I move away from my own experience and look at this as a writer I see many options.

    • Cathy Ryan

      This is my first word association practice. Started by one emotion that led in an unexpected direction. Three different boys actually. Maybe this is how the exercise works? Short story perhaps? Maybe just the first of a string of exercises until something pops?

    • Sheila B

      i’d say something already popped. Great to see how well this word association works. Thanks for sharing. I too was moved to tears. Evocative writing.

    • Cathy Ryan

      Thank you!

    • Stella

      This is beautiful. Know it’s not your experience but it evokes the boy so beautifully, his growth from boy to man to ashes. Love the last two lines, the run-on sentence ‘They sang a song and wrapped his shell and praised his courage…’ The contradictory unstemmed flow of emotions of a mother in the narrator’s position.

    • Cathy Ryan

      Thank you. I appreciate the feedback.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      Oh, Cathy! This piece is beautiful. It’s so raw and so real. I see from the comments that it isn’t your experience, but it is certainly as vulnerable as if it were.

      I am so glad you did this. Don’t give up writing, whatever you do! You can do this.

    • Cathy Ryan

      Thank you, Ruthanne. This essay and the video are both so encouraging. I appreciate your encouragement always.

  6. Karen Watkins

    Thank you Ruthanne – I ususally get bored watching long videos but I could not stop listening to Ray Bradbury. Thank you for your encouragement and for posting such an inspiration man of many words and stories.

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      You’re so welcome, Karen! He was an amazing man, and I’m so glad he lived in an era when we could record his awesomeness. 🙂

  7. Sara Bouda

    Thanks for this. I’m not a stalled writer, but then again, maybe I am, and I’m in denial… never thought of it like that.. anyway, I’m in more of a where-is-the-time-I-need-to-write kind of situation. but many of your points, point me to areas that I could use to keep me writing, until all those darn family commitments sort themselves out and give me my time back. I love Ray Bradbury, and his advice is so simple, yet I doubt we even thought about doing it. I don’t do word associations, that’s not my thing, but I do make notes, heaps of them. which I can look over later. I have also been thinking about short story writing, and as Ray says, you can’t write 52 bad short stories, can you???

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      You’re welcome, Sara! Boy, do I hear you; time is such a difficult thing to carve out. And he’s quite right: even if you write a bunch of bad ones, you’re eventually going to stumble onto something good. It’s worth it! Keep writing!

  8. Pat Garcia

    Bradbury was one of the greats. What I like about his philosophy about writing is the fact that he doesn’t crucify. What he wrote about writing were situations he experienced. Especially his point about feeding your soul. So many writers do not know how important it is to read. Writers read, and when you land in those hard places where you cannot write, you can still read because reading is so significant for writing.
    I’ve also read The Artist’s Way by Cameron, another good book, and How To Be A Writer: Building your Creative Skills Through Practice And Play by Barbara Baig, which is a fantastic book for all writers regardless of the stage they are at.
    Excellent article Ruthanne. I enjoyed reading it.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Patricia

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      Pat, you have really nailed something important. We need to encourage one another as writers and remember that we all go through those hard times. I absolutely love THE ARTIST’S WAY, and I’m going to pick up Baig’s book. Thanks for the suggestion! 🙂

  9. Stella

    Easier to say ‘It’s okay to write crap’ than to do it, so…publishing my completely unfiltered ‘practice’ here for the first time.

    *

    Failure, binary, no two ways about it. Law or writing? Fizzle out. Nobody can be a full-time writer in Singapore. Singaporeans don’t read. Nobody knows any Singaporean writers. Epigram Books fiction prize now $40,000. Are there enough good manuscripts in Singapore? Can you write a novel by September 1? Shortlist of 4. They have found 2 submissions. No don’t check now. Sacred writing time. No distractions.

    Dino Charge characters. Is this really freewriting? What do I practice for? Every day I come here and all I see is garbage. Yet yesterday, an unexpectedly poem blossomed. Unexpectedly beautiful. Why doesn’t it sound like me? Cultural imperialism, that’s not the way we talk…

    Singaporean works feel so self-conscious. Going back in to add the local flavor. Why? White on the inside. Banana.

    Berry blast. Strawberries, blueberries, acai berries, coconut water, original protein powder. Not a meal replacement, I’m still hungry.

    Is this really writing? Why doesn’t it feel like work?

    Drifting from God. Binaries. Nidhi. What if Kendall was a downright unpleasant jerk at the start? She’s both overconfident and not confident enough. We all have those contradictions.

    Think faster than I write. Maybe do this on a notebook.

    Wrapped his shell. Brave boy. Wow, Lord. How beautiful.

    How does Ray Bradbury do this? A story from nothing. Inspire yourself. Put yourself on a proper reading diet. Really. Don’t do it now. Wait to do your NLB reservation. Focus. Three times in less than seven minutes I feel distracted. That’s how short your attention span is, you the ‘focused’. Epigram, Ray, NLB reservation. Practice! Sometimes you give free rein to the disorganized part of your brain. Got your flowing spontaneity for the ‘everything’ challenge. Little bitta everything. Now, you practice focusing.

