Themes, Ideas, Prompts, Triggers, Time Lines, Past Moments, My Mother Told Me, I remember
So we are in our journal, and we write and we write and we write. We write about vegetables growing, hangnails removed, the war in Baghdad, a sore throat, a secret wish. The important thing is to write. This is not being literary, but getting the stuff out on the page, a sort of verbal or vocal flow.
How on earth do we get in touch with our thoughts and feelings? We are not concerned with punctuating, crossing our t’s; barely do that anyway. This is not a confessional way, but just a way of writing. Writing like you talk is simple and natural. No literary sentences. Boy this is hard for the writer, believe you me, I wanted to show what a hot dog of a writer I was, all the while, waves of insecurity competed.
One way to locate your most urgent subjects is to ask yourself: Where is my heart breaking? Or what breaks my heart?
Make a list of the fears and concerns that keep you awake and night and interfere with your days. Think of your list as a prayer bead; finger one at a time; rather than including large sweeping topics like world hunger, abortion, nuclear disarmament, the disintegration of the family), name specific people, problems, fears, and issues. “I’m afraid my mother will die in a nursing home.” What if the biopsy is positive?
Time Lines, –
Where were you on 9/11
When Obama was elected?
If I could write about only one subject (or person, place event, or obsession) what could it be?
Ask yourself what noun would you want spoken on your skin your whole life through? Marc Doty-My Tattoo
Write down all the identities that describe you; cat lover, cook, hiker, military brat; keep going; include past identities; student,
Would you have been different with a different name; whom might you have married if you hadn’t driven to California!
I wish I could stop thinking about
In the dream last night, I
Nobody wants to hear about
I can’t possibly tell anyone that…
Write until the truth emerges;
What weather dominates your feelings; is it raining inside your mind; is it dry and hot; muggy and close; is there a storm cloud on the horizon; a tornado swirling toward you, an earthquake splitting the ground
If you were to paint your feelings, what colors would you use; what shapes; would you use; watercolors or oils; a small canvas or a large one; would you use a delicate brush, a palette knife or your own bare hands.
What music plays inside you; and are you what key; in what time signature; what instruments do you heart; maybe you’re the instrument playing the music.
What does your body want to do; does it want to crawl into a hole; pound its fist through a wall; float on a raft in the middle of the ocean, scream until its throat is raw, pack a suitcase, kiss a neighbor’s husband, drive as fast as it can.
Make a list of people Who have been important to you:
Alive or dead; young or old
Their impact on you; either good or bad
The age you were at…..
What about significant events;
A day I’ll never forget…
An experience that made a great impact on me…
My pulse quickened when …