Word Prompt: Frail | Story Prompt: from the book “Five Little Indians” by Michelle Good

Write It Out: Instruction Video

“The cell door clanked closed behind her and she stepped around the others, looking for some space to sit. She pulled the collar of her shirt up over her nose and mouth, nauseated by the stench. Like a small miracle, the only place left to sit was by the tiny slit that passed as a window on the outside world. An old woman with long grey braids sat there, looking out at the street below. Clara sat next to her and nodded a greeting. She wondered why such a beautiful old woman would be in a place like this. As though reading her mind, the woman turned to her.

“Look,” she said, pointing out the window with a gnarled brown finger.

Clara looked and shook her head. “What?”

“That little birch tree. Even here they shine.”

Clara looked again. A little birch, no taller than Clara herself, stood alone in a small square of dirt carved out of the pavement for it. The rain had stopped and the clouds parted for the muted sunlight of dawn. Clara watched as the leaves of the little tree captured the light, shining silvery and soft. The old woman looked at her with eyes as black as night and placed her hand over Clara’s.

“The power of Creation is everywhere. In the tree, in you, in all of them.” She gestured at the others. “Never forget.” The old lady settled back into the variegated shadows of the cell, her deeply wrinkled hands folded in her lap. Clara gazed at the little birch, blocking out the restless sounds of the cell.”


While it can be so easy to see differences between ourselves and others, the thing is we have all ended up on this planet together and we have more in common than not. Reading about the experiences of others can help us to see that we have connection where we may have thought otherwise. Actually writing about our own experience can be so challenging – it takes real courage to make the first mark on the page.

I have such gratitude to authors who share their collective experiences with us, and I think this is the best way forward for understanding. Not in the bits and bites of social media posts, but in the full exploration, journey and discovery that exists in books.

Thoughts? Feel free to share them here.

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