In 2014 I wrote a post called “Brown-Chicken-Brown-Cow” (say it like you’re imitating the soundtrack to a ’70s porn film) in which I exposed my first sexual encounter, one that could have ended in disaster. I was lucky.
Many decades later and with 33+ years of marriage to the same guy, I’m pleased to say my luck has not run out. I’ll soon publish a novella called The Hare, Raising Truth about love and lust and lucky charms, and I’ve dedicated it to my husband. He is, truly, my lucky charm (oh, stop your gagging. It’s true). It’s a creepy story, but Mike said it’s my best writing yet. Yeah, he read it under sedation awaiting surgery, but I’m quite certain it didn’t affect his judgment at all. (read more for quick writing prompts about love!)
People have written about love and lust ad nauseam, so I had a wonderful time at a recent writing session in which participants were challenged with producing words about love spontaneously. Barbara Ford was our session leader, and she relentlessly delivered timed, love-related writing prompts to us for over two hours. I loved it. The first 2-minute prompt made me laugh because of the way she delivered it:
“First prompt: Love affair, for two minutes.”
Now, I know she meant we had two minutes to write down thoughts about the words “love affair,” but I had no time to think. Here’s what I wrote:
- Love affair for 2 minutes? The briefest ever! Would it even count? Would it be one that one would have to confess? A 2-minute love affair would surely go wrong. A lust affair is what we’re talking about here. “Wham, Bam, Thank you, ma’am.” No thanks.
By the end of the session, my hand was cramped, but I had made the decision to write freehand in a notebook rather than typing. Bar Scott, who sat next to me, told me how freehand writing would allow me to be more creative. Everyone else in the filled room had their notebooks at the ready.
She was right, and although I didn’t feel inspired by every prompt, there were several that got me giggling. What follows are the prompts about love I really enjoyed and my responses (in bullets). I’d encourage you to try your hand at some of these to see where they might take you! The rules are, once you read the prompt, you have to write fast, without deep contemplation, without editing or erasing, without judgment.
- Binding, beautiful, artistic, something to wear, to hold, to draw, to tattoo on your back. Is love binding? Should it be? Are knots naughty?
“Love beads and love handles”
- Love beads, things from my childhood, hippies wore them and I wore them too, though I was too young to be cool. Now, love handles. Hippies wear them and I wear them and most of us are okay with them, we’ve earned them, they’re something we don’t take off when we undress, they’re what adorn us in a new beauty, a raw, naked beauty.
“Love-in on a love seat”
- Making out, the soft, sensual feel of lips on lips, hands on cheeks on breasts on bellies and below, clothes on—fear of mother peaking around the corner in her nightie, fear of getting caught heightening the arousal, deepening the kiss, increasing the heart rate . . .
“Love bird, love bug, love child”
- Bird, bug, child, all beautiful. Birds and bugs not so consequential, at least in our collective judgment, but a love child? A mistake? Perhaps a gift? A gift who keeps on giving? Birds and bugs fly away and get squashed. Don’t squash the child, for she will fly away one day, and you’ll want her to return.
“Write about love in terms of the 5 (or 6) senses”
- Love tastes like chocolate, sweet and mouth-melting and addictive. Love feels like silk and sweat and hunger. Love smells like brisk ocean air—salty, invigorating. Love sounds like ooos and ahs and yesses and sometimes nos. Love looks like sunrises and sunsets, mountains and oceans, all the beautiful, powerful things in nature. Love knows love. It tingles. It delights. It empowers.
“Compare one type of love (of the 7 Greek types) with one type of building”
I compare Ludus with Sand castles.
- Ludus—playful love, flirting, teasing, frivolous, dancing with strangers—this is what it is like to build a sand castle at the edge of the sea. There are no rules. Add broken sea shells and sea weed for decoration, flirt with strangers—nearly naked!—who stop to admire your work, dig moats and squeal when waves from the advancing shore fill them, dance a little happy dance when your castle is complete, advance and retreat with the bubbly edge along each new surge, hold your breath when the first big one pulls at the foundation and laugh as your creation disappears. Finally, dance atop your tallest tower, your feet sticking in the sinking sandy mess until it’s all just beach again, run back to your hot blanket, hungry for a pb&j sandwich seasoned with specs of your creation.
Thought I’d share these and encourage you as Barbara Ford encouraged us (thank you, Barbara!) to let your mind wander through your fingers and onto notebook pages about a topic that still has not been fully exhausted by poets and authors and lovers. For this, I am grateful.
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