One of the benefits of travelling is meeting interesting people. This is true wherever you go, but I have found it especially so when travelling to exotic and beguiling places like Morocco. On our visit to the village of Sefrou near Fes we met this 85 year old blacksmith, still happily working away at repairing farmers’ tools. He was very happy with his life’s work and, despite his age, intended to continue with his important trade.
Write a fictional story about this man and the life he may have lived. Imagine the changes he may have seen in his lifetime, and what has remained the same. Perhaps include some heartaches, disappointments and also the joys of his life. Your main character doesn’t have to be a blacksmith, nor does he have to live in Morocco. Over to you.
On our tour of Morocco several years ago I photographed this very patient mule standing just outside a shop in the busy medina of the city of Fes.
It just stood there patiently, ignoring the milling throng all around, oblivious to the movement, the noise and the general confusion.
- Write about a time you had to be very patient.
- Write about an occasion when someone had to be very patient with you.
- Write a list of the virtues of patience.
- Write a poem titled “Patience”.
- Write a short story starting with the words: “After three hours of patient waiting…”
- Write a short story finishing with the words “It had been a day that severely tested my patience.’
If only the stones could talk.
I was totally fascinated by the ancient Roman ruins of Volubilis in Morocco when we visited during our tour of that country. It was certainly a highlight of the tour – a holiday with many highlights. These ruins are now a declared UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Volubilis was settled in the third century BC but only reached its zenith as a commercial, cultural and administrative centre under Roman rule in the first century AD. It was occupied for at least another 700 years, so it has a long and rich history.
Many of the ruins were destroyed during an earthquake in the 18th century, and it is only in the last 20 years that excavations have revealed some of its former glory.
While wandering around the site, the writer in me couldn’t help speculate about the myriads of stories these ancient ruins could tell. At one stage over 20,000 people lived here. Each had a story to tell.
- What did they dream of?
- What struggles did they have?
- How many tragedies could be related?
- Who were the heroes – and the villains – who called this home?
- Think of some historic place you know well – or even revisit it.
- It can be a building, a monument or even a natural feature steeped in history.
- It could even be a photo of a place you have never visited – like those above and below.
- Let your mind imagine the people of the past who may have worked there, lived there or had lives changed by being there.
- Drawing on your imagination, write about those people, telling their story.
The Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat, Morocco is obviously a sacred place in that country, going by the number of people visiting the site during our tour. If it isn’t a sacred place, it is certainly a very special place to many Moroccans.
We all have our special places; some of them are quite sacred to us. One special place for me is the small hill in the Flinders Ranges in outback South Australia. The panoramic view of the Wilpena Pound mountains in the moonlight was a perfect place to propose to my girlfriend. More than 40 years later she is still my wife.
This mausoleum was a sombre place. The stunning beauty of the building added to the strong sense of place and occasion.
- What sacred, or special places do you have in your life; write about them, describing why they are special.
- Write accounts of special places you have visited.
- Write a story set around a place which is special or sacred to someone else – perhaps a place special to many people.
- Write a poem about a place which is very special to many people in your country.
During our visit to the capital of Morocco we stopped briefly at the Mausoleum of Mohammed V in Rabat. This was one of many beautiful buildings we saw during our tour.
Just before we went inside, I took several photos of some Moroccan women talking. They were attired in what I assume was the standard of dress in that area.
- What is their story?
- Why have they come to visit the mausoleum?
- What did Mohammed V mean to them?
- Why is the little boy fascinated by me taking a photo of them?
- Write a poem from the point of view of the curious little boy.
- Write a short story from your point of view with a focus on the death of someone you admire, triggered by visiting this memorial.
- Let your imagination fly in any direction as a result of seeing these photos.