Tag Archives: time

Friday Reflections: A Year Ago & Letters

Good day, folks, hope you’ve had a great week so far! This holiday season always gives me a chance to wrap up my year with quality time with family & friends, catching up with overdue reading (especially since I have time off) and, of course, loads of writing ūüôā

I’m just going to give this a try — two reflections topics in one post. As a celebration! The first topic is¬†A Year Ago, which was incidentally inspired by the fact that it’s the one-year anniversary of¬†The Horse’s Fountain¬†¬†ūüėÄ and I also thought of it because of one of my November PAD poems I’d been re-reading today.

A Year Ago

This thought always hits me whenever I sit myself down to write my Time Capsule letters, or just reflect on my New Year’s Resolutions every January 1st. It’s amazing how much your life can change in a year. How your habits have changed, friendships¬†perhaps, or maybe even something as big as your job or where you live!

You could reflect on all the big and little changes in your life over the past year — why or how did they come about? Do you like these changes? How many of these changes were your own decisions? Were any forced¬†on you?¬†Would you prefer how things used to be, or are you very comfortable with how things are at present? How drastically do you think things may change over the¬†next 365 days? And how many of¬†these coming changes are going to be under your control?

Perhaps you don’t like controlling things much at all! I know people who love going with the flow and taking life a day at a time! ūüôā

Perspectives

I mentioned that this reflection was prompted by one of the poems I wrote in November. That poem was, in fact, prompted by a¬†news item. One that occurred a year ago. My poem was a reflection on how that incident has impacted the country and the mindset of the people — and of course, me personally. You could always take something like that as a prompt.

A news article or any incident from around a year ago.

You could write from the perspective of someone who lived ten years ago, writing about something that happened eleven years ago. Perhaps something that, at the time, seemed small, but became a revolution.

Political situations change a great deal over the course of a year; and in wars, so very many lives are lost in that same span. Personal perspectives on public matters make for powerful poems!

As for fiction–there are plenty of novels whose stories take place over the span of a year, and it’s more than obvious that things have changed a great deal by the end! It’s the¬†how of it that could make it interesting. How will your character journey through it? How will it be different? How will that make a difference?

So go ahead, start with: a year ago… and let your experiences and creativity lead the way. Perhaps you’d prefer “one year later/a year later” (which is what I chose for my poem).¬†

Reflections: Letters

The second topic for today’s reflections is¬†letters. A glance at the dictionary tells us that there are several meanings for, and usages of, the word.

Letters of the alphabet (The letters in someone’s name, or initials; you could have fun with palindromes, even). The relation between letters and their phonetic equivalents!

Letters — those ol’ things we (once used to) communicate with, sending them off in envelopes stamped with loved ones’ addresses.

The letter of the law.

Men and women of letters.

Letter size paper!

A name lettered on a plaque.

And more. Take your pick at any meaning and try to write around that!

Letters, for me, first mean–those long personal messages (or communications) written in longhand on quality stationery ūüôā They could be letters exchanged by pen-pals who’ve never met, or ones sent by distant family members or friends, or love letters. I’ve often given letters to friends for their birthdays, or if we’re parting ways. And I’ve written poems about writing letters to people!

They make for great symbols in stories (think Poe’s¬†The Purloined Letter, in which we never know the contents of the letter!). The success or failure of communication could be implied through letters. A packed, unopened mailbox could say so much about a character. As would a mailbox that always remains empty (perhaps the character checks it every day), or a mailbox that has a regular letter every day/week/month!

You could write a novel in epistolary format Рi.e., in the form of letters, as Alice Walker has in The Color Purple and Stephen Chboksy has in The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Or write a poetry collection in epistolary format, but in verse, of course.

Whenever you write in letter format though (unless it’s actually a letter meant for someone) whom do you address? Do you think of any particular family member or friend? Or that¬†Dear Diary kind of personality? The person you choose to address would make all the difference. If the poem is about your father and you address your grandmother (father’s mother) throughout, that’s going to sound very different compared to how you’d talk to your other grandmother, or your mother, even, about your father. How is the piece most effective? (The form of the poem/text is a part of its meaning, after all.)

Thank you for stopping by & Happy Writing!

Before I sign off, I’d like to¬†thank everyone who has taken the time to stop by my blog -read a post, to like a post, to follow- everybody! Thank you so much!

I hope the prompts have been helpful! Wish everyone a great weekend, a merry Christmas, and a wonderful end of the year! And, of course,¬†happy writing! ūüėÄ

Friday Reflections: The Last Lap

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Congratulations! You DID IT!  (Image Source)

Hullo, folks! I’m sorry I wasn‚Äôt able to offer any more prompts for November, the second half of the month kept me busy. But I hope everyone was able to hit their November Challenges’ goals! If you did…congratulations!

There’s a lot that comes after the completion of the NaNo Novel draft, or the PAD poetry collection, but you should spend some time cooling off before all that.

Maybe write something else!

And that’s where today’s Reflections post comes in. ūüôā

The topic is…well, not so much a topic as a phrase: “the last lap”

Brainstorm!

I wouldn’t want to hamper your creativity by putting my thoughts into your head, so take a few minutes and brainstorm on the phrase “the last lap” – jot down all the words, phrases, thoughts and sketches (perhaps you see an image in your mind) that come to you. Maybe you drew a poem right out of that? I’ve even read a short story that had a title resembling “the last lap”; I can also see much potential for it in non-fiction!

