• Writing Prompt: Castles in the Air

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in Inspiration     Comments No comments

    Castles in the AirTo build castles in the air. It’s an idiom meaning to make plans or goals, or to create hopes, that have very little chance of ever happening. We’ve all done it, some more than others. Some of us build castles in the air and then live in them forevermore.

    Edward Gibbon once said, “There is more pleasure to building castles in the air than on the ground.” True, for most. It’s not an odd thing to say for a guy who wrote The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire–think of how much ground-level castle building it took to write that beast of a book. I imagine that Gibbon said the above as soon as he finished the last page of the last volume, putting down his feather pen, shaking loose of his powdered wig, maybe taking snuff and then (ostensibly) sneezing.

    For today’s writing prompt I want you to think about this concept of castles in the air. First, make a list of as many of your air castles as you can think of. Then make a list of as many of your ground castles as you can recall. Then take a second look at Mr. Gibbon’s words:

    “There is more pleasure to building castles in the air than on the ground.”

    Next, weigh Gibbon’s lines against these words by one of our favorite writers, Mr. Henry David Thoreau:

    “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

    Put these two quotes at the top of the next page and write a response, keeping your lists in mind. And as always, let this exercise take you in whatever direction it chooses to.

    Happy writing, writers! Feel free to email to us your experience, and if you want to share with the whole group, you can leave your results in the comments section below.


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