Back to nature

We’re going back to nature for the next week… or maybe longer if we really get into our groove.

People talk about having a teacher ‘toolbox’ and all kinds of formulas and tricks for teaching writing, usually involving some complicated acronyms and pretty rigid approaches. Nature is my toolbox! It can provide enough inspiration to keep you writing for weeks, months, years…

The only problem with nature is that it is HUGE. So let’s start by focusing; take one moment, a single encounter with the great outdoors. It could be the landing of a robin on a spade’s handle or the movement of the trees in the breeze. Focus. Drill down into your moment and see where it takes you.

Collect your snapshots of nature through daily freewrites, you’ll soon build up quite a collection.

I highly recommend ‘Wildwood A Journey Through Trees’ by Roger Deakin, in fact I recommend everything by Deakin but in this particular book I love his sharp, momentary focus on a group of ants:

The ants outside my study swarmed this afternoon at 3pm exactly, all the young queens climbing up blades of grass and taking off, escorted by excited workers scattering in every direction. A warm, humid afternoon.

The virgin queen ants fly off south-west, the workers racing about as air-traffic control, chivvying the nervous princesses into unsteady flight. They send them up a small cow-parsley plant to get some extra lift and take off from the dizzy top.

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