WRITING TIP: Make your words sing like a cactus.

WRITING TIP: Make your words sing like a cactus.

Start by being here, right now. For example, right now I can see the mountain outside my window, dotted with green, the brown earth in between telling me it’s both dry and lush, land of cactus. I can still see how yesterday, Seb sat beside the cactus and plucked at its spines until he found the ones that made sounds — one thorn bright, one dull and deep, another like a high ping—and then he played that cactus on one side while Chris played the other side and I sat astonished. I had never heard a cactus sing.

I loved watching Seb, his childlike curiosity to find out what things can do. I loved watching his quick delight — right beside the more serious expresssion on Chris’s face, skin burnished by the late afternoon sun, a simplicity and ground in his stance. I loved them both for their willingness to hurt fingers and thumbs for the sake of music. And now, I look again at the mountainside, curious what music can be made by the hidden shrubs that grow up that steep pathway?

This curiosity just might be another word for love. After all, isn’t love just full attention that wants to make contact, evoke life, meet it somehow, discover its limits, thumb to cactus spine, foot to earthy pathway? Isn’t love just the words we need to say, or the music we need to play, because the heart is so full that it needs to spill out to make room for more?

Want your words to sing like a cactus? Try gently exploring the thorns that have kept you away from your curious heart.