The Last Lap

This Reflections topic came to me on November 30th – the last day of the November challenge. I told myself, just one more day, just one more poem (when, really, that’s how I’d been doing it all along – one day at a time, one poem at a time).

The last lap.

Some days, along the November challenge, I’d felt a little burnt out by the time I got to poeming, but I managed to write the one. But this was the last day.

Just as I would’ve done if I’d really been on the track, running a mile or a marathon, I decided to sprint the last few hundred yards. Pour every last bit of my creative energy unto the page and let it take me where it would.

Never mind if you’re burnt out, this is the last one – it’s amazing how powerfully convincing that thought can be.

One last time. The last lap.

I used to run a lot of track & field some years ago, so the last lap metaphor resonates with me a great deal. (In fact, one of the poems I wrote this November -one of the better ones- is all about running track.) Long distance running is all about pacing, but the end, whenever I turned the corner and knew the finish line was less than a minute away, I would just make a dash for it. That always used to be my favorite part.

Just as the ending of a good book is my favorite part, or that last line of a poem that has the power to break, utterly crush, or just sweep your soul away, and be remembered fondly for it.

Those are some of the things that always come to my mind when I think ‘the last lap’. Maybe you could write about the month of December – it’s the last month of the year. Or about Winter, the last of the four seasons before Spring rolls in to “renew” the world.

The idea of the¬†last lap¬†also vaguely reminds me of the O’Henry short story,¬†The Last Leaf. You could look at it from the¬†time’s running out, but you’ve still got a lap to go¬†perspective (recalls Frost’s “miles to go before I sleep”)!

You could recollect your experience writing the last bit of whatever you’d taken up for your November Challenge.

Maybe, as how I related to track & field, you could write about the literal last lap in a race – could be a car race, or maybe you’re the last runner in a relay?

You could look beyond the finish line: with the perspective that the end of something means the beginning of something else.

Sometimes the after-the-last-lap time turns out to be most interesting. After the month-long challenge, I rode on simply by momentum: I wrote three poems within the first two days of December!

Happy Writing!

I hope everyone’s last lap of November had been satisfying, maybe even rewarding! ūüôā November’s a great month to take up a writing challenge because the writing fever’s just goes around, as does inspiration. But the writer’s real challenge is to keep at it, to create something every month of the year, to work writing into his/her every day.

I wish all my fellow writers a great last month of 2013 – filled with plenty of writing and holiday & family goodness!

Happy holiday season, and happy writing, folks~ ūüôā

Friday Reflections: Clockwork

How’s the first week of the November Challenges been? Hope everyone’s been progressing swimmingly! We’re already one week in, which means we’re a quarter way through our challenges! Here’s the weekly prompt/reflection, if you need something to write about:

This Friday’s topic is¬†clockwork!

I was actually talking to my father about the physics/mechanics behind clocks at dinner tonight and that’s when I figured I could blog/poem about the same topic – there’s a¬†lot of potential with stories and poetry where clocks, time, mechanics, cogs and the like are concerned.

What’s the first thing that struck you when you read the word¬†clockwork? Did this image here put anything into your head? This image may take the term in a very literal sense; is there a way you can take the idea behind clockworks and convert it into a¬†metaphor for something bigger, some similar function in life or the way something else works in the world?

Fiction writers: maybe in your next story, clocks play a major role as symbols? And perhaps the functioning of the clocks reflects the way things happen to/around the characters?

The Physics Behind It

Looking into the inner workings of clocks got me reflecting on how¬†intricate¬†the setup is on the inside, compared to how simple and, perhaps mundane in the 21st century, the external appearance now seems to us. (This contrast could also be something to write about!) It’s interesting to break machines down to their basic principles and take a closer look into their functioning – the¬†oscillations that make it run, the sixty minute (as in¬†tiny) motions that make a larger hand move…

Much study and effort have gone into the development of this tool – it happened years and years ago, but it has a most common place in many people’s lives now. The clock is perhaps something we take for granted at this point in time. [Random thought/prompt: When did you learn to tell the time? In how many languages can you tell the time?]

The physics behind¬†machines¬†offers a great deal to reflect upon.¬†It also applies to all living things, even ourselves. There’s so much (both physically, in terms of brain and muscle power, and psychologically) that goes behind every movement we make, every action of ours!

Other thoughts

Some of the other things that come to my mind when I think “clockwork” are:

  • that splendid¬†tick-tock sound clocks make – which annoys some and inspires others
    • what about the source of that sound?
    • consider your sense for time – are you always aware of it, or do you lose track of it completely? (perhaps you don’t care much for it at all?)
    • how about your characters – do they keep a close vigil on time?
  • time-bombs (I’m pretty sure I thought of this just because I watched crime-related tv shows an hour ago)
  • this line from Paul Auster’s novel¬†The Man in the Dark:¬†“I’m just a personnel officer, a little cog in a big machine.” (loved this book, would definitely recommend the read)
  • the number 32,768 (which is now stuck in my head, and has to do with the mechanics of the clock – among other devices)
  • the very¬†system¬†of¬†day/night/time¬†makes for a great tool in fiction and poetry
    • I’ve seen the progress from¬†day to night¬†being used in several ways in novels – as symbols, as metaphors; to establish setting, to create a sense of¬†urgency. Day and night are common archetypal symbols – perhaps they carry different meanings for you?

Hope this gives you something to write/blog/poem about along your November ride! Happy writing folks! ūüėÄ