Writing Challenge turns to Silence as a Defense Mechanism

Hello everyone!  Another Sunday is upon us to kick off the week.  I thought I would share an interesting writing challenge posted by fellow blogger howanxious over at the 20 Lines or Less blog.  I thought this was a really clever writing exercise to get the creative juices flowing. 

Open Book Challenge

Step I- Take out your favorite book. Bring it up to your laptop/PC.

Step II- Open a random page of the book, any page.

Step III- Give a quick glance over the page and read loudly the first phrase/word/line you catch.

Step IV- Repeat that particular phrase/word/line in your mind. Think about it deeply.

Step V- Write a poem or any other writing piece. The title for the poem or the theme of your poem/writing piece is going to be that particular phrase/word/line.

I picked up the book closest to me sitting on my desk, which was John Steinbeck’s In Dubious Battle.  In case you are unfamiliar, the story revolves around migrant workers striking against the produce farmers in Central California after the growers reduced wages for the workers.  The strike becomes a violent affair.

I opened up to page 207 at glanced at the last lines of the page:

Jim sat waiting for them to come back.  Lisa, beside him, was secretly nursing the baby under the blanket again.  “Don’t you ever move around?” Jim asked.


“You just sit still.  All these things go on around you, and you pay no attention.  You don’t even hear.”

“I wisht it was over,” she replied.  “I wisht we lived in a house with a floor, an’ a toilet close by.  I don’t like this fightin’.”

After giving the passage some thought, I came up with the following poem:

Silence as a Defense Mechanism

Just because one remains idle in the midst of chaos

Doesn’t mean that the chaos doesn’t resonate from within.

Sometimes the only defense mechanism one can handle,

To process what should not be

Is to sit perfectly still in silence

Waiting to be free.

Not bad, I think I created a piece of writing that reflects the meaning of the passage.  It was a fun challenge, and I hope you writers out there give it a try.  Go ahead – try the challenge and post it to your blogs – especially if you are sitting in front of your computer looking for a blog topic.

Also, check out 20 Lines or Less to read some of the submissions from other bloggers from this challenge.  If you know a 20 Lines or Less blogger, such as myself, you can always ask one of us to post your Open Book Challenge to the website.

Happy writing!


6 thoughts on “Writing Challenge turns to Silence as a Defense Mechanism


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