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.
- 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
Beautiful places inspire me.
Today I am posting a series of photos taken at one of South Australia’s beautiful places, Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens, about a half hour drive from the Adelaide CBD. It is a wonderful picnic area all year long, though one should perhaps avoid it on really hot days which we occasionally have in summer. (The park may be closed on a handful of days a year when there is a high risk of fire.)
The gardens consist of hundreds of different species of native and exotic plants. There is something of interest for visitors around the calendar. And there is plenty to inspire the poet, story writer and even song writers. Even if a poem or story does not come from your visit, just wandering along the many walking paths in the gardens will refresh you so much you will return to your writing room ready to pour out words again.
Write about your “beautiful places”, locations you love to visit and which inspire you to write. This may be a poem, lyrics for a song, a short story, a blog post or even a scene in your novel.
We take many things for granted in our world. Most Australians would assume that running water in our home was an essential utility, one we couldn’t do without. We certainly whinge and complain if the water supply is cut off for an hour or two for repairs or for pipeline maintenance. It’s as if someone had cut off our hand.
I took the photo above in the village of Sefrou near Fes in Morocco when we were touring that country a year or so ago. The people of this village had no water piped into their homes. They had to visit the public fountain in the street to gather water for their domestic use, probably several times a day. It is a hardship we in western countries would not tolerate, but for these people it has been a way of life for centuries.
What hardships do you face? Think about aspects of your life which might be a hindrances to you fully realising your desire to write. Is it a difficult family situation? Perhaps illness? Is it an unrewarding job you must maintain to survive? What about that disability?
Write about the things that hinder you from fully realising your potential as a writer. Turn your scribbled notes and ideas into a magazine article, or a short fictional story or even a touching, emotional poem.
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.
On our visit to Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, we were exploring the Kasbah des Oudaias with its twisting lanes and narrow streets when we came across this musician. He was singing while playing his three-stringed lute – I think it’s called a guinbri or santir and is common and popular throughout western Africa.
- Who is this man?
- Why is he singing in public?
- What is his background story?
When I am faced with writing a short story based on an image or photograph or something I’ve seen, I start with the person’s name. I don’t know the name of the man in the photo, so I will have to make one up. I try to be authentic to the setting. I ask a few questions, like those above. Other questions like “what is he doing – and why?” often start a stream of ideas.
I let the story take over, directing my thoughts and just getting down the words as they come.
If the character takes over the narrative and demands to have her story told, that’s exciting. Just go with the flow. Get the words down quickly; editing and rewriting come later.