photo by sean, © 2009
In commemoration of our Spring Emergence creative writing course which got off to a fine start last night—and in honor of the rising up of crocuses—I have just this morning updated the Mindful Living Guide banner with a cropped photograph which I took a week ago, yesterday. The crocuses immediately above were photographed last Saturday afternoon.
At one point in last night's class, after we had read aloud three nature poems (here's one of them, written by a Spring Emergence participant, but who had submitted this poem to me nearly two years ago), I asked each of the participants to write three 3-to-4-line poems, one on each of three words chosen from the word hoard which we had, as a class, gathered in going round the table, each of us adding a word which, without much prior thought, may have popped into our heads based upon my original prompt of spring as well as the words which followed. The class had about ten to fifteen minutes to write these brief poems which attempted to capture the essence of whatever words (and the underlying phenomenon which the words represented) each participant chose to write on.
The idea was for us to jump straight into the oft-forbidden territory of writing poetry, to crash through this boundary immediately after we had broken through the initial act of writing creatively, generally, by way of an initial ten-minute free writing session.
The results of these brief, intense writing sessions always astonish, always offer a fresh perspective on a particular phenomenon, and catch many a participant realizing that they can, indeed, capture truth via the written word. Folk who may never have thought of themselves as writers or creative persons, in a quarter of an hour, have ventured well beyond the "No Trespassing" sign by penning a few poems which can, as creative seeds sown, open wide the doors of further inspiration.
In short, we learn to play with words, to breathe fresh air into the way in which we consider things, to concern ourselves not with poetic structure but with catching hold of something which resonates within us. We don't realize it, but we're educating ourselves, literally, drawing our selves out of the oftentimes stale, sticky inner world and externalizing art onto the page.
We don't take this process seriously, we learn, instead, to nurture the unexpected, to give ourselves license to write, to share something with the wider world which may have resided, until now, strictly within. We enjoy ourselves, as well as the process as an end in itself.
By way of example, here are the three poems which I wrote last night in the allotted 10-to-15 minutes:
Oh you bright young beautiful things
Colored to the extreme
You come, make your debut appearance
And leave us so soon thereafter—
But not untouched.
Squishy, slimy, underfoot
You make the simplest step
So dangerous, you slow us down.
The rooks, of course,
Previously all a-scatter
Now paired up, preparing for spring.