WriteSpa #14 – Genie in a Bottle


WriteSpa – An Oasis for Writers

Some of my favorite stories to read when I’m feeling lonely or lost are from the Thousand-and-One Arabian Nights. The free-wheeling sense of adventure, the enticing smells and sounds of a Persian bazaar, the ouds, the spices, the romance, the desert, the music, the waterfalls – all these images carry me to a world where I am boundless, thrilled, myself. Just as we all have our own age, we all have a place where we feel at home, even if we’ve never been there. I’ve met people who aspire to climb high mountains, others who seek to journey through tropical jungles, others who feel passion for old Scottish castles. From these inward wanderings we explore even more aspects and attributes of ourselves.

This week’s practice centers on the opulence, dreaminess, exotic, fairy-tale qualities of the Middle East. Imagine rare silks and velvets, a sky thick with stars, secret gardens. Maybe you have a small glass bottle of the essential oils of rosewood, jasmine, ylang ylang, amber, sandalwood, musk. Open it: breathe the fragrance deep.

Words are the genie in the bottle. They are magic. Magic creates something: a flying carpet, a fabulous dinner, a friend, a journey. All these things are created out of the magic of writing.

Just as mysterious, evocative aromas can be used to heal or invigorate or inspire, so can writing. Imagine the words, open them, mix them, place them, breathe them. The ideas, whether they emerge from the exquisite glass bottle as a frustrated imp or a spirit of profundity, are freed. Let them do their own work.


Fun Writing Practice: Magic Carpet

Describe the landscape below you as you soar over mysterious, intriguing, alien countryside. Do not mention carpet, or yourself, or your feelings: strictly keep to the description, but through describing what is around and below, you should evoke a mood, so the reader is able to sense if you’re excited, terrified, sorrowful, in love, doomed, or … Remember to use much more than visual imagery: evoke all your senses – the feel of rain on your face, the sound of a seagull crying, the taste of fear, the scent of orange blossoms.


Seven Happinesses

  • soft, warm socks
  • the crack of dawn
  • feeling better after a cold
  • late afternoon sun on pine needles
  • being caressed
  • the silence of the desert
  • friendly neighbors stopping by

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