Writing prompt: To sleep, to sleep, perchance to dream

Koala asleep in the Australian Reptile Park

Koala asleep in the Australian Reptile Park

As the years encroach I find that more and more frequently I am in need of sleep. I can be reading a book and I slip off into noddy land; it doesn’t matter how interesting the book is either.

Or I can be working at my computer hammering out my latest best-seller, er… make that my first best-seller as I haven’t had one yet, and I will nod off into slumberland.

Trying to watch the news of some other interesting show on television is often fatal too, because sleep often creeps in and I don’t see the end of the show.

It can be quite frustrating. In all seriousness, my wife tells me that I frequently have a sleep apnoea problem. On advice from my doctor I have an appointment at a sleep clinic in a few weeks’ time and I hope that will indicate what needs to be done to solve this problem.

But I digress.

The koala in the picture above shows a koala enjoying a nap. Koalas often sleep for 18 to 20 hours a day. Bliss. I think I’ll become a koala, but the downside is that I would get very little writing and reading done. Perhaps I would finish off a few writing projects if I reversed the koala’s sleep regime: sleep for 4 – 6 hours and write for 18 – 20 hours a day.

Writing prompts:

  • Write a story about a koala’s dreams.
  • Write a story based on one of your dreams.
  • Write a story about a dream you would like to have.
  • Write a poem in praise of sleep.
  • Research the sleep patterns of your favourite animals or birds and write an article based on your research.
  • Write a story in which animals feature in your dreams.
  • Write a limerick about someone who can’t sleep.
  • Write a story in which you cannot sleep for months on end. What do you do to fill in the time?
  • Write a story about two fictitious characters who only meet in your dreams. You can be a part of the dream too.
  • Describe the places you find it easy to fall asleep.
  • Describe the routines you include in your day to help get a good night’s sleep.

Good writing, good sleeping and goodnight.

Photo credit: Taken during a family visit to the Australian Reptile Park near Gosford north of Sydney. © Trevor Hampel

Poem #46 Sacred Kingfisher

Sacred Kingfisher in our garden today

Sacred Kingfisher

Flash of blue-green
Lights up the early morning
Drabness of the mallee trees
Just metres from our breakfast table.

We sit transfixed by the kingfisher
On a dead branch overhanging our rose garden.
Tail-flicking and head bobbing
It surveys the garden for its breakfast.

It drops to the ground, a living arrow
Of death for a beetle, gecko or native cockroach,
A quick gobble and it’s gone,
A kingfisher gourmet delicacy.

It reads my mind, lingers long enough
For photos, posing in a variety of settings
But always within reach of my camera lens,
A modest model robed in holy turquoise.


© 2013 Trevor W. Hampel All rights reserved.

To read more about this wonderful encounter, go to my birding site to read about “A beautiful guest at breakfast” . I’ve included several more photos on that post, too.

Let the birds inspire you

Sun Conure, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

I have to admit that birds inspire me. Not only do I write regularly about them on my site Trevor’s Birding, I also use every opportunity to get out into the the garden or the surrounding bushland to watch and photograph birds. I also enjoy visiting various zoos around Australia. Some of these, like my home zoo in Adelaide, have walk through aviaries which make the photography of birds a little less challenging, and often very rewarding.

Because of my love of our many wonderful birds here in Australia I have found myself writing frequently about them, not just on my birding site. I have written dozens of poems about them as well as featuring them in short stories and in my novels. Somehow, some of them always creep in – almost uninvited. As a spin-off from my writing and photography I also get many requests to be a guest speaker, showing my bird photos to community groups. Publishers now send me books about birds to review which is a delightful bonus.

Birds can be inspiring to everyone. Even if you are not as obsessive about them as I am, I’d recommend that you take time out to not only smell the roses, but to also watch the birds. If you lack bird life in your neighbourhood, seek out a nearby park, lake, swamp, zoo, river or seashore. Sit and watch the birds going about their daily activities. Let their beauty inspire you. You may find that just being near these wonderful creatures is enough to refresh you for your next writing session. You don’t have to even write about them.

Good writing.

Red-collared Lorikeets, Adelaide Zoo, South Australia

Writing prompt: What is the cockatoo saying?

Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

I recently been looking through my library of photos trying to find suitable images to share on my birding site.  I’d forgotten about the photo shown above. I took it some years ago when driving through suburban Adelaide in South Australia. A small flock of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos was investigating some hollows in a street tree. I stopped, whipped out the camera and they posed very obligingly for me, including the curious bird in the photo.

Writing prompt: What is the bird thinking? What might it say if it could talk? Many parrots, including this species, can be taught to say quite a few words. Imagine a conversation between you and the bird.

Good writing.

The birds of the air

New Holland Honeyeater in our garden

Followers of this site may also be aware that I also write regularly about birds on another site of mine – Trevor’s Birding. The site also includes many hundreds of photos of Australian birds taken in my garden and on my travels around Australia. More recently I have included photos and articles about birds seen on a recent holiday in Ethiopia. Over the coming months I will also feature birds seen in both Morocco and Spain. What I experienced with my family on that holiday is also featured on another of my sites, Trevor’s Travels.

The birds in our garden in rural South Australia are a constant delight to us and visitors to our home. There is a constant stream of birds going from tree to tree, flying overhead or feeding on flowering bushes. I frequently photograph them and also write articles about them. From time to time they also inspire me to write poems or even short stories featuring the birds I see.

Writing prompt: take out time to watch the birds in your garden, or a nearby park, beach or river bank. Write a poem about one of the birds you see. If you would like comments about your poem, post it in the comments section (maximum 40 lines).

New Holland Honeyeater in our garden