Answering Machine

answering machine in space

This prompt is inspired by writers Natalie Goldberg and Nancy Pagh. An "answering machine" is a recording device that stores messages after a missed call.

Using a voice recorder, record yourself for five minutes speaking freely about a memory you have gratitude for. Pay special attention to what you can see, smell, taste, hear, and touch in this memory. Even a little scene will do, like listening from your bedroom while your older sister makes toast... describe how the sounds, then scent, reaches you. Why are you grateful for this memory? 

Once you've finished your 5-minute recording, go and do something else for an hour or longer, then come back and do the following:

1. Listen to the recording.

2. Are there any words, phrases or ideas that are surprising, sweet, interesting, and/or unique? What might you say differently now that you’ve heard the recording?

3. Choose a moment you would like to capture in written form and create a poem from your answering machine message. Try to write at least 30 lines inspired by your recording, and;

4. If you're comfortable sharing, invite a friend, peer, or someone you trust to read your work aloud.


Click here for a free downloadable voice recorder app

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