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Ray Bradbury, author of 11 novels, busted his writer’s block by creating lists of nouns — the basic building blocks of sentences, paragraphs, short stories, novels, flash fiction, memoir, and poems. I haven’t been writing as much lately – just busy with work and family. Earlier this week, I decided to give this a try again. I made my list of nouns and wrote this short fictional piece that included at least 5 of them.

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The snow had melted and the green grass had grown up thick and lush, the kind that you want to pad around on in your bare feet. But the earth was still scarred where life had once been. It was as if it didn’t quite have the strength to grow, or it simply didn’t remember what it was doing before it had been rudely torn apart by man.

My heart felt the same way. There was life and growth in it still, but also this bare patch of nothingness where it had been rudely torn apart.

I watched the blades of grass being swept over by a strong wind but the earth itself lay still and silent. Waiting. Waiting but not in expectation of anything. It simply did not feel.

I did not feel. The starkness of that realization stung me. I did not feel.

And then I did feel. I felt a hot wind sweep through my soul, engulfing me, a wind of rebellion against not feeling. This is not who I am. I have always been compassionate, easily moved to tears. I have always embraced joy and vitality, breathing it in like the sweet fragrance of Spring. And I made a decision. Somehow I would plant something in the soil of my soul, and I would help it learn to grow.