Saturday, January 4, 2014

Writing Prompt

It is true that the more voraciously I devour books of great writing, the more easily the personal writing process becomes... but what if the things I am devouring lately are study guides and technical manuals? My love of learning new things and immersion in new endeavors presses me to learn more about the amazing ability of a multi-ton aircraft to stay afloat on breaths of air, and how pilots navigate weather formations, and how the boat pose in yoga is a natural precursor to successfully holding the wheel pose...

I attended a writing workshop today without any specific topic or gnawing need to express, because I have upheld the "brain drain" or "morning pages" habit of journaling for decades, and figure that is therapy enough for me. But as I consider the poetry that once flowed effortlessly from me in college years, and the narrative "snapshots" I crafted in high school, and the infrequent bursts of revelation I have shared since then, I realize how little story I read and how that would adversely affect my ability to now begin writing even the most poignant and delightful of life's stories.

I'm trying to work through my first Faulkner novel, "Pylon." Its fascinating first chapter kept me engrossed even as I was surrounded by the hungry chatter of the business lunchers in Panera Bread. The man's ability to maintain a full page run-on sentence is astounding, and in consuming his colorful, novel and meticulous descriptions I felt like E.T. following a trail of Reese's Pieces. I was amazed at my abandonment to reading an entire chapter of a book, in total focus, without interruption in a crowded room. ( I have yoga practice to thank for that!) But I also recognized the tragic fact that the only other time I have done this was during our week at the lake last summer, when I felt fully entitled to string my handmade hammock between two maples and spend hours swaying with the lake breezes for my annual re-reading of Anne Morrow Lindbergh's "Gift from the Sea." Rarely do I make time to really read amongst the routines and schedules of home life.

So, In accepting the invitation to participate in this writing workshop, I am faced with a dilemma. What to write?!? I am not afraid of the process of putting pen to paper and letting the thoughts flow like wine, but that's what I write - random thoughts... and feelings... and personal stuff. It's been a long time since I've written a cohesive series of thoughts that may actually turn into an essay or story.

Perhaps it is time to dig into the past a bit, though I really prefer living in the present. It's time to pour out the amazing moments that life has brought me and record them before they are lost forever. When my children were young and my life revolved around building a home, I would take time to create family scrapbook albums and complete the albums by journaling the stories of our days together, even when our world seemed small and comfortably cozy. As life and priorities shift I often consider what to hang on to and what to let go of, and somewhere along the way, the keeping of stories has fallen to the wayside. Now my daughter is preparing to graduate and move away to college and my son is close on her heels. They will be creating and discovering their own stories independent of this original family circle, and I will depend on them to tell their stories so I may continue to delight in their growth and discoveries.

Accepting the challenge, the process begins here...

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