We’re on the letter ‘O’ this week for our weekly creative writing prompt/exercise. So I’d like to take a little time out and reflect on what makes an ‘oasis’.
Technically, an oasis is a watering hole in the desert (or a type of foam used by flower arrangers, but we won’t go there today). Of course, it is also the Gallagher brothers, but we won’t go there, either.
Other words for oasis? There are quite a few: haven, refuge, asylum, hideout, hideaway, retreat, bolt-hole, sanctuary, shelter.
As a writer, you should have a place that’s your oasis – somewhere safe and calm where you can spend time to reflect or be creative.
I have a bench at the top of a field which is nice when the sun shines. But a swarm of wasps took up residence nearby at the end of last year, so I think it is probably no longer such a quiet, safe place for me to hang out. Meanwhile, hiding under the duvet is often a choice for peace and quiet indoors.
Where is your personal oasis? If you don’t have one, what can you do to make one? I recall when my children were small and very demanding, the only refuge I had was in the bathroom! Two minutes (if I was lucky) while they waited outside for me.
Your oasis doesn’t have to be the same place as your writing space, although they can often be the same thing.
If you don’t have a personal oasis, write one for yourself. Use your imagination – palm trees, bluebell woods, tree-strung hammock, whatever you like.
If you are working on fiction, you may find it helpful to devise an oasis for your characters. The kind of place you like to spend quiet time will say a lot about you – so, too, fictional characters of your making.
And if you are still looking for inspiration, consider writing a story about someone who has their personal haven disturbed. Remember the old mantra, who, why, what, where, when, how. Straight away you have conflict for your story – disruption of a safe place, but you get to tell your readers how and by whom. And there you are, you have a story.
And just for the craic, here’s an old song from 1974, Midnight at the Oasis by Maria Muldaur. The lyrics are rather suggestive, so I’m unreliably informed. Who knew? Well not me before today anyway…
There will be another creative writing prompt/exercise posted here next Wednesday, 5pm Dublin time. More about the point of it all here.