Found words

Sometimes words just won’t come when you try to write. You can have paper in front of you, a pen in your hand, but the mind that creates the words plays tricks with you. ‘I don’t care what you want to do. Today, in this minute, you will not think of a word to say.’

This happens to all of us at some stage, even if you aren’t trying to write. The witty comeback to that person who tries to knock you back, the awesome remark to stop someone in their unwarranted attack – we think of them long after they would have been useful!

One way to start on creating something of your own is to use someone else’s words. Does that seem strange? ‘Found poetry’ describes taking words from another work and creating something new.

Below is a short extract from a piece of my work. I have highlighted words that I liked, or that jumped out at me as relevant or interesting. I have ignored the rest. At the end I have put together the highlighted words in the shape of a poem.

You can add to the words, re-arrange them. You can make a poem or even a short story. Use them as a jumping board to take a leap into a new world of writing. You can use anything. A page from the newspaper – this saves making a mess of your favourite book. Look at the advertising stuff that falls through your letterbox before you throw it in the recycling bin, the blurb on the back of a cereal packet, your children’s homework.

‘Dear God,’ said Mother, watching from behind me.  ‘Is that woman coming to the house?’

‘I don’t know Mum, but I think I’m going to head them off at the door.’  And as I opened the door, to guard it, Laura stood up, brushed her skirt down, smoothed her clingy top and took Joe’s little hand. Her heels made her so much taller than him that his arm was raised up to her. They walked from the car but as Laura put her foot on the path, her foot twisted, and she fell to the ground.  I watched as David ran to her, tried to help her up, but she sat straight back down, holding her ankle.  She seemed to be in pain.

David tried again, and half carried her back to the car.  Laura would not be coming into my home today.  High heels are so impractical, especially with children around.

The boys waved to David, rushed up to me.  ‘Can we play in the garden?’

‘Just for half an hour, then it will be time for supper and bed.’

Mother looked at me with a wry smile on her face. ‘Well done Erica.’

‘What?’ I said, puzzled.

‘Your spell worked.  Didn’t you ask for those that intended you harm to stay away from your home?’

‘Oh,’ I said. ‘I did.’

That night, after the boys were snuggled up in bed and story read, after Mother had gone to bed exhausted, I went to my Book of Shadows, read what I had written.  When I did whatever it was that I did, I had meant whoever had broken into my house and Mother’s – that sort of harm.  I hadn’t been thinking of Laura stealing my husband away.  Perhaps I needed to be more specific.  And in anyway, I hadn’t intended anyone to be hurt. 

‘It’s just nonsense,’ I said to myself.  ‘Pure coincidence,’ yet I felt quite proud of myself.  I’d said to leave my home alone and she hadn’t made it in.  Perhaps I am powerful after all.  I chuckled.  A bit of entertaining nonsense.  I raised my hand and made as if to cast something from my hand outwards. ‘Take that,’ I said. ‘and that’, moving my hand round the room, pointing my fingers at the photos and vases on the window ledge.

The rose exploded, petals falling onto the ledge, surrounding the base of the vase, toppling onto the carpet.

I jumped up from my chair and fled to the door, my heart beating fast.  I looked back, laughing at myself.

The Spell

Is that woman coming to my house?

I opened, to guard, taller,
raised in pain.
Tried again.

It will be.

Spell worked.
Exhausted, proud.
I am powerful.
I looked back,

Have fun. See what you come up with. And remember to share to the Disabled Pagans Voice Project. Let’s share with people what we can do.

Written by Portland Jones, PF Disabilities Liaison for the Midlands