What Stays With You?

Today was the first class in our five-class workshop Regenerative Writing Wednesdays. The exercises and prompts are inspired by Pat Schneider's AWA method and always--yes, ALWAYS--yield amazing results.

Here's a little nugget from our two-hour guided writing session:

Last night I went through the apartment picking out things that can’t be thrown away (they are not broken or old or worthless) but they can’t be put away because they have no home. They are things like a pine cone painted by one of my children, probably the girl, since it’s painted purple. And a little blue sponge with a needle and thread. A cob of Indian corn that should be part of our Thanksgiving spread but really just sits on the counter all year long. A shot glass from another world, another time. Another country? Another boyfriend? I can’t remember. They probably should be thrown away but I can’t bear to add to the landfill out in the world which means they stay in the landfill inside my house.

So I bring them here to Regenerative Writing Wednesdays. They will be the prompt for a writing exercise in lieu of words. Writers sit around the table, eyeing a marble, a cork, a guitar pick.

There are stories behind each one. There are real stories that I can’t remember and the invented stories that will come forth over the next fifteen minutes between writing exercises.

When I look at the objects, I see emotional space around their histories. I remember not from where the paper yellow umbrella appeared but only that my daughter wants to keep it. Similarly, the fake dinosaur tooth came from a necklace that my youngest will never wear but will never part with, either.

The second time we sit around reflect on these objects I do remember: my brother and I bought that shot glass from Mexico. The umbrella came from a lemonade stand at the neighbor’s house.

We write. We reflect. We write some more. It’s a perilous journey from brain to blank page. And we are the shepherds for these vulnerable words. We make sure they find their way. We say, “You made it!”

Tomorrow I may look at these words, discard half and use the other half as a springboard to other ideas. These words will be honed, sculpted, shaped. They will have served their purpose as raw material.

And then we’ll come back and do it again.


This workshop is sold out, but stay tuned! We'll be offering more sessions in the spring and summer.