Posted onApril 29, 2014|Comments Off on no one else can understand why you’re crying
At yesterday’s Write Whole meeting, I offered this Sarah Kay poem as one of our prompts (the video is 18 minutes long, but we just used the poem she performed at the very beginning to spark our writing). Then, after the group left last night, I sat down and made a short recording of my response to this poem — this is what it sounds like in the writing group after we’ve written together: we read our words to one another straight out of our notebooks, and then allow others to witness our words, sharing what they heard us say, what stayed with them about our writing. Here is what I wrote:
(Consider using either video as your own prompts today — what stays with you? What sparks a response in your body? Where do your own words want to begin?)
Comments Off on no one else can understand why you’re crying
Posted onApril 3, 2014|Comments Off on What sort of intersection are you?
(all of the intersections in and around Boston are dangerous!)
Good morning, writers! Outside my window right now, construction workers are jackhammering pavement. The birds have all gone silent, with or some other, more difficult emotion, maybe. The city is all city sounds right now.
How is WriOursWhoMo treating you so far? How are you honoring the intersections within you: the intersections of trauma and song, the intersections of longing and loss, the intersections of aftermath and resilience?
This morning I’m headed out to the Amherst Writers and Artists Facilitator Training — the trainees have been gathered for several days already, learning the basics of the method and beginning to push into themselves to find out why they want to do this work. I’ll get to help out with the practice groups, when the fledgling facilitators lead an exercise for the first time using the method, with other trainees & instructors as the writers. I can’t wait.
Good morning and happy Friday! Just a quick prompt post today, ’cause then I’m off to the cafe for some notebook writing…
Here’s the prompt: Create two lists — ways that you/s/he/they are beautiful and/or sexy, and then, ways that you/s/he/they are not beautiful and/or sexy. Take a few minutes to create each list, separately.
Then combine both lists into the first one: both lists are ways that you/s/he/they are beautiful and/or sexy — in all their complications. Start you writing using an item from each list, thinking about what beautiful or sexy means… and follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.
Yesterday was the last meeting of the Art for Recovery Healing through Writing workshop for this spring session. One of the prompts I offered was a list of quotes from Alice Walker’s, “In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens”:
Only justice can stop a curse
Creation often needs two hearts
Our best poets write poetry full of holes
I am so tired of waiting […] for the world to become good
Posted onJune 17, 2010|Comments Off on Trauma longs for mystery but can only be its angry white self
This is from today’s Healing through Writing workshop, at the Art for Recovery center (a program of Mt. Zion’s Cancer Resource Center). The prompt was a metaphor making exercise: we created a list seven prompts, each of which contained the name of an illness, a common verb, and a noun, creating a sentence like: “trauma cries like a cow” or “breast cancer bleeds like a pen.” Here’s my write:
Trauma jumps like a star, falling over and across the page, across the sky, across through the brother and sister stars—trauma pushes open the places that weren’t supposed to be open, sheds light where before there was only an arc of black sky.
Trauma rends things, tears me, but what’s true is that after – after – I’m more open.
This is from the Art for Recovery/Healing through Writing workshop last Thursday — the prompt was a poem from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, (“Words For It”), and then we started with the phrases, “I wish I could take language and…” or “This is what I want my stories to do…”
This is what I want my stories to do: I want the stories to do the work for me, I want them to go back in time and change what happened, I want us to be able to breathe again.
What I want is for my stories to open me to you — I want you to see what I hide. I want you to look under the metaphors and sentences for the scraps and facts of me. I want you to see what’s left of my childhood behind that poem. I want you to welcome my badness with open arms, the way you welcome the sing-song of my lines.
Posted onMay 19, 2010|Comments Off on Holding up around the bones and breath of me
This is a write from Monday night’s Write Whole workshop — the prompt was a Band-Aid!
Band-Aids are super sterile now — they just smell like air. They used to smell like something, I think, they used to smell like plastic and medicine, they used to smell like a wound and its healing, they used to smell like recovery or its possibility. And there was always a box of them in the hallway closet outside the bathroom, where the overflow toiletries and first aid stuff lived, and the box had a hundred different sizes of Band-Aids, the big elbow-sized ones and the ones with cut-outs for knuckle or thumb (those hour-glass shaped ones ere always the last ones left in a box), then the tiny, pinky-toe ones and the circle ones that really only ever got used when you go to the doctor and have to get a shot.
As a kid I was constantly covered with scratches and scars and scams, having stubbed this or fallen off my bike and scraped that or dug in rocky soil with my fingers and jabbed something else — but I don’t remember being especially band-aid-covered. Maybe when an opening in my skin wouldn’t stop bleeding after the application of paper towel or toilet paper and pressure — ok, there’d be a good time for a band-aid. But otherwise, I preferred to let air and skin and coagulants (although I didn’t know that word then) do their thing. Bandages got ragged and dirty on me real quick — I didn’t like having to keep something clean.
When my sister cut her foot during a trip to the Henry Doorly Zoo, when she slipped while we were walking on the raised concrete at the edge of the path and the sharp bottom of the metal cyclone fencing snagged into her ankle and she got rushed to the hospital (thereby, I think I’ve mentioned before, ruining our zoo trip, which was all I could focus on then), she had to get stitches and then wear a bag on her foot for forever, whenever she showered, until they healed — that just looked like torture to me. I wouldn’t have done very well with the stitches. They would have got pulled out of me torn and dirty, I think.
The prompt was an avocado: I split it in half, handed everyone a spoon, and passed the halves around the room. We could each take a taste, savor the scent and texture, and then we wrote from whatever came up for us in response:
My mom grew avocado seeds in the windowsill, always had a clear glass or jelly jar mostly filled with water that had, perched on top of it, a bulby brown seed with three toothpicks stuck into it to hold only the bottom half into the water. We’d watch, my sister and I, til the seed split, and you could see the cream-white insides beneath the shallow brown topcoat. Then the root would push out, like a tail, diving down into the water, separating from itself, over the days, into many roots tangling inside the glass. The top would grow, too, the true oblong-almond leaves taking over a corner of the kitchen window that looked out onto our back yard and her garden.
My mother could make anything grow. She sprouted alfalfa seeds, threw mint seeds out the back door and a Jack’s beanstalk-y thatch of strong herb would take hold. She raised gardens that seem, to my little kid memory, like they were acres long and wide — like they honestly went on for miles. I could get lost in them, remember being as high as the bean plants, the tomatoes towering over me.