Sandbox Challenge #31: Neruda Writing Prompt

The Book of Questions, by Pablo Neruda, contains poems made up entirely of questions. I’ve pulled out one of these for today’s writing prompt:

Do we learn kindness or the mask of kindness?

Write a poem, essay, story, memory, freewrite, description…whatever this question evokes in you.

I’d love to see your creations in the comments if you feel like sharing!

I’ll help you slay your Perfectionism Dragon,
Herd your Inner Critics into a soundproof room,
Send your Procrastination Monster whimpering back to his cave,
And defuse all your creative blocks.

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2 Responses to “Sandbox Challenge #31: Neruda Writing Prompt”

  1. 1 herby June 19, 2011 at 11:52 pm

    I’ve been offline for a little while and am taking a break but I still love your blog and the inspirations you provide. This time I want to try a super-short essay instead of my usual poem or story. I have experienced much kindness over the past week so this prompt comes at a great time.


    What we learn and why we do something are so different. The mask of kindness is all that can be taught for true kindness comes from within. You cannot teach someone how to feel, you can only teach them how to recognise other people behaving in the way that seems to be how it feels.

    But that doesn’t mean all is lost. By learning how to recognise kindness we can come to feel what it is like to experience that most beautiful of all human expressions. And when we feel the warmth of another person’s concern a good person feels desire to share that gift with another.

    Beware though an insincere use of the mask for it is easily recognised. The insincere mask of kindness is a trap that can become a prison. Your heart will harden a little with each use and you will damage those who see it. To wear the mask insincerely is to deprive yourself and others of the truth of kindness. It is to take away the world’s faith in that important human trait.

    Wear the mask of kindness when you feel warmth towards another – whether friend, stranger or foe. Don it only in truth and people will see the warmth of your heart. They will learn from your mask and your lesson will be repeated forever.

    • 2 stranglingmymuse June 20, 2011 at 12:53 pm

      I always enjoy reading the pieces of your creativity you share here, herby! Thanks for this thoughtful essay on kindness.


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