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Origin

owl4An online dictionary definition of the word origin:  “the point or place where something begins, arises, or is derived.”

Isn’t that a word that we investigate over the course of our lives?  One of those words that invite the existential questions that humans, from serfs to philosophers, ponder throughout time.

The unanswerable…yet, we go there in our thoughts, perhaps more so in times of grief and loss.

Origin, the word itself, looks pretty.  Like I could design a painting around it.  That which emerges from the emptiness, the black hole, the no-thing, the fertile void from which everything has risen.

Writing Prompt:
Get quiet.  Sit comfortably.  Soften your gaze or close your eyes.  Imagine…nothing.  The void.  The emptiness.  The deep quiet.  The solitary feeling that connects you to everything.  How long can you comfortably sit with this?  Notice.  What thoughts arise and can you allow them to dissolve into the nothing?  What passing thought stops you and prompts you to pick up your pen and write?  Then, write for as long as you must.

Ah, Origin.

Where would you go from here?

An old Journal can provide the inspiration to
get you writing…even someone else’s writing can prompt your own.

Here’s the Writing Prompt for today.  Following is an excerpt from one of my old journals.  Pick up from where I leave off and see what flows for you.  Or, if there is one sentence that could serve as your springboard, borrow it and write.

“I’ll tell you this…
A body likes comfort
lingering in bed this morning
it’s time to put on the flannel sheets
These shores of comfort’s complacency
the siren’s call to distraction
versus the call to action
the planet’s doom
Where is my friend
for the end of the world?”

Query:
Did you try it?  If so, how did this work for you?
Leave a reply under comments if you like.

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In My Own Backyard…

cherrytree

Sonnet to the Cherry Tree
© by Christine O’Brien

If I were to write a sonnet to you
what words could convey what you mean to me?
The fidelity of this tree so true
reveling in what it is to be.

A sovereign tree, one hundred years old
leaves unfurled, from blossoms to cherries abound.
If trees could talk, what stories would be told
affinity with sky, roots in the ground.

Are my limitations making me deaf
to the voices that speak without words?
The winds carry fragrance and scents do waft
as cherries ripen, I race with the birds.

To eat the fruit from this generous tree
a gift that binds me to eternity.

Writing Prompt:
Go outside and take a look around.  What, in your own backyard, deserves a poem, a story or a painting?
Write it, draw it or paint it!

I want to write, but…

Recently, a friend sincerely expressed how she wanted to write.  However, she didn’t want to write about what isn’t working in her life.  She was fearful of creating “more of the same” by putting it on the page.  I suggested that she give herself permission to have the rant in order to get to the good stuff.

Anyone, including me, can give themselves “reasons not to write today.”  A good way to address this is to take a reason not to write and write about it.  For example, I don’t want to write todaybecause I don’t want to put on the page how upset I am about my daughter’s choice of boyfriend.  I feel fierce and want to steal her out of this relationship and magically make her life better… 

Giving yourself permission to feel and say what you feel in the moment is important to your writing process.  You could write your rant on a piece of scrap paper which you later toss rather than including it in your journal.    Give your rant a time limit, five or ten minutes. Then, shake it off.

Once you’ve done your rant, what does your passion want you to write?  Can you return to the book, the poem, the prose or the painting and immerse yourself in what you’re here to do?

Yes, you can!

Writing Prompt:
If something is “up” for you, write a rant giving yourself about ten minutes to express it.  How did that work for you?
Or, do you have another ingenious way to creatively handle what is distressing you and then to get on with the writing you deeply desire to do?mermaid8

Writing Your Prayer

Writers write.  They write in their journals.  They write letters, stories, poetry, questions, lists; they write about curiosities, experiences, circumstances, politics, religion, sex, love, doubts, fears, hopes and dreams, you name it.  They write it all down. This gives them a bit of relief not to have things rattling around in their heads. Writing something down, preferably in a journal or in a notebook, they collect their creative ideas, often on a scrap piece of paper.

Lately, we’ve seen on the news, read about and experienced all sorts of natural disasters wreaking havoc across our planet.  And we are witnessing political games gone awry in our own and other counties.  Within ourselves and our families, there is hurt and uncertainty, growing pains, grief.

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In addition to what I do creatively, I turn to prayer. And I find that sometimes, writing down a prayer, a petition, a request to a Higher Power helps me to let go of where I feel powerless…that surrender to a higher wisdom with the greater good in mind. Surrender is rarely easy, but once I truly give something over, I do feel a lightening of sorts.

How to write your prayer? No one can tell you how to write your personal prayer. I won’t try…I’ll only invite you to write one that truly reflects who you are and what you feel, need and desire in these times–for yourself, others, the earth.

