Writing prompt: Storks on the roof
A few years ago my wife, daughter and I travelled through magical Morocco. It was an amazing experience which assaulted the senses in every way. I still look back with amazement at my photos which beautifully encapsulate some of the sensory experiences of that trip.
I also took more than a passing interest in the wildlife, the birds in particular. I write about Australian birds here. In many places we saw plenty of White Storks, shown in the photos above and below. They are amazing birds, and their nests on chimney stacks and on roofs are enormous. They make quite a picture against the sky.
The photos I have included were taken in the village of Ifrane, one of Morocco’s main skiing resorts. That’s snow skiing, by the way. Not many people I know realise that Morocco has extensive snow fields in the Atlas Mountains. The village felt as though we had stepped right into the Swiss Alps, complete with ubiquitous chalets (see last photo).
- Write about skiing trips you have been on.
- Write about the most interesting birds you have ever seen.
- Imagine living in a house where a pair of storks have made a nest. Describe your reaction and how they impact your life.
- Describe a wild storm which destroys the storks’ nest on your roof. Imagine how you deal with the orphaned chicks. Turn your writing into a short story or a series of poems.
- Have you had birds nesting on or near your house such as a tree or bush in your garden? Describe your feelings and how the presence of the birds affected you.
- Research the mythology associated with storks and write an article or blog post about them.
- Explore the relationship between storks and humans in different cultures and write a short story featuring storks.
- Write a series of poems about storks and how they influence or interact with humans.
Writing prompt: a farmer’s old truck
Many people have a fascination with old vehicles. Some even spend great amounts of money to buy old cars and motor bikes and then spent countless hours restoring them, polishing them and sometimes even driving them.
This vintage truck was a part of the Taplan Railway Centenary celebrations in October 2013. Taplan is the small Murray Mallee town south east of Loxton in South Australia where I grew up on a wheat and sheep farm. My nephew and his sons still run the farm my father started in the 1920s.
The truck in the photo is being driven by Lance Pech from the farm next door to where I grew up. Lance and I grew up together going to the small one-teacher school at Taplan. He ended up working the farm with his father for many years. He was also very active in bringing together many of the elements of the special celebrations on the day I took the photo.
- Write a piece of fiction featuring this old farm truck as a central character.
- Write an imaginary piece from the point of view of the truck.
- Tell the life story of the truck, or its owners.
- Research what life was like in rural Australia in the early years, say, the 1920s. Write an article about the good times and the bad times.
- Write a story about the special events the truck has been a part of down through the decades.
- Write about some important tasks the truck may have contributed to during its working life.
- Write about a car enthusiast who found and restored this vehicle.
Writing prompt: Sydney Harbour
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is such an iconic structure it is instantly recognisable the world over. Whenever we visit our son and our grandchildren in Sydney we cross this wonderful bridge a number of times on every visit. They live several railway stations north of the bridge or about an hour’s walk from home.
We have driven over the bridge, gone over it numerous times on trains, walked across it and gone under it on ferries. The only thing I haven’t done is the Bridge Climb OVER it (see photo below). Getting a bit old and shaky in the knees for that. Should have done it for my 60th Birthday Bash as I had planned.
- If you have been to Sydney write about your experiences.
- If you have been on the Bridge Climb describe the sensation of being up so high.
- If you have not been on the climb, imagine what it would be like, describing the experiences.
- Notice the huge pylons on each side and at each end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Imagine a murder takes place inside one of the towers. Write a short story about how this occurs, and the aftermath.
- Write about the most unusual bridge you have ever seen.
- Write about any rickety, unsafe or downright dangerous bridge you have crossed. (For me that would have to be the suspension bridges crossed while trekking in the Everest region of Nepal. DON”T look down!)
- Write about a ferry ride on Sydney Harbour that turns very sour; someone is murdered or thrown overboard.
- Write a poem about the beautiful harbour, the waves or the bridge itself.
Writing prompt: unusual pets
I guess that most of us can remember having to write an essay, story or composition about pets while at school. This always caused me a few problems. I lived on a farm and although we had plenty of animals around us all the time, all of them were “working” animals; they all had a purpose, from the horses and cows to the pigs, dogs and ducks. Perhaps only the cats could be called pets, though they, too, had a role in minimising the number of mice around the house and sheds.
Sometimes I envied children who had unusual pets. Few pets, however, compare with the animal in today’s photos. A genuine, real, living alligator is not your average household pet. This animal is part of the show about reptiles at the Australian Reptile Park in Gosford, north of Sydney. This animal knows how to behave when in the presence of its keeper because it has lived with the keeper for many years and is well trained.
Trained or not – that alligator is not welcome in MY home.
- Write about your pets – describing them, listing their likes and dislikes, their nature and their characteristics.
- Write a poem about the most unusual pet you can imagine.
- Write an article about keeping pet birds, reptiles, insects, or amphibians. some research may be needed.
- Write a story about the day your pet boa constrictor took over your dinner party.
- Write a poem about the time you took your pet lamb/puppy/fish/lizard to school.
Writing prompt: giraffes and other animals
I took the photo above on a recent visit to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales.
The giraffe is looking straight at me as I was taking the photo, prompting me to think that it was wondering what I was doing – or perhaps it is thinking: “Are you looking at me?”
This photo was taken during the time when the general public can get up close and personal with the giraffes. Various species of animals have times set throughout the day when the public can feed and touch the animals. One has to pay for the privilege of interacting with the animals in this way. It also means you get your photo taken up really close as well.
On this occasion there were a few people lined up to feed the giraffes, and many more curious onlookers like ourselves. For the onlookers it also allows some excellent photographic opportunities. This is particularly so with such a large animal as the giraffe.
- Write a story or essay explaining what the giraffe is thinking.
- Write a poem about giraffes.
- Write about a close encounter you once had with a wild animal – or one in a zoo or a cage.
- Imagine that humans could ride on the backs of giraffes. Write a story about “The great giraffe race.”
- Imagine being a giraffe for a day. What adventures do you have? Outline the good and bad aspects of being a giraffe.