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For warm-up, I try a writing exercise everyday before I start my work. Usually it has no writing prompts, but some days, I will pick up a word or a picture.

The word that came upon me today is “leaving”. I do not choose the word–I pick a dictionary, point my finger randomly at any word without looking, and just go from there. And then I time myself for 10 minutes and just write, without thought, without grammar, just following my hand with an empty head.

Here’s what I wrote today:

Leaving. Such a lonely word, you say.

Leaving some thing, some place, some body.

Walking away from something

is sometimes a walk towards something else.

But it can also be a letting go and not stopping.

Letting the breath take you,

carry you with it

for you to float nameless and without address,

without friends or foes,

without relatives, acquaintances.

Just fall, fall, free fall away

and take it from there

to wander in through the window of one house

to float out the door,

to rise and kiss the tree-tops,

to skim the oceans,

to lie suspended over a snow-capped mountain,

to become one with a star or a grain of sand on a white, lonesome beach,

to be carried backwards and forwards upon the waves,

to be a plant drinking in from the soil,

to be a fruit ripe to the bursting,

to be a breast lovingly squeezed in a harem,

to be the gurgle of a baby,

to be the movement of the muscle on a woodcutters arm,

a cake baking in the oven,

a piece of music escaped from a violin,

to be a grandfather’s tears for a grandson lost,

to be grass munched in the mouth of a cow,

to be a soap bubble floating up from a tub of washing,

to be a tale sleeping in a book,

to be a fish born in an aquarium,

to be a taxi-driver chatting with a tourist,

to be a mother slapping her boy,

to be the toy he has lost,

to be the words in the mouth of a poet,

to be the honey in a hive and the bee that carries it there,

to be the prey and the predator,

to be fire and water, sleep and awakening.

Leaving is not a lonely word.

It is the joy of being alone, of being one,

of being all, and also nothingness.

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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