Writing prompts and inspirational calls are great incentives to get your creative juices flowing, but sometimes a simple word or phrase can inspire me to write. Being the book nerd that I am, I often follow or subscribe to “word of the day” pages and sites where an unusual word or phrase will appear and a great poem will come of it.
On Instagram I follow @whiskeybooks – found by reading another poets post. They often post a word or phrase with its meaning. One in particular which I never heard of – L’appel du Vide – a French phrase meaning: call of the void, and often used to describe the urge to jump from high places. I loved the phrase so much and was determined to use it in a poem. I read its meaning over and over again and then thought of the Grand Canyon to be my subject. I ended up writing one of my favorite poems out of the thousands I have written by using this beautiful foreign phrase:
L’appel du Vide
How can one not be in awe
where Earth meets heaven
a fortress of plateaus
glistening in many a majestic sunrise
canyons carved by rivers of rage
gouged by nature’s distress
I would be humbled in its presence
overwhelmed by its power
anxiously waiting for it
to swallow me whole
As writers, we have the ability to see beauty in words – whether they reflect negative aspects (e.g., rage, prison, thorns) – a good writer can manipulate such words to create sensuous images or use them symbolically. So sign up on all your social media sites and search for pages like: Words of Inspiration, Inspirational Quotes, even the Dictionary will send you a word of the day on their app or via email. Snatch a word or two to use the next time you need inspiration. And always take a moment to see what pages inspire other artists as well.
Work Cited: Goldberg, Natalie. 1986. Writing Down the Bones. 2nd Ed. London: Shambala Publications.
Written by: Donna J. Sanders
About the Author
Donna is a freelance writer and blogger in West Palm Beach, FL. She is the author of Ataraxia, Cardboard Signs, Devour Me and Charcoal Kisses.
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