Writing of the Week: Present continuous

Writing of the Week: Present continuous

present continuousPresent Continuous

A tough exercise, this one, to write a passage using only present continuous tense. And the winner was … Helena Ameisen.

Of course it’s extending the limits of what length sounds and feel right in the use of present continuous to ask students to write using that tense only for 10 minutes. But it was a useful creative writing exercise in having students come to understand that there are limits.

Helena’s effort found a subject that suited the use of that tense to fine sensibility. And she travelled right to the border of acceptability. An excellent example, Helena!

Continuously Present

I am kneeling in the halls of contemplation, sitting zazen on the hard wooden floors of Hosshinji Temple, a Buddhist retreat in Japan, feeling my folded legs aching, listening to the floor boards creaking beneath them, while I’m shifting, rolling from knee to knee ever so slightly.

Stillness is seeping into my mind yet discomfort is disrupting my practise. Thoughts keep rising and stress is departing with them but the thoughts are never-ending, never ceasing.

Now I am listening to the early rising birds singing in the woods outside these timber walls and I am rising with them. Time is standing still, at least for the moment. A monk is walking between the rows of devotees, clutching a bamboo rod in his right hand.

Swack ! I hear the rod swishing through the air and landing on the back of one poor trainee who is slouching. Staying upright and remaining vigilant is an ongoing challenge.



Copyright: Helena Ameisen. Not to be used without her permission. Contact: enquiry@ssoa.com.au





  1. Sharon Dean
    29 March, 2017 at 8:52 am

    Perfect subject choice. I was right there with you, Helena :-)

    Reply »
  2. Meg Mooney
    29 March, 2017 at 7:05 pm

    This is beautiful writing & I love the way Helena invited us into such a personal experience

    Reply »

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