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Blog > November Writing Prompt: Sounds

The writing prompts invite postcrossers to write about a different topic on their postcards’ messages every month. These are just suggestions though — if you already know what you want to write about, or the recipient gives you some pointers, that’s great too!

Earlier this year, postcrosser Marg (aka MargLondon) sent BBC Radio 4 a really nice sound clip about her favorite sound, which was the sound of postcards being dropped through her mail slot. In the conversation we had with her afterwards, I discovered Marg had been collecting sounds for quite some time, all around the world. In her profile, she asks for members to write about what they hear in their city, home or room, and we thought this was a nice idea.

In November, write about the sounds of your area or your home.
Listening for sounds

So stand very still for a minute and listen carefully to the sounds around you. What do you hear?

From where I sit, I hear mostly swallows and sparrows chirping away. Some distance buzz from traffic, the rustle from the palm trees swaying in the wind… and Paulo, quietly typing away on his keyboard.

If I had to pick one sound to represent this region though, it would be the sound of cicadas in the summer. Their loud buzzing is a permanent soundtrack on warm days around here, starting quietly and then quickly increasing in volume as more of them join in, like a wave of sound. They’re so omnipresent in the region that for us, the song of the cicadas sounds like being home.

What about you, which sounds are special to your place? What do you hear all around you? And what memories do they stir? Let’s listen carefully and write about it on the postcards we send out this month.



50 comments so far

wifetoalineman, United States of America
All I heard is the howling of the wind as of this moment outside.

nikos8109, Greece
All I hear now, is the sound of my daughter's breath while she is sleeping. No other sound matters for me now 😊

Ilia222, Russia
Now I can hear my little brother watching cartoons in the next room)))

Annabella13, Finland
What a great idea this is! I'm currently listening to music on Spotify, so that's pretty much all I hear. :) But if I pause the music, I hear my clock ticking on the wall, cars driving by my house every now and then, and my stomach grumbling. I guess I'd better eat something. :D

panpantastic, Malaysia
🌊 I live near the beach so it is nice to always have the sound of crashing waves anytime

I never paid attention or thought about it.
The sounds of trains going far in the Trans-Siberian Railway. )

Marina_77, Sweden
The sound of my purring cat is relaxing and calming. Can never get tired of listening to that!

Jacque53, United States of America
I hear the hum of my ceiling fan and the click, click, click of my computer keys as I type this out. The most wonderful sound that I love to hear everyday is the sound of the mail truck coming to deliver mail in my neighborhood :)

nanuq1, Germany
I love the sound of falling sunlight!

Kewl, Philippines
I can hear (now at 8:30 pm) the rhythmic sound of gecko, "tooo-ko! tooo-ko!"

Next up - smell!!!! I am currently reading the interesting book by Alexandra Horowitz, "Being a Dog: Following the dog into a world of smell".

HappyLittleOrange, United States of America
From my office, I hear the sounds of an older printer, people typing at their computers, and the hum of the heating system keeping us warm.

mounten, Italy
At the moment I only hearTRAFFIC TRAFFIC outside my house. The bypass road from my village is closed for works, so all the traffic passes outside my window;;((And the TV is on too!

Gen24, United States of America
Right now I hear an airplane flying above and the happy romantic French music I have playing on youtube. :-) At nights, I hear trains rumbling past, even though they are at least a mile away.

Gen24, United States of America
meiadeleite, I agree with you. In the summer, the cicadas are realyl loud, droning out all other sounds. ;)

floosieQ, United Kingdom
I heard Marg speaking on Radio 4, and that's when I found out about Postcrossing and decided to sign up!

Regndroppar, Finland
I hear my wall clock ticking and my fridge churning. Otherwise quiet and peaceful.

AlFichka, Russia
At the moment, I hear two my sons washing in the bathroom before going to bed. They laugh very loudly!)

