If you’re open to creativity, nudges to write can come from almost anything—including another’s misery. I’m thinking of how my sister was nudged to write this little verse last week, which she calls “Ode to Nancy,” in honor of my day of “prep” for a colonoscopy:The snow is swirling, The sidewalk’s slick. You’ve had nothing but broth, Yet you’re feelin’ sick.
You’re nearly there, It’s almost dawn, And, then at last, You’ll get outta the john.
Yeah, they won’t be burying her in Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey or naming an award for her at The Academy of American Poets. She wrote, though. If you’ve ever battled one of those dry spells where nothing comes out sounding like much of anything, an eight-line ditty can seem like an accomplishment.
So, here’s a little practice piece prompt: Write something about another’s illness. A light illness, that is, nothing serious. (My prep for the colonoscopy didn’t feel light at the time, especially since I started passing a kidney stone right in the middle of it; but it wasn’t life-threatening, either, and I knew the misery would be over the next day.) Make it prose or verse, however inspiration guides you. As a special challenge, write in a humorous style; this might be more difficult if you’re the sensitive sort who empathizes with someone else’s anguish. Obviously, this isn’t a problem that afflicts my sister (just kidding). Don’t worry about making this a finished piece of writing. It’s practice. If you go back later and are able to polish it into something you want to share with the world, all the better!