Every book you pick up is a tree. Every page you write on is also a tree. Your desk was once a tree. Your door was one too. If you need to breathe, and feel sunlight, if you can’t or don’t want to write anywhere human-made, why not go back to the source material.
When you get a tattoo on your skin, you get to pick what goes there. You decide how big it is, how colorful, what it means. Trees never get that chance. They never decide what tale is etched on their skin. It isn’t because trees can’t talk, spin wild tales, dictate their memoirs, yell, scream, or cry.
No. In fact, trees do talk. They tell their stories in every gust of wind through their branches, every felled limb, every fallen leaf.
People just don’t take the time to listen.
So if you want to get out of your room, write something new, and hear a story, never before told, stand up. Walk outside. Are you out the door? Can you see the sky and the sun, most importantly the trees? Yes? Great!
Ok, step two. Find a tree. This may be very difficult or very easy depending on where you live. Make sure it’s an old tree. If you can wrap your arms around it and touch your fingertips, find a new one. Young trees need a bit more time to find their voice.
Have you found an old wide tree?
Yeah? Cool, now if the tree has branches low enough to climb, go ahead, get up as far as you can. Don’t forget a notebook and a writing utensil. I wouldn’t recommend bringing your laptop up a tree; that’s just a recipe for disaster.
If your tree doesn’t have low enough branches or if the city has cut them all off, it’s ok. Well, it’s not. Make sure to touch each scar and think about that severed limb for a moment. Then, sit down in the grass under the tree; you can use the trunk as a backrest if you want.
Remember, if you’re on the ground or up in the tree, be respectful. Don’t pick at the bark, or pull leaves and branches off willy nilly. No one sits on your head and plucks individual hairs out when they get bored. So don’t do it to your fellow storyteller.
Once you’re situated, start writing. Continue something old or start something new. The tree isn’t going to tell you exactly what to write. No, but it will guide you. You just have to pay attention.
Once you get about half a page written, start listening. If a couple of birds fly into your tree and start singing a song bring a new character into your story. If a squirrel comes across your tree, start a new scene, even if you’re not done with the last one. If wind shakes the tree for more than thirty seconds, change up your style, switch perspectives, or add a new genre to your writing.
If a spider or insect crawls its way across your page, don’t freak out or brush it off. Wait. See where it goes, which words and phrases it darts across, erase them, leave the spaces blank.
If a leaf falls on you, write an entire page of setting description.
If an acorn, fruit, or a pine cone falls on you or your notebook, immediately start writing in a different language. If you don’t know another language, either make up a new one, or keep writing in the first language, but backward, or in code.
If another falls on you, switch back.
When the sun starts to set, it’s time to go. Trees like to go to sleep with the sun, and they can’t slumber with you lounging in their branches or leaning against their side like that. Carefully make your way out of the tree, or simply stand up if you are already on the ground.
If your tree has scars, gently caress each one. Give the tree a hug, or if you don’t feel you know them well enough yet, pat their trunk gently. Then go home, or wherever else you go when the sun’s down. If you didn’t finish your story, or just want to hang out with the tree again, come back the next day. The tree might finish the story or start a new tale.
Meet the blogger:
KATIE FLINT is a senior at Hamline Universty, pursuing a BFA in Creative Writing. Her work can be found in The Fulcrum, and Sensicality. She loves writing fiction and poetry and enjoys exploring different genres. She adores dogs and almost every other creature on the planet except mosquitos. She can usually be found on the floor binge watching Netflix while her puppies snooze on the couch.