The Eagle is a prayer-poem written by Joy Harjo. I memorized this poem many years ago.  It begins:
“To pray, you open your whole self to the sky to the earth to the sun to the moon
to one whole voice that is you and know that there is more that you can’t see, can’t hear, can’t know except in moments steadily growing and languages that aren’t always sound but other circles of motion.”

Have a peaceful day.

Chronicles of C.G.

In school and ever after, I’ve been a note taker.  It seems that is my way to take in information and let it settle.  By writing it down, it becomes, somehow, my own.

Self-observation enables you to bring validity to what you write about.  You are the supreme noticer of your own life.

Several years ago, a friend wanted to improve her writing.  She took classes with me for one year.  In preparing the weekly lesson for her, I became a greater witness to my own daily experience.  With this self-witnessing, I could effectively guide her into her own process.

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Trust in the Morning

Crafting a writing lesson for my student
on What do poets write about
Up with the dawn and early morning thunder
which in my half-sleep state
I thought were train cars colliding
the train whistle blasting news
of the disaster
–cars derailing, toppling domino-style–
and it was too early for me to get up
and investigate
Reaching over to tap on my lamp
I saw the electricity was out
wandered to the back room
drawing the blinds, a flutter of light
over the horizon
followed by its companion thunder
I stood outside in the middle of the
deck as robust raindrops fell softly–
generously
I brought in wood for the fire
though it wasn’t cold
placed the kettle on the woodstove
ate a banana
logged the calories in my diet record
rekindled the fire–it took me two tries to get it going
I went back to bed with books, pen and paper
to plan her lesson

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WRITING PROMPT

Choose a part of your day and chronicle it.  Write for twenty to thirty minutes.  Write in any form that is comfortable for you–poetry, prose, essay, listing, whatever flows.

Read what you wrote aloud.

Have a lovely day whatever you do today.

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Shhh…Get Quiet Now

As you open the space for your writing practice, it helps to settle into a quieter place and to leave your day behind.
When I facilitate writing circles, we typically begin with a meditation.  I offer the following meditation to you as a way of grounding, centering and affirming what you are here to do–WRITE.

If you are able to record this, that would be perfect.  If not, read it aloud slowly and allow yourself to receive the benefits.  Afterwards, sit quietly for a few minutes and notice what surfaces for you.

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Sit comfortably.
Close your eyes or soften your gaze.
Focus on your breath.
The gentle in-breath, the gentle out-breath.
Sense your breath as it enters.
Sense your breath as it exits.
Enter into the expansion of the breath.
Enter into the contraction of the breath.
Nothing forced, easy and natural breathing.
The breath is your guide on a quiet quest for your muse.
The muse is the instigator of your inspiration and creativity.
You’ve encountered her before.
Today, she leads you down a path under the widely branching oak trees.
She seems to be a tease, but she has something to share with you.
She dances forward and back, around you and with you.
She twirls you until you’ve lost your sense of direction.
She giggles and you feel safe enough to laugh with her.
You feel you can trust her.
You know that what she has to share with you will enrich your life
if you fearlessly follow her.
And you do.
Today, her name is Calliope (the muse of heroic and epic poetry, of storytelling and fine speech).
Today her name is Clio (the muse of history and writing, the giver of fame).
Today her name is Erato, the muse of Eros, desire and the poetry of love).*
Today, she offers to be available to you.
Today, she guides your writing.
Sit quietly, engaging your muse.

(PAUSE for a few minutes.)

Thank your muse as you enter into the expansion and contraction of the breath.
Witness your breath as it enters and exits.
The gentle in-breath, the gentle out-breath which gradually returns you to the present time and your space.
Open your eyes when you feel ready.
****

WRITING PROMPT
Take ten minutes to write about where you figuratively went with this meditation.  That is, non-censored, first thought or train of thought writing.  Don’t stall.  If your writing wants to take a detour, trust it, follow it.

Quietly, reread what you wrote.  Then, read it aloud.  Notice how you feel about what you wrote.  OWN YOUR WORDS!

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*In reference to Angeles Arriens’s book, THE NINE MUSES–A MYTHOLOGICAL PATH TO CREATIVITY

Arrien says that “In Greek mythology, all nine Muses are divine forces in the form of women that guide us in the making and remaking of the human spirit and the world. Each one calls us to a path of creativity and a commitment to live an authentic life.”

WRITING TIP
Free-writing takes courage.  It’s like taking a plunge into a cold spring lake, following a dare or walking the high wire (not quite).  There are no rules to follow except to keep writing and trusting.  The critic–we all have one–gets to go on vacation during free-writes.

 

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