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Friday, November 5, 2010

Spell, Caress, and Shine: Three prompts

In our journaling group we recently did one of my favorite writing activities: single word prompts.

This is how it works. The leader chooses some random word and says it aloud. We all have just 3 minutes to write whatever comes to mind. Then after 3 minutes, the buzzer goes off and we are given another single word. We write spontaneously to that word for 3 minutes. Again the buzzer, and again a new word.  We do not begin this activity knowing the 3 words; they are presented only one at a time.

Three minutes is not very long to write, so we know we don’t have time to think and ponder, and certainly no time to craft that perfect sentence/paragraph. The words are randomly chosen, so they may or may not have any connection to one another. It doesn’t matter. This activity is not a brainy thing, but rather a practice in spilling forth the words that lie tangled or dormant. When we did this last week, our words were spell, caress, and shine. Usually when I do this activity, I end up with 3 very different pieces of writing and there is no correlation at all between one and another. This last time however, I experienced the flow from one to the next in a way I’ve seen others do, but have never done before. I thought I’d share what emerged here on The Nitty Gritty of Writing.

Note – I do not claim these to be good pieces of writing, only fun ones.

Spell bound: B-O-U-N-D. No, not spell “bound”, spellbound! Spellbound for love, for passions, for manic drive. Spellbound by juicy spices that prick the soul and make it bleed beauty – spellbound, you fool! Spellbound to the glory place where blind begets vision and pain turns inside out and the raw becomes truth and the truth returns feeling to the place where pain had numbed the skin and layered it into thick, dead callouses….

Caressssss the callouses and tenderize them with pressure. Yes, pressure applied, then released, then reapplied with movement, a rhythm, a stroke, a pause, a gasp, a sigh. Ahhh! Caressssss

Shine on! Shine on, Harvest Moon! I ain’t had no lovin’ since… ah, the caress –
the caress that sets me spellbound. Spell caress: 


the caress that puts stars in my eyes and makes them sparkle and shine.

Shine. Shine!
Shine-o-mize. Shinomize me. Oh yeah, Shinomize me! Shino-licious!


  1. Whoo hoo! That response is the first thing that came out of my mouth when I read this! I'm glad you shared it with us.