January 19, 2023

Fun in Anticipation by Alan Anderson


Anticipation = “the act or state of looking forward to some occurrence.” — Merriam-Webster Dictionary online.


Anticipation in Writing                      


When I am writing a poem, the anticipation is accompanied by great excitement. This excitement is like being part of a wonderful adventure. In fact, even the words in my head become excited. There are so many words to choose from and they all want to be included in a poem. I am sure at least a few of them are disappointed they are not chosen.



When I first come up with an idea for a poem, I become restless. I might need to go for a walk or play with my dog or do both. I talk to myself and if I’m in a coffee shop, I whisper so no one hears me. Sounds odd, right? Okay, I’ll come clean with you. By talking to myself, I am in conversation with the words in my head. Yes, I agree, this is indeed beginning to sound even more odd. Guess what? This conversation works. 



Please allow me to give an example of what I mean in what I say in the previous paragraphs. In between writing this post, I am working on a poem. The theme of the poem is serious therefore, the words must work well together and get along. I call the poem, “Stranger Dance.”



An Exercise in Anticipation


Here is an excerpt from “Stranger Dance,” to give you an idea of what you might expect for the rest of the poem.


Stranger Dance

By Alan Anderson


Many of us walk by each other,

Without a glance,

 A stranger dance.

Two-stepped every day,

Seems we like it this way,


A stranger dance is without romance,

Cold, distant existence,

Where people go through the motions,

Only pretend to care,

Yet put up a wall of resistance.



When I began “Stranger Dance,” I had a specific reason for its tone. I also gave a lot of thought to the context of the poem. The context is taken from my perspective of how the Covid-19 pandemic affected people in a negative manner. This poem is a work in progress and its ending is an act of anticipation how it will turn out.



I thought of a fun way readers may contribute to the poem. What do you expect the rest of the poem will be? Until this post goes live, I will not develop it to its conclusion. I want to give you readers a role in the anticipation of how “Stranger Dance” will end. Think about it. Feel free to comment on how the rest of the poem may go. Listen to all the excitement of the words in your head and go for it!



Alan lives in Deroche, B.C. with his wife, Terry, and their poodle, Charlie. He contributed stories to Good Grief People by Angel Hope Publishing, 2017; Story by Story: The Power of a Writer, Unstoppable Writers Publishing, 2018; Easter Stories & More by InScribe Christian Writers’ Fellowship, 2021. He is currently working on a book expressing the grief of grieving grandparents entitled “Hidden Poetic Voices: A Reflective Work of Grief, Faith, and Poetry.” Alan periodically writes articles for FellowScript Magazine. He has written posts for our InScribe blog since 2015. Blog: https://scarredjoy.ca.


  1. Wonderful post, Alan. I also do self chatting and I call it thinking out loud. I would think it would be almost mandatory writing poetry in order to hear and sense the rhythm and nuance of each word. How do I think ‘Stranger Dance’ will end? With hope. May there be hope for the strangers and for humanity. Thanks, Alan.

    1. Hi Sharon...I don't feel as odd with your habit of self chatting. Fun, right? Yes, indeed, hope is needed these days. Even in the crazy time in which we live there is hope.

  2. Hi Alan,

    Yes, I have witnessed the harm left behind by that nasty bug. It's changed our dance. But I suspect your poignant and lovely poem will end by inspiring us to change our dance for the better.

    Here' what came to me when I allowed words to dance in my mind:

    Many is much but not all,
    Some heed the higher call
    To step alongside
    The lonely and hurting
    To swallow our pride

    A dance can turn
    On a heel to heal
    The wounds of the broken
    And deliver the destitute
    By tearing down walls of platitude.

    Blessings ~ Wendy Mac

    1. Oooh, I love your addition, Wendy!!

    2. Ahh, Wendy, you get it! You join the "dance," "for the better." I love how the words in your mind are healers. This is where, Stranger Dance," is headed. The poem will be part of my "Healer," theme poems. Thanks so much, Wendy for your thoughts and heart words.

  3. Another great "A" word! And I love the poem. It captures exactly what happens!

    1. Hi Tracy! I had a wrestling match in my head to decide our "A" word. I waited with great anticipation to see what word would volunteer. Thank you for loving the poem. I appreciate your encouragement. :)

  4. Thanks Alan! Anticipation was the word I woke up with and the word in my daily devotion - so I feel this post/poem is spot-on. Here's my contribution to the poem in progress: "Trusting what lays ahead, around the bend, how our feet move together, step in time... lead us where we need to be, to discover we are more than strangers."

    1. I love your additional thoughts, Dayna!

    2. Wow, wonderful, my poetry mentor! Hi Dayna! Thank you for your comments and suggestion for, "Stranger Dance." I always appreciate your suggestions.

  5. I agree with Tracy, Alan; this is another great 'A' word! I'm anticipating you'll share the rest of your poem with us when you complete it...? You made me smile with your descriptions of your process of poetry writing :)

    1. Hi Susan...Thank you. I can indeed share the poem once I'm pleased with it. I'm happy my words and I made you smile. :) Keep smiling!

  6. Anonymous7:51 pm GMT-7

    I like how you feel anticipation while you’re writing, and how you talk to the words in your head - love it! Your poem already speaks to me. I feel this distance and resistance with certain people. I have discovered that a relationship can begin but someone always has to make the first move. Sometimes it’s a wonderful surprise what comes out of that first connection.

    1. Hello, my friend. Thank you for allowing the poem to speak to you. I agree with your comments.

  7. I loved your poem and all the words of encouragement others gave you, Alan. My thoughts for the poem led to warmth vs cold--where the Lord wakes us up to the need for warmth and love in relationships, and how we can walk in a two-step of dance together.

    I hope you post the poem when you've finished it!

    1. Hi Sandi...I love how we encourage each other. Thank you for your comment on the poem. I'm processing all the thoughts and suggestions our writer family is offering.

  8. Angelina Fast12:37 pm GMT-7

    Love your choice of words, Alan!
    A resolution to my feelings of isolation, when Covid began, happened on a morning walk with an upcoming “lonely” birthday on my horizon. A little girl (stranger to me) was playing on a front porch. When she spotted me, she descended the steps, ran across the lawn, stooped down to pick a blue flower and reached it out to me with the words, “This is for you.”

    1. Hi Angie! Thank you for sharing your beautiful interaction with the little girl. My grandfather heart melted at the image of her sweet gesture.


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