    How do you pay for things? I hate slippery slopes. O Lord, O Lord. Afraid now.

    Shrug. Well, then you gotta support your family. My own condemnation. Why not engage? What is success?

    Work, the intersection between what I enjoy and what others value. Sticking it, yet jack of all trades. Lord, the contradiction.

    Offpeak pass. 9am.

    Stories can be autobiographical too.

    So focused on perfection. The more you care, the longer it takes. Kendall!

    Publish the crap. You CAN finish in 15 minutes. You just need to stop caring so much. Publish the crap.

    I can’t publish ALL the crap. I’ve never shown someone my completely unfiltered unedited work. Like a pass straight into my brain. What if I did? How completely terrifying.

    Reply
    • Bruce Carroll

      If you haven’t gone back and re-read this yet, be sure to take the time to do so. I think you’ll be surprised to find some gold nuggets here. I’d point them out for you, but that would only show you the nuggets that are gold for me. Yours may be very different. The best to you!

    • Stella

      Thank you Bruce. I was going to pull this post. It scares me so badly, just the fact that it’s out there. Thanks.

    • Cathy Ryan

      Wow. This is like hearing two voices. One says ‘can’t’ and ‘don’t you even try.’ and the other is hungry and filled with emotion and frustration and anguish, trying to break free. I so identify with this. This is me! Yes! I know you!
      Daring to touch the nerve – that’s what you’ve done here. Who said that – about writing? Dare to touch the nerve. It’s good. It hurts there, but that emotion is where the story is.
      Thank you for sharing. Scary stuff, that sharing. Proud of you for doing it.

    • Stella

      Thank you Cathy. I spent all day dreading what I was going to find in the comments section and was going to delete my post because I was terrified of leaving it out there. You’ve given me hope. Thank you.

    • Rodgin K

      As someone with a now vested interest this was amazing to read. There really are some great pieces in here. What Bruce said, go back and read this and make sure you pull out what you need.

    • Stella

      Writing is like prostitution. All you need to do is be willing to rip everything off and show the world your naked heart. And do it again, and again, and again. Thanks Rodgin.

    • Sheila B

      i find it very easy to write crap, it once was harder to share it, put it out there for others to judge besides my own harsh critic and great that you did for first time, that’s a breakthrough, right, and we all need those. I’ve gotten through the fear of sharing my crap writing. fear is still there, i do it anyway.
      There are absolutely some great lines and reflections in this writing.

    • Ruthanne Reid

      Stella, WOW.

      I’m not just saying that. WOW. I would read a book with this voice; with the vulnerability, the passion, the fear, and the courage. This is powerful, and I know it was unfiltered.

      /Is this really writing? Why doesn’t it feel like work?/

      All I know is this worked, and worked well.

      Please don’t give up. I know it’s hard, and the money might not come in for some time. But it’s worth it. Your writing is worth it. I am breathing better for having read this piece.

    • Stella

      Hi Ruthanne,

      Might not seem like it considering how late this reply is, but thank you. Your words mean a lot to me. Copied and pasted your comment and posted it on Facebook to remind myself. Thank you.

  10. Bruce Carroll

    Exhausted, nose and sinuses clogged. Like a drain. Weather’s nice today. Summer cold. What a dumb thing, summer colds. Daughter wants to go to the library. We do. It’s a fine day, not too hot like it has been. At the library I check out Ray Bradbury’s “I Sing The Body Electric.” We go to the park after. Maybe I’ll try out this new Pokemon game. I do. It’s silly. More fun to watch the young people playing it than to actually play it myself. I have Bradbury to read.

    My daughter wants to climb a tree. I set aside smart phone and Bradbury and we climb into the only suitable climbing tree in the park. We sit together on a branch. There is bird poop up here. We can see all around. People playing on the playground. Playing Pokemon GO. Enjoying the sunshine or the shade, each as he or she prefers.

    My daughter wants to get down. She wants to jump down, but she is nervous. I point out the ground isn’t that far below her feet. It doesn’t help her relax. I jump down myself, show her it isn’t so hard. She follows. The experience was about as disappointing for her as the Pokemon game was for me.

    We’re home now, and I’m typing my practice. Word association. Stuffy head. Stuffy-achy-fever-so-you-can-rest medicine, or something like that. Half-remembered slogans. I still remember the product, though, so that’s a win for the advertising agency. Nothing like a memorable ad where I can’t remember what the product or service was. I think of trees. Of childhood. Why does time always escape into the past? Is it lost forever? We only have memories of it. Memory is fragile. I know. As a magician, I count on it. Mandela Effect and all. So many people thinking their version of reality is the only valid one. Or the most valid, anyway. But none of us even perceives reality. Not the REAL reality. If there is such a thing. For our subjective experience, reality is merely a construct, an approximation of what the world is. Then we act on it as if it is real.

