A wild thought races across my mind
A cheetah chasing the deer across the flatlands
I wait, close my eyes to focus on the deer
Yet the details escape me – What was I thinking?
They run faraway into the sunlit horizon of my mind
Till all I can see are two hazy forms running.
A little fuzzball, like a bear cub
Waddles over to the forefront of my thoughts.
My attention shifts, I can see better now.
It’s an idea to create, to do something interesting
To create a soft tactile pillow, soft to touch
Fun to play with. I watch the little bear cub.
Ever so slowly as it rambles around the grass
I see it changing shape, slowing down.
A soft brown felt pillow sits on my sofa.
My son hugs it tight
as he watches his favourite cartoon show
On a sultry summer evening.
~ Bharti Athray
I think this a challenge each writer faces when we decide to make writing a habit. After the initial burst of energy, things slow down and you often find yourself wondering what you should be writing about. After all, if you are writing for a blog, or your diary which you hope one day will be published, you do want to make your stuff readable. In my experience, my eternal sources of inspiration are as follows:
- Material that I read. I find it extremely useful to read a novel, an article or listen to news or stories on the radio and share my views and opinions on the same. It makes you think about the content and forces you to take a stance – which I feel most of the writers in the public forum tend to shy away from.
- My environment. I have found that when I have the goal of writing an article, my mind begins to look for inspiration in each object. It could be a green bottle of water that makes me question the beginnings of coloured bottles and takes my mind back to an article I read almost 20 years ago about the glass blowers of Austria; it could be the pillow on my bed and I wonder about the earliest references to pillows, the wooden headrest used by the Japanese… making me want to do a bit of research to discover why they chose such a hard material to rest their heads on at the end of the day.
- My favourite poems. I have loved reading poetry since my early days and I could read and re-read poems by Keats, Shelly, Yeats and some more contemporary names forever. I find their use of language to be a craft mastered to perfection. I read sections of their work and am inspired to match the metre and cadence in their pieces. A tall task but worth striving for.
- Everyday incidences. This is one of my favourite sources where I try to pen experiences and stories that have happened to me, or have been shared with me. To convert an incident into a written document is one of the writer’s biggest challenges, as you have only words. Often words don’t do justice to the emotions and thoughts that we experience in a given situation. Which means, a situation that was filled with excitement and tension can sound very watered down once you put it down on paper. I like capturing those moments and seeing if I am able to do justice with my writing and story-telling skills.
Apart from these, of course there are others like online prompts and a word a day activities that one could choose, but I often find it difficult to connect to those. What are your inspirations to keep writing every day? Do share.
Image source: www.readbrightly.com
He ran to me
Chocolate smeared fingers outstretched
His bright eyes overflowing with tears
I knew this was not the time
To worry about the chocolate stains.
‘Where were you? I was so afraid…
I thought you left me and went away.’
Sticky sweet chocolate
On my whites.
A heart beating wildly
A warm hug, all was well, after all.
~ Bharti Athray
D H Lawrence had his rocking horse,
My little boy has his pillow
With its insignificant pillow cover.
It is his companion
A lap of reassurance
A warmth he turns to
When all else turns against him.
His antics make me wonder
About the comforter each of us evolves
For some it is exercise
Others music, yet others
Each one returning
To a zone of knowledge, of loving
Where we are not judged, merely accepted.
That is the simplicity each of us seeks.
But few find.
Maybe we need to look back
Walk down the dark dusty memory lanes
To revisit our old companion
And see if we love him
As much today, as we did then.
Maybe, just maybe, it will be a journey
That will let you sleep again
Like a baby.
~ Bharti Athray
Image source: cultured.com | painting by Jean Vanden Eeckhoudt
The little red guitar
Tied up in a green ribbon
Hangs upon my softboard.
I look at it, often without really seeing it.
It is a gift. The first hand-crafted piece of art
Carpentered by my 12-year old.
It was his new year’s gift to me last year (Jan 2014),
Lovingly crafted, painted and proudly presented.
A labour of love.
As I look at it now
In moments of thoughtfulness
I see my little boy’s twelve wonderful years
Race past my mind’s eye.
He is as tall as me now,
Just waiting to be a young man.
Yes, the little red guitar,
With perfectly chiseled curves
Yellow & black sqiggles that perk it up.
I know it will be a treasure
That I will fondly hold in years to come
When he has flown to lands faraway.
~ copyrighted by Bharti Athray
More than the living rooms
More than the bedrooms
It is the breakfast table
That sees all the action.
It’s the centre-stage of our lives.
Where children sit without guards;
Where fathers read the newspaper
At leisure, before the worries of the day
It is where mothers do best
What we love them for:
Give us our favourite meals
With love, before the rush of the day
Catches up with them.
The breakfast table is
where children see their parent as individuals,
And parents see their brats as young adults.
Definitely, the very centre of life.
~ Bharti Athray
Image Source: http://chefmom.sheknows.com/articles/816786/Start-a-New-Tradition
I chase something I don’t know
I search the internet and bookstores.
I find articles and writings that come close, Yet I know that is not what I seek.
It is like the ancient elusive holy grail,
That knights of olde and Templars of Dan Browne seeked.
Yet like them, I look from website to website Ransack the endless bookstores, and return empty.
I wonder at my state:
A fight of intellect and the soul.
One advises me to play along
Even as the other tears at life to break free.
A prisoner without fetters,
I live amidst my children
And the man I love.
Knowing full well that my truth
Lies not within these walls I call home,
But beyond, in the world that today lies beyond my reach…
But not beyond my imagination.
~ Bharti Athray
Image Source: http://amygdala.com.au/