• Shea Robinson

Writing Tip: Unearth Old Love

Each month, in my writing group, Solano Writer’s Society, we take a break from our work in progress and write a pantoum around a common theme. You’ve heard me talk about SWS before, and I promise I’m not trying to belabor the point about how awesome they are. But I get my best inspiration from my fellow writers and I want to bring you the best writing advice. Our pantoums have covered various themes including “Skeletons in the Closet” during our October session, but also Sirens and Lions, (and bears, oh my!) based on whatever is happening in the world at that moment. One session, our theme was sound and we each chose a letter to use throughout the pantoum. Some writers chose pleasing sounds, others abrasive, whatever the mood was at that moment. As writers, so much of our words are in our heads. And in that resounding hall of echoes, of course it sounds good. Sometimes, there’s a bit of magic and we get those visions down on paper. But the way to elevate your game is not only to read it out aloud, but to actually write with those sounds in mind.

So that is the task before you today, should you choose to accept. Choose a letter and a mood. Then write a poem or a short story using them as your catalyst. For example, when I chose the letter “S,” I was going for the soft and melodic. Here’s what I created.

She sits in shadows sipping softly,

steam of silver needles slipping past

lips like stolen secrets.

She savors the subliminal scents,

taste of tea serenading her senses,

unveiling memories

of heady kisses steeped in subtleties.

Their love sanctioned salacity,

stretched shadows day to night,

sacrificed safety to silky salutations

submerged in sheets,

scattered priorities as scaffoldings of light

alighted upon tangled covers.

She sips, numb to lips meeting glass,

her body succumbing to his taste laced in silver,

sunsetting her dreams by day, promising

her lips something sweet by night,

some sleepy nectar buried deep

to be unearthed by her love.

He had always been a subtle tease,

as effortless as a silent sigh,

she’d slip like needles crunching beneath his shoes.

Waiting underneath a sun-filled sky,

the sycamore’s sickly branches

seducing her with the promise of shade.

She sips, swallowing air, coming up for air,

the empty cup curtailing remembrance.

As she curls her hands through covers to find him,

she envelops him like his love enveloped her,

and releases the weight of old love.

The tree scrapes softly against the window frame,

dancing silver moonlight across their sheets,

swirling minty pine scents into their cocoon of safety

full, and strong, and ready to give new life.

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