a writing prompt for you to use this week
It’s the third week of Advent, and I’m still making my way through the prompts shared by the collective AdventWord project. You can find all of their daily one-word prompts in my previous post here: AdventWord. They’ve helped focus my scattered thoughts, my prayers, and my writing during this season.
I’ll admit that when I looked ahead for the word I’d share with you today, I misread the calendar. For most of the week, I thought today’s word would be “stranger.” Nope. That was yesterday’s word. I had ideas to share for “stranger,” ranging from pretty bad to sort of interesting. You can find them below.Instead, our word is “beloved.”
So here we are. From stranger to beloved. It’s a journey that matters.
Advent’s slow approach to the mystery of the incarnation mirrors the journey we all take from stranger to beloved. I don’t just mean with the people we are fortunate to call beloved. And I don’t just mean God’s sure and steady gathering of strangers into a beloved community. I mean how we learn, unlearn, and learn again the truth of our own belovedness.
It’s one hope I have for these writing prompts—that they help you use writing to travel from not knowing to fully knowing—from stranger to beloved—even to yourself.
The poet Derek Walcott says it pretty well.
Love After Love —by Derek Walcott The time will come when, with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door, in your own mirror and each will smile at the other's welcome, and say, sit here. Eat. You will love again the stranger who was your self. Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart to itself, to the stranger who has loved you all your life, whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart. Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes, peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. —from Collected Poems: 1948–1984
a writing prompt
What does the word beloved mean to you today?
Or, write about the journey from stranger to beloved, perhaps even about yourself.
Writing in Company
Also beloved to me is this little community of writers and thinkers, using words to help pay attention to what matters.
Some of us know one another in real life. Some are strangers becoming community. Some have written together in person or online. Some just read and sometimes write on their own. All of you are welcome!
If you want to try writing in company with others on Zoom, I’ve got a monthly gathering for paid subscribers. December’s Writing Hour is this Saturday, December 17 at 3 pm. You can upgrade to try it for a month and see how you like it. If it’s not for you, just change back to a free subscription. Reply with any questions you have.
Or gift the Writing Hour to someone!
As always, please feel free to comment, or share your writing. And share the prompt with someone you think might enjoy it!
Random ideas about stranger
*some kind of metaphor about the series Stranger Things and living in the Upside Down, but that’s as far as I got, and if you haven’t seen the series it wouldn’t make sense anyway
*a memory of the stranger who popped out of nowhere on the Camino de Santiago just when I was about to take a wrong turn, and showed me the way
*an exploration of why we say “hello, stranger” to our (beloved) friends when we haven’t seen them in awhile