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Monday, April 8, 2013

Writing Prompt: Favorite Place To De-stress

By Marilyn Friedman

Sometimes, amidst the never-ending to-do lists and carting myself from Writing Pad East to Writing Pad West in bumper to bumper traffic, I have a moment of clarity and realize, "I NEED TO GET THE HELL OUT OF THIS CITY FOR A MINUTE!"

The passion and creativity of LA is frenetic and contagious, but even the strongest motors need a rest from time to time. Jeff and I just got back from a lovely weekend in the mountains of Idyllwild, one of my favorite places to escape to in Southern California, and that's the inspiration for today's writing prompt (at the bottom of this post).

Also, if you don't have time to do get out of LA this week, you can at least escape from your computer screen for a few hours with us this Tues. night at Writers With Drinks at Tony's Downtown Saloon! It's free, and it's a great way to network with editors and other writers. Tony's and Pizzanista will be offering special literary drinks and pizza slice deals just for us. Hope to see you there.

Below are are the latest class options as well as a free writing prompt. Enjoy! 

April Events:
Creative Writing/Multi-Genre
Journalism/Web Writing
Writing For Actors

Writing Prompt:
Where do you go when the 24-7 connectivity and bill paying and paper pushing take their toll on the primitive part of your brain? How do you unwind? With summer fast approaching, sometimes an afternoon of hiking in the outdoors will erase a week's worth of f-bombs behind the wheel on the 405.

Make a list of three places you go to (or have gone to) to escape the stress of life. Pick one. Write down a sensory detail (smell, taste, sound, touch). Now write for 10 minutes about this place and something that happened there (or an ode to this place), making sure to include the sensory detail. When you are finished, post your story in the comments of this blog!

Where do you go to melt the stress away? Don't forget to share the results of your 10 minute write in the comments of this blog to be entered in the contest for a free class!


Amber Hubert said...

It should be the woods; a never ending entanglement of soft earth, fallen logs overwhelmed with moss, shamelessly rotting on the ground, watched over maternally by the tall, tall Evergreens. You breathe and your lungs are grateful for the fresh oxygen for once, filling them up like two pink balloons. Everything is a little wet; just enough to remind you, you are also water. You think, I haven’t felt this sense of peace since childhood. Before dresses and boyfriends and bills and goals, there was just you, actually in the moment, simply being, a child in a grown up place perhaps but mostly happy. Sometimes holding mother’s hand, tugging at her purse. Sometimes hearing sharp words and eating cold meals. But in the woods there were elves and fairies and wild, carnivorous animals. In the woods there was magic. All you hear is the sound of breaking twigs underneath your heavy feet and the occasional bird flying overhead, saying you are not alone and there could be danger.

It should be the woods that I run to when I can’t worry another second about my credit card, my car payments, how to have my dream job, be liked, be loved, eat organic, cocktail parties and invitations and when will I ever, ever get married. It should be the woods that I want, seeking comfort in the smell of pine and dirt. It should be the woods, where no one lies to you, where no one disappoints.

I get in my car and drive for 4 hours, stopping once to pee, once to get a sandwich. Checking for cops, passing 18-wheelers, I sing, I listen to the news, I talk on the phone before it cuts my friend’s voice off and suddenly I am alone and in the desert, the heat choking me into a cough. I arrive in Las Vegas and am instantly more alive, my body tingling. My life is exciting and though thoughts of worry press into me, they are shoved out by fantasies of handsome men and cigars and green and black poker chips, clinking in my palm. I think, I could be anybody. Anything could happen. There is adventure in the air filled with cigarettes. The smell doesn’t bother me here, like at home after I quit, instead it reminds me of being a teenager with porcelain skin and soft thighs who would live forever. I float in the pool, the warm water like a bath, the smell of chlorine sticking to my hair as it tickles my back like a soft feather. There is a light breeze gently lifting the leaves of the palm trees as I eat the strawberry from my drink. It’s cold and tart. I stare off into the mirrored glass of the towering hotel, standing so proud, not at all embarrassed by its grandiouseness. I know it is a lie and that life can be terrible but I sip my drink, the strawberry seeds sliding down my throat and smile. I think I will melt blissfully into the hot concrete.

It should be the woods but its kindness might kill me.

-Amber Hubert

Vanessa Averbach said...

I'd like to say that my escape is in a backpacking trip into the depths of nature because that sounds more hardcore than anything, but hardcore isn’t the reality of my escape. My never-fail refuge is within four walls, at my disposal every night and morning: I hide under the covers with a book. This dream vision includes freshly laid linens, light spilling through airy curtains onto a plush blanket, pillow melting under the weight of my dreamy head.

The key to this setup is quality and nature of the pages in my hands. The book can completely upend my escapist unreality. It has been known that a book such as Weisel’s Night can send my utopia into the dark depths. What I need is a clean slate realm: Rowling’s Harry Potter or Keret’s Suddenly, A Knock on the Door. Maybe Hesse’s Siddhartha or selections from Homer’s Odyssey would suffice. Whatever the literature, I require a new and separate reality; I want to exist in a new existence.

The light pouring from the window is flecked with a fairy dust, and my linens are more immaculate than they will ever be again (until I change them again). A perfect quiet is punctuated by the musical outbursts of small birds, and this is not my actuality. Life here is soft and painless. I can lay motionless and mount the skies, join a world of imaginary excuses, gaze into an eternal river, deny a proffer of lotus—All in the cradling comfort of a my respite.
--Vanessa Anik Averbach