Tag Archives: workshop

Experimental in a workshop with Inua Ellams

One of the most random pieces written while in a workshop with Inua Ellams in Karachi turned out to be not-so-random after all. Maybe some of you can try this out for yourself. Take a random number of equally random words (around 10 to 13 in number), start free writing and fit them in without really aiming to think too hard. (Yes, press yourself for time – 5 to 10 minutes: just the bit of time taken to complete the entire writing process). Try and guess which words Ellams gave us workshop participants here. I have listed the words below. Here is the unedited version. 020


In the Light of God

the rainbow spreads

its wings of dreams

and heartfelt springs as the touch

of dawn on the windowsill

brings forth the sounds

of the morning’s drill.


There in the shade

that traveller sits, speaks

in hushed ash-tones that drip

like dust onto evening’s bowl;

the ashtray of that open door

infused in delight.


Itchy, scratchy flea bites

rancid odours, rhapsody of the sand.

Hardly a moment passes by

when struggle spaghetti-like snakes

sinuously into freedom’s hands.

He does extol the mighty how,

who far off in their love of land

sit perched upon their thrones of gold

forever more garbed in purple.

Royal blood of royal kin

and bound to earth still.

Wicked kin. Look down

Look ahead and then look no more.

The dreams are surprised

by heaven’s snore – that noisy menagerie

of traffic here

that din of sound undying

and clear; restful, wistful passersby,

Destiny may unhindered cry.


(The random words: God, ashtray, itchy, spaghetti, extol, purple, restful happen to be the only ones I even remember at this point from the exercise. If there’s a writer’s block, free writing can be magical, if used correctly)