Thank you for checking into my “born-again” blog after taking a few years off from my last post.
Kris Guay is a poet/author friend (see her blog at Life With Teenagers) who invited me to post a blog about my own writing as a part of a networking “blog hop”. This involves posting a blog responding to a few questions about my own creative writing process and then forwarding the questions to a few friends. I have invited a few friends who use their blogs not only as writers, but as activists who contribute to helping others learn or grow forward in creative or inspirational ways within their community. Their names and links are mentioned at the end of this post.
I thank Kris Guay for this gentle nudge back into the world of the blog. My intention is to use these questions and responses to help launch forward a new plan for this blog to share observations and opportunities for individuals to engage in the art of writing and sharing poetry and stories with community.
What am I writing/working on?
My most recent work consists of three poems that were included in the online chapbook for April/June 2014 “Energy Necklace Project” inspired by an outdoor sculpture exhibit at the Jackson Homestead in Newton, Ma. (http://historicnewton.org/) I also write spoken-word stories and prose. I generally have my work published when invited. Sometimes I share my writing out loud at an open mic or poetry/story sharing session. Sometimes I have the good fortune to collaborate with guitarist Steve Rapson who composes beautiful music to accompany my words during performance. In these instances I get a sense of what poet Anne Sexton might have experienced making poetry musical when she performed her poetry with a rock band (directed by Acton poet/activist Bob Clawson) back in the 60s. I also have written a number of columns for local newspapers with topics that have focused on parenting, life review stories of Hopkinton residents, positive psychology in daily life and local news in literary arts and poetry/poet’s corner. Presently I am writing two columns titled “Wake Up To Your Life” and “Creativity Matters.”
I also help people with writing life-review stories and memoirs. I used to conduct life- review writing for hospice patients. More recently, I have done free-lance work at assisted living centers, nursing homes, recovery centers and spirituality/wellness centers where I help people identify, honor and share important life stories and lessons with one another. I have come to learn how this work is not only connected to art ,but also contributes to growing experiences for both individuals and communities that can offer experiences for accessing inner wisdom, creativity, life-awakening and transformation.
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I tend to write poetry and prose/stories for sharing aloud in the oral tradition at open mic settings, spoken-word performances, poetry and literary art readings. I also use my writing in workshops and presentations pertaining to my areas of work interest and experience with current focus on women’s issues, spirituality/well-being, life review work, healing arts and community arts. Reading what I write out loud in an open mic community is my favorite way of sharing my writing because it is more of a collective, community-minded way of both giving and receiving art with other artists, musicians and writers. I have especially learned so much from my dear friend and mentor Ellen Schmidt who not only is a talented singer-songwriter regularly performing her music for arts events, community programs, nursing home/rehab settings, etc but has also always worked tirelessly to provide so many good open mic experiences for singer-songwriters, spoken word artists and writers to gather and share their art.
Why do I write what I write?
I usually am inspired to write from the lessons I learn from life including the beauty and wonder of earth and nature, people’s stories, mystical questioning, wisdoms, celebrations, and other mysteries and epiphanies that life shows us when we are able and willing to notice. I especially like to focus on observations of common things in daily life to show their deeper contributions, value and purpose. I also enjoy writing with compassion, honesty and occasional humor about our human condition to remind myself that we will never be perfect, that we are always on a path of illumination and transformation and with that possibility… we always have the potential to hopefully continue growing forward individually and as a civilization.
How does my writing process work?
I get ideas and whole poems and stories when my mind is quiet and I can receive them without judgment from my more “civilized mind.” Like many writers, I often am surprised where the different words, ideas, and language comes from. These words and thoughts seem notably and mysteriously deeper than my daily ability to think and communicate. I have learned to trust and release and listen and write down when I receive inspiration for writing. Often I write the whole story or poem in one big burst of writing. I once wrote a three page poem in the bathroom at my yoga class in 5 minutes inspired by a terrific experience during yoga with my friend and teacher Mary Green! However, I can also sit down and write about most any topic in my realm of comprehension and be able to write a poem or passage in a 10 minute time frame. Of course there is editing…
I guess I love to write and I always have and writing is even more comfortable and familiar to me than spoken language. I like to think and at some level believe there are a 1,000 or so voices of my ancestors inside of me that also are writing and that animals and birds and trees and clouds are writing through me and that even the presence of God has the possibility of writing through me as well. I feel that I can never solely take the credit for what I write, it is more of an interconnected process of many voices which speak through my pen and paper… if I get out of the way and listen to what is deep inside. I believe that when I invite ego and expectations to step aside I can write from the creative, wise soul of myself and I believe others do this as well and those who don’t yet do so have the possibility.
My future blog plans:
This is what I plan to do with the start of my blog after a few years of “blogging-hiatus.” I would like to talk about the art of creative writing and what it does for individuals and community. I also plan to offer writing prompts out to those interested in finding the writer within or to help keep the writing momentum going which I believe can serve to keep us all more awakened and growing forward in our daily lives.
So if this is of interest to you stay tuned for upcoming blog posts and prompts on the art and act of awakening to life through creative writing!
Happily, finally submitting this blog submission, Cheryl Perreault
And now to pass on the baton…
Here are the names of three friends who are not only great writers whom I admire very much but also write blogs for community that I believe help to make the world a bit of a better place with their contributions.
Ji Hyang Padma is an author, poet, Zen teacher, intuitive, astrologist and offers Peruvian energy sessions, spiritual counseling and Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training and author of Living the Season: Zen Practices for Transformative Times. “I help people find their inner resources and reflect back the hope and wisdom I see within.” www.natural-wisdom.org.blogspot.com
Polly Brown is a poet, member of the Every Other Thursday poetry group and a newly retired teacher from Touchstone Community School in Grafton. Her first book of poetry, Each Thing Torn From Any Of Us wasrecently published by Finishing Line Press. She blogs about poetry pollybrownpoet.blogspot.com as well as progressive-minded education practices and ideas. http.www.ayeartothinkitover.com