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How Much I Love a Good Story

Has anyone ever written a story just for you? Or have you ever read something and thought, oh, that’s just what I needed? I’m currently marking student work, third year creative writing dissertations and second year creative responses to a field trip in Córdoba, and I feel so lucky, so spoiled. I’m grateful, first, that I get to read creative writing as a core task of my job as a university lecturer. Second, I’m grateful to my students for their hard work, for understanding how much I love a good story.

One of the prompts I give my students near the end of the year is to write a story or poem for someone in class. I bring in postcards, ask everyone to take one, write their summer address on it. This can also work with sharing notebooks. Next, the students pass their notebooks to the left or the right, or their postcards, and then I ask them write a story or a poem specifically for the person named. By the end of the year, we all know who likes to write fairy tales, who likes dirty realism or a long free verse poem on wild swimming.

Writing a story for someone can also be fun in other situations. Want to turn on your lover? Try your hand at some erotica with juicy bits, maybe weave in some of the fantasies you’ve shared, or a spicy memory. Or, if you’re not sure what your partner fantasizes about, ask, and then add that to the mix. I once texted a story bit by bit to a lover, he reading along as I sent each morsel. It was like feeding him small pieces of chocolate. Very tasty.

My challenge to you? Write a story or a poem for someone. Move out of your comfort zone – whatever you typically write – and let yourself dive into the idea of this person, the possibility of giving her pleasure or making him laugh or offering up a little escape from the tedium of a long day at work.

And while you’re at it, put a little music on in the background, whatever helps you think of that person. Perhaps Natalie Merchant’s ‘Kind and Generous’ might inspire you to find just the right story or poem you’ve been looking for to say thank you.