Creative writing exercises for gardeners – we’re on again!

I started doing prompts for creative writing particularly designed for gardeners a little while ago but then life took over. Hmm.

However, so many of you said they were useful that I’m starting again. Do feel free to share this post, to leave your work in the comments or generally use this resource as you want. I’m going to do them along with you too, so you’ll have my poems as examples.

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The inspiration for this particular exercise came from my lovely friend Penny, who runs Le Petit Jardin in Tunbridge Wells who put these beauties above through my letterbox recently. Some of you may know that I’ve just come out of hospital with the virus so it felt a particular act of faith in the future to be both receiving and planting seeds.

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So I am using this as my first prompt for you. There are six stages and I suggest you do them in order and then see what you’ve got. But as always with creative writing, if any of them takes you somewhere else – GO!

There’s absolutely no right or wrong way to do this.

    1. Imagine an emotion – lust, kindness, joy, even fear – being sent to you. How would it arrive? What means of transport might it take? How does it get to you? How is it packed? Use your imagination.
    2. Link this emotion with something from the natural world – lust with a rose, perhaps, or envy with a weed. If they don’t seem to fit together well, then so much the better.
    3. A snippet of instruction – if joy came to you via helicopter, then might it be to put on your seatbelt. If anger was sent in a vegetable box, then maybe it should be washed before eating.
    4. Now bring in a wish for the future. It can be for the world, or it can be personal.
    5. Now add a snatch of dialogue. It’s often surprising how this can bring a piece of writing to life.
    6. And lastly include a sound, or a taste, or a smell, or a touch. As I’ve written before we too often forget about these senses, concentrating mostly on sight.

 

 

Here’s my version…

Seeds
Sarah Salway

Kindness came through my letterbox
wrapped in brightly coloured envelopes,
each one carrying its own instructions –
some early-mid, some late flowering –
to tide me through the year,
heralding a summer of drinks
in the garden with friends, carelessly
picked sprigs of mint, conversations
meandering without a ‘how are you’
to thud us back to earth. Will we laugh
at how once we bellowed out of windows,
refused eye contact as if even a glance
may bring us too close? I’m going to hug
you so tight, my phone tingles with messages
I read now on every seed packet, so I juggle
them like playing cards in a game of chance,
nature reproducing itself in rustling paper
like a miracle just when we need it most.
You can find more of the creative writing exercises for gardeners here, and I do hope you manage ten minutes with your journal over the next week.