It’s great to have found a local creative writing group. We meet on the first Monday in the month, usually at a Devon longhouse which is also used as a retreat.
If there is an event at the retreat we have to find an alternative venue. This week, Hazel, who heads up the group, arranged for us to meet at the pretty thatched tea room next to the canal in Tiverton. It’s a place to inspire creativity.
We had a relaxed morning: starting with a cup of tea or coffee at the café, then a brief ten minute exercise to get our creative juices flowing (this time Hazel brought along a soft fabric bag containing three items. We were not allowed to look at these, just to feel them and write about what we thought they were).
Following this we had about an hour to write a longer piece, from a list of topics set by Hazel Then we assembled, read out our work and ended the session companionably eating the lunch we had brought with us.
I chose to write about ‘My Ten Rules for Life’ – nothing too serious, it’s meant to be a light-hearted piece. My initial inspiration came from thinking about Elizabeth Gilbert’s ‘Eat, Pray Love’, then I only had to find seven more. Here’s the result:
- Be kind
Spiteful people are not happy. Kindness brings karma points. It comes right back at you, as they say in modern parlance.
- Be positive
Being positive means seeing the glass as half full, not half empty. Learn to be Tigger, not Eeyore.
It is better to give than to receive – this is true. There’s nothing like the warm glow that comes from a random act of generosity, however small. Buy that tin of food for the Blue Cross or the Food Bank, or take your unworn items and the books you’ve read to the charity shop.
Pray, meditate, connect with your belief system, whatever it may be. Spiritual healing, Reiki, Buddhist chant, prayers to your deity. Do whatever it takes to give spiritual sustenance to your mind, body and spirit.
It is free to do, can be done day or night and nurtures your creativity at the same time as it empties your mind of futile worry and anxiety. Even better when you do it with a canine companion!
One of life’s great pleasures, indeed it is an essential gift to the senses, from the humble bacon butty to the best of fine dining. They say you are what you eat, so moderation is a good thing to remember (especially with cheese and chocolate).
Our thirst for knowledge is never quenched. Reading isn’t just a rule for life, it is a gift for life. Read light and read heavy, both will inform and educate.
If you don’t read, how can you write? Committing a sequence of words to paper or screen can run the gamut of emotions from joyful to agonising. But it’s always therapeutic.
I love my family, my friends, my cats, my dog, my home and my life. I love my God-given gifts. When things are tricky, I have to remind myself to love ‘me’ too. It can be a natural human inclination to put everyone else first. Sometimes it should be me at the head of the queue.
Smiling costs nothing. It elicits a response; it looks nicer than a frown. It is sweeter than a scowl. It need not be saccharin – far better when it is genuine, not a politician’s wolfish grin. It probably the most important thing we can fling at adversity.
These are my Ten Rules – what are yours?