This week’s creative writing prompt is inspired by a quote from my second favourite Welshman*, Dylan Thomas.
Back in the 1950s, the great poet and playwright was unable to offer any further advice to an actor in a production of his ‘Under Milk Wood’ than to “love the words”. There was no other way for him to offer meaningful direction. Simples, eh?
With this in mind, try capturing the meaning of some of your favourite words and then turn them into a poem: Love the Words.
You don’t have favourite words? Really? Aw, go on! You must do – the dictionary has how many to choose from? Yes, 171,146 in the English Oxford Dictionary (so I’m reliably informed by my mate Google). There must be a few in there you like more than others?
It could be the sounds the words make. Or their meaning. Or both?
Have a ferret around in the dictionary (or on-line if you must) and find a few irresistible words. If you don’t have favourites, just select some at random.
OK, so there’s ‘wealth’, ‘sex’, ‘happiness’, ‘cats’, but what about some others?
Here’s a few to start you off: Frilly, gargantuan, fathom, throttle, vestigial, superfluity, caboodle, belligerent, heist, ostentatious, affray…
Try putting unlikely words together and see where you go. In doing this, I discovered superfluity is the collective noun for a group of nuns. Now where else might that take me?
Write in free verse, but spend some time making sure your poem looks right on the page and sounds right when you read it aloud. You like writing, so revel in the language and do what the man said: love the words.
And for the week that’s in it (it would have been his 95th birthday yesterday, November 10th 2020), take a listen to another Welshman, Richard Burton, revelling in lovely words as the narrator of Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas (who died on November 9th 1953).
*And just in case you are wondering, I’m still married to my ultimate favourite Welshman!
Hard to believe, but this is now the 70th new creative writing prompt in a series which began in March 2020 as a Lockdown project. I’ve been wondering whether to continue, but I quite enjoy the challenge of finding weekly topics to write about, and it is what I was doing when normal rules applied for the two creative writing groups I run in County Mayo. So here we are, still, every Wednesday at 5pm (Dublin time), an idea to kick-start new writing: short stories, flash fiction, poetry, memoir, creative non-fiction, whatever. Originally, I created 42 daily prompts and exercises, with a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. Now we’re weekly. It all began here.