List #3 of writing by association

Hi everyone,

Yesterday I chose WEEDS from List #2 to start my List #3. Here it is.

List #3

From the 30 possible writing ideas on all three lists my favorite three are: honeybees, mud, and pond.

I can imagine writing about honeybees needing those blooming weeds we like to cut down for the nectar they need to stay alive. I know I could write a poem here. But I could also get into a nonfiction story (book?) about the honeybee. After all, it’s the most important insect humans encounter and the only one that produces food that we consume.

I can imagine writing about the many qualities and uses of mud: from pigs wallowing to riverbanks swarming with butterflies to women taking mud baths for their health. Hmm. Makes me think of the days when I lived on a farm and loved watching gigantic sows wallowing in mud, the air thick with flies and the gagging odors of uneaten slops. I might prefer those butterflies on the riverbank. Maybe a butterfly story.

But I can also imagine writing about a pond: bustling community on a summer day; covered with leaves in the fall; frozen over and skated on in winter; frog croaks of promise in spring. What about a story told by a pond describing its year? Or a 4-part poem? Or I could write a nonfiction story about the role ponds play on a farm. Or maybe get into the community that lives in, above, and around a pond. Wow!

What a decision! I just can’t decide right now. Give me another day. If you have been making your own lists, you may be struggling too. I promise to post my decision tomorrow. After that it’s going to take some time before I get back with you about what I wound up writing. If it’s a poem, I’ll post it here. Otherwise, the result will probably be between my agent and me.

6 comments on “List #3 of writing by association

  1. Hope you & Sandy had a nice Easter, David! Here are my “weeds”…

    Pussy Willows
    Lures (tangled)
    Fishing Line

    I got stuck in that pond – all the words that came to me were still related to the pond, and I never once thought about weeds that grow on our lawns or in our gardens! (But I have reasons for that, which I can share privately with you!) I think the words that are sticking with me are Morning, Insects, and Ripple….so I’ll have to think about those and see what happens. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Good morning, Matt. We did have a good Easter, thank you. I hope you and your family enjoyed it too. Thank you for joining me in the association exercise. Interesting how this works to stimulate thinking. Starting with FROG, between us we have six “finalist’ word-associated ideas to think about. I look forward to seeing what you wind up writing about.

  2. Begun as a poem but it sure feels like the draft of a pb to me!!!

    The Child’s Argument

    This is the mud
    that sits in the pond,
    of which dog and I
    are very fond,
    that built the brick
    that started the wall
    in the very house
    where I live,

    This is the mud
    that sits in the pond
    with which dog and I
    have a very close bond,
    that built the brick
    that started the wall
    that holds up the roof
    so it won’t fall
    in the very house
    where I live.

    This is the mud
    that sits in the pond
    (where every year
    spring peepers have spawned)
    that built the brick
    that started the wall
    that holds up the roof,
    chimney and all,
    in the very house
    where I live.

    Without that roof,
    that long, high wall
    there wouldn’t be any
    house at all.
    Without that brick
    without that pond
    there wouldn’t be anything


    So why should I wash my hands today?
    I ]m saving our house when I go out to play,
    the very house where we ALL live.

    ©2019 Jane Yolen all rights reserved

    • Without the life
      we’ve seen and heard:
      frogs, turtles,
      snakes, birds,
      without the deer,
      without the mouse…
      the pond’s a pond.
      Our home, a house.

      (This goes in a bit of a different direction, obviously, but it came to me, so I had to share!)

      • And I’m glad it did, Matt. Sometimes the writer is the last to know where his words are taking him! Thanks. I enjoyed it.

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