39. Writing Prompt

I remember doing freewriting exercises in ninth grade. My English teacher has us write whatever we wanted about a given prompt for the first twenty minutes of every Monday morning class. We got marks just for handing it in. I always found freewriting fun, free from pressure or self-doubt. Sometimes when I hear a good prompt, I can’t wait to write about it. Here are some prompts I’ve found that might inspire you too. I also wrote out a couple.

  • What two things can you not do without?
  • When did you last do something for the first time?
  • What’s one moment that changed you?

What two things can you not do without?

Salt and pepper. Peanut butter and jam. Avocado on toast. No wait, those are just things that go well together. Here’s a better question, what are two things we could do without? Cancer. War. Terrible morning breath. Death. Just eliminating death in general, consequences from science-fiction be damned.

Salt and pepper? No wait, that’s just two things.

One thing I definitely can’t do without is sleep. In fact, sleep is one thing I could not do without and in fact could do a little more.  A positive attitude is also something I should strive for and shouldn’t go without. So sleep and positivity, final answer.

When did you last do something for the first time?

I seem to keep forgetting that recently I got on a plane by myself, on a ticket I booked, to a completely new country with no one waiting for me on the other side. The part I find funny is how completely unconcerned I seemed to be, and how in my brain, I was somehow treating this experience as a inconvenience. Like, ” Oh God, I have to get up early and go to the airport tomorrow. I should probably start thinking about packing.” And then, once I was at my destination, how I felt both comfortable but also completely alone. And how I had traveled for hours for the purpose of experiencing this country alone.

I talked in my last blog post about how I planned on driving a lot in New Zealand. What I hadn’t necessarily prepared for was the dozens of hours in between the short-term tasks of navigating, keeping hydrated, and stopping at lookouts. I thought those hours would slide away and I would somehow be magically entertained. How misguided I was. Once I turned on to the main highway and my GPS went silent, I started drumming my fingers on the steering wheel and tried not to count passing sheep.

“When we get out in nature we are prompted to listen to our bodies and find a natural rhythm in the surroundings.”

Lyndall Mitchell

My immediate solution was to go to a playlist, but I hadn’t updated my roadtrip playlist since my trip to Western Australia. I was caught up on all my current podcasts, all of which were too short anyway. I wanted something that was at least a hour long in length, that way pulling over to choose the next one would be a bit of break. I scrolled. Queue, My Favorite Murder.

I had a lot of fun listening to hours of conversation between Karen and Georgia. It was completely unexpected and helped pass the time, and also made the hours of highway driving way more enjoyable. Being in the car driving to my different destinations ended up being my happy place for the trip and when I was handing in my keys to the attendant, I actually felt a little sad that part of the trip was over. I felt like I had really bonded to my tiny, shitty rental car that I praised almost every day on the scenic but treacherous highways as I drove up and down mountainsides. I would conquer my fears of heights driving along cliffs with Karen would joke about someone being kidnapped at a bus stop late at night. It was a weird marriage of macabre comedy and beautiful scenery, but as some listeners had said, it was like listening to two good friends having a chat.

So that’s a couple new things then, that I’ve recently done for the first time. The first, traveling to a completely new country without somehow realizing what exactly I was doing, ie, a gigantic leap in my solo traveling adventures. And secondly, giving a podcast I didn’t like a second chance and really enjoying it (I only listened for the minisodes!).