    Too many distractions. Not from writing, but from everything. Our brains filter out so much of what happens, just so that we can make sense of what’s left. Then we have a memory of sitting in a tree with our daughters and don’t understand quite what happened up there.

    Distractions. Pokemon. I’ve been reading about people stepping into traffic while playing that game. Or the teen who nearly ran over a three-year-old while chasing one of the mythical beasts. Not reality at all.

    My girl wants to read to me, cutting my practice short. The words she will read are another version of reality. In the end, hearing her voice is worth it all.

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      Bruce, this is an amazing practice. There are layers of feeling, of thought, and of experience woven all through this. You’ve done a terrific job, and I believe your voice came through loud and clear. Thank you for sharing it!

    • Bruce Carroll

      Ruthanne, thank you so much for your kind words! After reading your comment, I had to go back and re-read my practice.

      One of the most valuable things I get from The Write Practice is feedback. It is so important to have a fresh set of eyes look at a piece of writing. Where you saw “layers of feeling, of thought, and of experience” it was to me (until I re-read it) just something I had written. I was surprised not only that you saw something there, but that I could see a hint of it myself. Thanks again!

  11. Sheila B

    I think this slump is permanent.
    I blame it on being employed, having a 9-6 job. I blame it on lack of ambition and talent. But sure, I’ll do word association. I have nothing to lose. I’m calm

    Calm disturbed, angry and upset before the alarm even goes off. I don’t remember the details of the dream, but the mood wakes with me, reflecting my outer need or longing; seeking some peace, some solitude.
    I roll out of bed, my shoulder still aching. No amount of ice-cold compresses is making a difference. Will yoga? No time for it this morning. There is never enough time. I’ll have to take a class, start over, but I know I’ll never be young and limber again. Still I must do something.
    I shower and pad into to my study and settle on my divan into my usual morning contemplative practice. Nothing rigorous or intense, read a few words from my chosen spiritual mentor and ponder their significance in my previous and upcoming day. See a few areas I could apply the wisdoms before my ponderings, as usual, are interrupted by visions of cinnamon toast and black coffee before I dash off to work.
    Work. Where of late I spend half my time daydreaming and re-writing my resignation letter. It’s way too long, half of it spent on designating my replacement, or rather explaining why she should be my replacement. Why do I bother? My opinion hadn’t counted around there for the last ten years.
    I’ll be forgotten as soon as I’m gone, same as the other former employees. All I see is futility
    The cat interrupts my wandering mind. But I don’t have a cat.

    — Wow! that exercise was fun and amazing, from the word calm i word associated and then my writing took off. I always enjoy the process. Why do i dread and avoid it? —

    Reply
    • Cathy Ryan

      Great question – and I loved this – “But I don’t have a cat.” Ha!

    • Ruthanne Reid

      I absolutely loved this! It flowed, Sheila; I swear I could feel the stiff gears beginning to turn more and more smoothly as you went. This is greatly encouraging.

      Don’t give up. Don’t stop writing. You can do this, no matter what’s going on. I believe in you!

  12. Kikku

    REMEMBERING YOU

    It is raining.

    I am sitting beside the open window, watching the landscape stretched in front of me, the books on my table forgotten.
    I know that I should study, I must. I have a very important exam next week and my preparations are not up to the mark. But what can I do?….

    It is raining!

    The air, full of moisture, plays with my hair. I close my eyes and imagine that it is not the whisper of moist air coming through the open window, it is actually your breath which is caressing my face.

    I am wondering what you are doing right now… Is it raining there too?….. Does the grey sky, clad in layers of gloomy cloud, invoke the same longing in you? Do they make you remember those days when you used to tell me, ” Whenever it rains, I wanna be a bird! Will you fly away with me, Anita?”….??

    I am watching the green yards, the trees drenching happily in rain – how can there be so many shades of green, I wonder!
    The horizon is getting blurry due to the heavy rainfall. As if the rain is trying to protect the grey sky and the green field from wandering eyes, as they are rejoicing their clandestine meeting at the horizon!
    Do you remember that was exactly why we used to meet in rainy days? It provided us some times when we could be blissfully alone with each other.

    I can close my eyes and see that very old banyan tree which protected us mostly from the rain.

    I inhale deeply. I can still remember the heady smell of wet soil, rain, old tree, mixed with your own unique scent.

    I can remember everything very clearly after all these years. Believe me, I have tried to forget, just as you advised me to do. I buried those feelings deep inside my mind.

    But in these treacherous rainy days I become the bird I once used to be, I fly towards the grey sky, searching for you.Because I know you become a bird too when it rains. Just my heart doesn’t want to believe that we no longer share the same sky….

    Is it raining there too, my love?
    Are you too wondering if it is the raindrops which is wetting your face? But raindrops don’t taste salty, do they?

    Reply
    • Ruthanne Reid

      Oh, Kikku, this is lovely! The longing and contemplative quiet of the situation come through loud and clear. This was a wonderful practice. Keep writing!

  13. Justine McGrath

    Thank you. This is most helpful.

    Reply

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