I enrolled in a course on Creative writing. I thoroughly enjoyed working with Shaun Levin on

Creative Writing for Beginners: Bringing Your Story to Life

Here is the end result of my story.

The copper Ash tray

A sailboat from the past into the future, that’s my copper ashtray.

The ashtray comes from Indonesia. A piece of craftsmanship. The ashtray has a shaft where the matchbox fits. A full matchbox is pushed halfway open over the shaft, for anyone to take a match to light a cigarette or cigar.

I let my fingers glide over the delicately carved bottom part. It feels smooth and cold.

When I close my eyes, I imagine it’s a boat sailing into the sunset, full of adventures from the past.

It has many stories to tell from wartime and peace; travels to the Netherlands, South Africa and some years ago to New Zealand. 

My family lived in a big mansion in Indonesia. My great-granddad was an engine driver on the railways. During weekends or days of, the men would gather in the lounge or outside relaxing with a cigar or cigarette with the ashtray always handy nearby to light the smoker’s cigars. The family moved back to Hilversum in the Netherlands before World War II started and took the tray home.

The next move was to Pretoria, South Africa in 1952. The tray was not used much because there was no time to relax anymore. No gatherings for smokes because the cigars were costly, and my parents knew nobody at first. 

My parents moved to Polokwane to live with my sister. The smoke tray had a special place in my sister’s house.  My son wanted to move to New Zealand, and before he went, my mother asked:

“Would you like to inherit the whole smoke tray? It’s been in the family since 1912, and you are the only male descendant.”

“Wow, grandma, I would love it,” came the satisfying answer.

Today the smoke tray is in my home. It travelled with me to New Zealand in 2009. It still goes to my son, I’ll look after it while I’m alive because it is precious to me. My granddaughter loves to play with it. She puts some dried rose petals in it, and repeatedly takes the leaves out and into one of the other ashtrays and back in the small one that looks like a sailboat on its way into the sunset.



11 responses to “Creative Writing: The ash tray”

  1. Tom Avatar

    It’s cool to see how much you can extract from just an initial prompt, nice writing!


    1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com Avatar

      Thanks Tom, for your kind words. We first had to take a strawberry and use your sense to describe it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Aletta - nowathome Avatar

    Great memories and thank you for sharing Ineke!


    1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com Avatar

      They are and I enjoyed writing the piece using what I’ve learned about creative writing. and making it more enjoyable to read.


  3. Letty-Ann Avatar

    What a family treasure,or should I rather rephrase, WHAT A TREASURED FAMILY!


    1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com Avatar

      I have an old photo with the tray also in the picture. Very special indeed.


  4. appeltjie Avatar

    Heirlooms are special objects that sadly are losing place in today’s small living spaces and many people are not placing values on sentiment any more. I myself have some furniture and objects I cannot part with


    1. scrapydo2.wordpress.com Avatar

      I know, I also have a few that I’m still holding onto. When I’m not here anymore its for the family to decide what they want to do with it.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: