I had nothing today, so I went to the NaBloPoMo website to check out the blogging prompts. One that caught my eye was “What is your favourite part about writing?”

I can answer that. Last year a former professor, who was originally from the US but has lived most of her adult life in Innsbruck, started a writing group for English speakers. It is about once a month. We start with a warm-up exercise, usually something physical like walking around or writing with our left hand. Then we complete written exercises, some with materials we have started to write before the class. It is a good and intense three hours.

One exercise that I remember in particular was when the teacher brought about 10 very unusual instruments. I couldn’t have named a single one of them. I chose one and the writing began.

First we had to describe the instrument with no emotion. Simple factual description. Next we wrote from the perspective of the instrument, how it was built, what were its feelings and thoughts. Thirdly was a conversation between the instrument and someone who picked it up.

The story I wove was that the instrument was from South Africa and a couple on their honeymoon from England bought it as a souvenir. Once back at home, the couple played it seldom as life and family rolled along, as it tends to do.

The last part of the exercise was to answer the question, “What am I?”, again from the perspective of the instrument. Some in the group were quite literal, while others were a bit more philosophical. I remember really not sure what to write to answer this question, as I certainly had no idea of what the instrument was actually called. I sat for a long time and then this just come into my head and I captured it:

I am a memory, a reminder. Travels to a strange and far away place. My music brings back moments to those who brought me here.

I am a longing. To try something new, to be someone else. Someone who can make the sweet notes come together to form music, to form magic.

I am an object, an article. Set aside and forgotten for years at a time.

I am a distraction, an oddity, meant to show that those who keep me have travelled, were once adventurous.

I am an instrument, born to be played, to touch someone’s heart as they touch my body.

I am wood and metal. Disposable, degradable, one day to return to  the earth that bore me.

I am for you.

I really liked what I wrote, and the words just poured out without any planning or editing. And that is what I love about writing. When something that feels beyond me comes to the page. It makes me feel part of something bigger than myself. And that is a perspective I always appreciate.

7 Responses to “Writing”

  1. Lucy says:

    Wow, I don’t think I could have done the instrument exercise and I loved your writing answer.

  2. JewelsD says:

    What a great exercise! What you wrote was beautiful.

  3. hillary says:

    Thanks Lucy! Luckily we have a great facilitator to lead us through the exercieses.

  4. hillary says:

    Thanks JewelsD! It was certainly one of the more creative exercises we were challenged with.

  5. The Dad says:

    What a talented daughter. Both JB and I love your writing.
    And thanks again for the great 80th presentation.
    The Dad

  6. hillary says:

    That is sweet Dad and Jocelyn. Thank you!

  7. Lori says:

    You are amazing. You really do need to write more, Hils. Talent abounds …