Sterngesang, Germany
Late evening. The village sleeps in its shady envelope. The streets are empty. There is no one walking in the vineyards that border the village. The harvest is over and wild boars have not shown yet. Foxes search their prey near the forest. From time to time, I hear them yelp.
I'm listening to the rain fall. It is like music on the window panel. I listen to each drop of rain whispering secrets in vain, frantically searching for someone to hear their story before they hit ground.
I can hear the wind howling in the branches that are just beyond my door. And I can smell the rain drifting through my window. It is cold outside, around zero Celsius. The rain keeps falling like helpless tears.
I like listening to the rain and its music, sliding along my windows, drawing in transparency fleeting and changing paintings. The drops falling on my roof compose so magical tunes that the sky seems to have fingers. I like the rain and its smells, its indefinable aromas of earth, ephemeral and unforgettable vapors. I like the rain, its landscapes, all shades of watercolors, the chiaroscuro of his veil painting a more beautiful nature.

Suzywoo, United Kingdom
From my front door I can hear traffic and emergency sirens from the local main road. Also at this time of year there are fireworks to watch, listen and smell.

nm_rockhound, United States of America
One of the most distinctive sounds this time of year in my neck of the woods, are the Sandhill Cranes. That's when you know it's officially autumn.

Knerq, United States of America
Right now, I can hear my cat grooming himself, my husband talking to himself, a faint hum from some electronic device, and cars driving by outside my house.

Heepy, United States of America
Loud mufflers, barking dogs, thumpy bass noise, neighbor slamming-banging-crashing from early in the morning until late at night, air planes overhead, highway traffic, train whistles. Planes, trains and automobiles. That's every-day life here.

That's why I love late night, after midnight, when it's usually quiet. then I just hear the hum of my laptop cooling mat and occasionally the purr of my cat.

All of it is punctuated by the loud ticking of the John Lennon clock just a few feet away, on the kitchen wall, right ahead of me where I sit. It sounds the same, tirelessly, faithfully - no matter what else might go on. Faithfully it goes: Tick-tock, tick-tock, tirelessly, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, year-in, year-out.

aerobear, United States of America
Tonight I hear the furnace fan blowing, trying to keep the house warm as the temperature outside dips to freezing. The cars go past on the street in front of the house, and they drift a bit out of their lanes onto the Botts dots, making a bump bump bump sound.

meiadeleite, Portugal
Your "sound pictures" are all so beautiful... Keep them coming!

alison41, South Africa
Great idea for a prompt. This afternoon I can hear traffic on the nearby highway, plus hooting cars - people are thrilled that we won the 2019 World Cup Rugby in Japan today! The hooting is by way of celebration, so today I am listening and smiling, and not complaining about the noise.

BeckyS, United States of America
This morning, the house is so quiet that I can hear the tip of my ink pen make its away across the postcard that I am writing.

Flippie, Canada
I hear Traffic noise and people laughing outside. I live in an apartment 9 high in downtown Victoria BC.

NIDUSKA, Finland
nice idea

Rasmute, Lithuania
After reading your gossip stories, we have a very clear idea of where and what is going on. It's a great idea to use loud descriptions to create images!!!

lillsche, Germany

Caradeangel, Germany
It's 1 a.m. and I can hear my hubby snoring in the next room 😆 Also, somewhere in the building someone is still watching TV. And through the open window, I can hear a boat on the canal 150 metres aways.

allyy__08, United Kingdom
A great topic to write about this month. I think mine would be very different because.. I am profoundly Deaf! I cannot hear anything at all but I have a very magical piece of technology that allows me to hear - a cochlear implant. With this, I am able to hear most sounds - birds singing, the sea waves crashing, music playing. I am very lucky that I have this opportunity to hear sounds - but at the same time it is nice to be able to take off my cochlear implant and enter a world of silence.

loving6thgrade, United States of America
Standing in the kitchen brewing an afternoon cup of decaf on the Keurig machine-the rush of the water, the final last splash , and the sound of the uptank pump preparing for the next cup to be brewed. From the family room I here an old episode of Chicago PD playing on the TV-with a burst of gunfire and then sirens. I hear the dog's toenails clicking on the tile floor as he comes into the kitchen to check for treats. He slurps a few mouthfuls from the water bowl and lies down with an old dog's groan. In the laundry room is the sound of the washing machine in its aggitation cycle and the sound of something clanking in the dryer (probably didn't get all the coins out of husband's pants pockets). The neighbor's kid zooms by on his motor cycle. Quiet bleep from the other room - I've got a text message.

