During the lockdown in New Zealand our writers group decided that we’d have a weekly Zoom meeting. It was certainly a great way of putting some structure around the week, and for that one day knowing it was Friday!
Over the past two months we’ve shared some special times and writing, and created lovely memories. Some of our meetings included critique sessions but every week we also spent time on a writing exercise.
In the past I’ve not been a huge fan of writing exercises, preferring to use my writing time for the latest project, but as we allocated time for the exercise and sharing together, I joined in.
Lockdown came with obvious fears, worries and restrictions and made the short pieces of writing very interesting. I thought I’d share some of these on the blog. They aren’t polished pieces but all come from the heart.
The first exercise was simple: a story, poem or piece of prose of no more than one hundred words. My contribution was a snapshot of experiences and observations from the previous few days.
Each day I walk a different route around my little town. The complex call of the tui reaches me from the trees across the field, joined by thrush song and blackbird chatter.
The strangers I meet smile and call hello as we perform our social-distancing dance. I look for the teddy bears in house windows, placed to capture children’s attention as they amble in their family bubble.
At night I stand in the middle of my silver moonshine lawn, listening to the haunting call of the morepork. Alone but not lonely.
For a little explanation:
Tui are birds easily recognisable by their distinctive white tuft of feathers under their throat which contrasts with their metallic blue-green sheen. They make an amazing array of sounds some melodic and others more akin to clicks and whistles.
Moreporks are owls and get their name from their mournful call which sounds exactly like the words ‘more pork’.
During lockdown New Zealanders played a wonderful I-spy game by placing teddy bears (and all manner of soft toys if teddies weren’t available) in their house windows for children to see on their daily exercise walk.
Bubble was the way we described our lockdown household and those within it.
And I see I’ve written more in explanation as I did in my short prose piece!