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People often wonder what it’s like to be in a writing circle, especially one as intimate and improvisational as Writing from the Well. I can tell you what we do. We pick random words from the Word Tarot. We play beat the clock in a kind of foot race with inspiration. But it can be tricky to describe how it feels. Marianne, however, caught the pure whimsy  of it all in the first session of the year. You just never know what the pen, or ladle, will offer up.

A Dollop of Inspiration

by Marianne Simon

IMG_1112“Two for ten,” she says, and the timer goes off.  Heads bend down and off to work we go.

Is there a muse for each of us, I wonder?  Or is there instead some Yoda-like creature who sits on the table, piled atop giant cushions, doling out inspiration like so much soup?

Laughing to herself she holds the ladle over Jason’s head.  “There’s a wee drop for you, Laddie.”  Then, looking over at his page, “Oh, you poor darling.  That’s just sad, isn’t it? Maybe a wee bit more to get things rolling.”

Then she dishes out a dollop of that thing called inspiration into my cup.  Watches as it splishes and splashes when I take a sip.  Warm and sweet going down.  Things settle, the pen hums. and I begin.

She turns, pulling along scarves and skirts, and watches as Deborah scurries along on her page.  She places a dipper full on the plate, where it quickly coats pumpkin seeds with a different kind of salt.  Licking fingers, Deb begins to write.

Ah, our creative chef. She just sits there on her pillows, filing nails, watching as we write.  Every now and then she tosses another pinch into the pot.

“Oh, I rather like that,” she says as she splashes Jason’s tea with another batch.  “Go on, you wicked boy,” she snorts.  “Let’s see what you’ll do with that one!”

But as she stirs her pot, a voice, deep and low, flows into the room.  “What are you doing?” it asks.

“They were needing a wee bit of help.”

“You are not allowed.  It is not allowed.”

“But look at them now.  How happy they are.  How those pens rip and zip across the page.  It was only a little splash.”

“Little or big – it is not allowed,” the voice rumbles.  “Not allowed.”  And with a whoosh, the pot disappears.  Moments later she is gone as well.  The room now strangely still.

One by one, we sit up and take notice that something feels different; the flow has slowed. The story that had leaped along only moments earlier has come to a strange standstill.  The timer beeps.  We put down our pens and take another sip of tea.

© Marianne Simon 2016

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