Prompt Description

by Lesley O’Brien

Here are several writing exercises based upon the fairytale and song ‘Vasalisa’.

Listen to the song ‘Vasilisa;. How does it make you feel, what memories does it stir? Write for 8 minutes your stream of consciousness, i.e. do not edit, try and keep your pen moving without pondering what you are writing. Afterwards, go over your writing and edit. Larry Butler introduced me to this type of writing exercise and I have found it really useful to get my creative juices flowing and get me started with a piece of writing.

Listen to the song again, this time looking at the words below. Choose a line you connect with and begin writing with this line. Write for 8 minutes your stream of consciousness, edit afterwards.

I wrote this song inspired by the Russian fairytale, Vasalisa. In the story Baba Yaga is a wise old crone who lives in a house in the woods that sits on giant chicken legs. Her chosen mode of transport is a cauldron which she guides with a broom made from human hair. Vasalisa takes shelter with Baba Yaga and after cleaning and tidying her house, she gains a few pearls of wisdom from the old cailleach.

Have you met an old crone who has taught you important lessons in life? Write about her, describe what she looked like, where she lived, how she travelled. What did she teach you? Write her a letter and thank her for being your mentor.

You may now be intrigued to read the story of Vasilisa, find a copy on line or go to my favourite version from ‘Women Who Run With The Wolves’ by Clarissa Pinkola Estes.

Vasalisa

In her cauldron she will fly, house on chicken legs but don’t you cry
Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you cry, Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you sigh
Clear day, the sun and the night, questions you must ask the witch tonight.

Faithful servants they will appear, grind the poppy seeds, but don’t you fear
Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you cry, Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you sigh
Baba Yaga she will teach, mother’s blessing will guide you.

Vasalisa do you know who you are? A dangerous mission has taken you far
Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you cry, Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you sigh
Intuition has made you strong, Vasalisa you must listen to her song.
Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you cry, Vasalisa, Vasalisa don’t you sigh