msquared47, United States of America
I live a couple blocks from railroad tracks and I love it when the trains come by and blow their whistles. I listen for that sound.

moonlessnite, Canada
My insomniac wiener doggies need their toenails cut so they dont clickety-clack across the wooden floor all night...what's that? There is achorus of wolves howling inteh dark...all the barking from the dogs in the neigborhood has stopped. Everything is listening to the wolves making their bone-chilling calls.

Jeany77, Germany
The cranes are currently gathering in the field behind our property and they are making a big noise. They are preparing for their return flight to the south. It sounds great. And in the evening the deer roar.

LaRiri, Italy
I only hear far little noises and the quiet sound of silence...

relvita, United Kingdom
Remember, remember!
The fifth of November,
The Gunpowder treason and plot;
I know of no reason
Why the Gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot!

It's Guy Fawkes Night here in the UK - a night to hear the sound of fireworks :) The bigger scale shows happened last weekend though, on Friday and/ or Saturday nights, depending on who was organising them.
I think a lot of people, if not even most, now see it as a night to "just" enjoy fireworks and not as a celebration of its original political and religious meaning.

Mosshumla, Sweden
It's 10 pm and I'm sitting in my mother's kitchen, listening to the clock's ticking and the refridgerator working. In the bathroom my sister-in-law is drying her hair. Outside, I can hear the traffic on the motorway and the wind in the trees.
My favourite sounds are the most quiet sounds of nature, for example the whispering of falling snow, or the almost unhearable sound of buds opening in spring.
A few days ago, thousands of cranes flew south, passing over the village. Their calls were just wonderful, full of yearning.

Braam, Australia
Sometimes we have "selective hearing", which I think must be a safety mechanism from the old days. I worked as a School Music Teacher, so usually I love to hear Music, of various kinds, formal & informal. P.S. There are lots of Summer Cicadas droning around Sydney, too!

kathilo, United States of America
I am constantly annoyed by my upstairs neighbors who clomp around like a couple of elephants, and sometimes it sounds like they're throwing stuff around - like bowling balls, maybe? Terrible neighbors...

Mariya28, Russia
Я сейчас слышу капли с веток на опавшие листья, пение и карканье птиц, а также шум машин

ArtLinoGuy, Netherlands
We live near the seashore. The waves are roling in when it is floodtide. There are stonebrik little dykes and the water splashes unto this. There are miniature snails and crab, also seeweeds and latice. Sometimes i vind Sea lavender and salicornia that are very healthy for meals. They give you the daily dose of minerals and vitamins.

ceed52, Russia
Слышал сегодня в 10:05

muhmachtdiekuh, Germany
The raindrops on my windows and my parakeets softly chirping ❤️

lkg, United States of America
I hear an occasional car go by my house in a quiet neighborhood. Most neighbors are at work; between 3:00 - 5:00 pm, I will hear the distinctive sound of the mail truck delivering our daily mail- mostly ads but also a postcard from somewhere in the world thanks to postcrossing.

Sprinkledonut, Canada
The glide of the commuter train running past. My housemate watching news in the other room. Cupboards closing as the dishes are put away. The tick, tick, tick of the electrical fairies that work inside my laptop. Uh-oh! I can't hear my breathing. Should I be worried, doctor?

wildernesscat, Israel
Oh dear. We live in a new neighbourhood, and most of the sounds we hear are drilling, hammering, and revving engines of concrete mixers 😢

Darcey1, South Africa
The sound of all the wild birds. We live on a dirt road that is blocked so no one ever goes past

fangya, China
I am studying in my dormitory.What I can hear just the music in my ear.In the meantime,it is silent in my room,everyone is studying:)))

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