"It's as if a great bird lives inside the stone of our days and since no sculptor can free it, it has to wait for the elements to wear us down, till it is free to fly." Mark Nepo

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Fear and Joy


Falling from a very high bridge, trapped in a car, no way out.
Seeing a Bald Eagle fly over my head as I stand by the river.
Losing my breath.
Spending time with a friend who gets it all.
Getting to the end of life with regrets about not loving or letting love in.
Hiking with Walt, the place in the hike when it stops being hard and become fluid, holy and life-giving.
It took too long for me to trust my heart.
Finding wildflowers I've never seen before at Catherine Creek among the ones that are old friends.
My body - that it will break down, quit, turn on me.
Toby's silly dog smile and 80 pound greeting driven by his red plume tail every single time he sees me.
Things will always be hard - I'll always see the shadows and not the light.
Pulling weeds, planting seeds, pruning runaway bushes.
Anger in all its forms.
Words that sing, dance, shout, paint, cry, laugh - my own or anyone else's.
Being wrong about God.
Time with my brothers.
Losing time with nothing to show.
On the road to new places, new people, new ways of being.
Not getting to experience adventures because I'm too tired, because it's too late.
Holding hands in the dark of a movie immersed in story, the fragrance of popcorn, and the solid sureness of my life partner.


I've been taking a class the last few weeks with Jennifer Springsteen of Portland Writers. I haven't posted anything here because we do our writing in class to prompts Jennifer provides, so it's all first draft work. A lot of my work from this class will eventually find its way into the new book. Last night, however, she gave us a different kind of prompt that was fun to do (all hers are) and revealing and magical. The writing above is the result of this prompt:

Number 1 -10, leaving room to write. List ten things in sentences or phrases that make you happy/give you joy. Turn the paper over, number 1-10, and list ten things in sentences or phrases that you're afraid of or that scare you. On a separate paper, starting with your first fear, copy what you wrote, alternating fear and joy statements. This works with any opposites and is apparently an effective way to work through blocks in writing. You might want to give it a try just for fun. I'd love it if you shared.

14 comments:

Catpriestess said...

I love "prompt's and yours was beautiful and whimsical. I hope you don't mind if I use it for the blog I belong too. Thank you for sharing this : )

M said...

I loved reading your list. It's something that I should probably try for myself...although the answers might be pretty scary, and revealing.

Love

Mark

Janna Qualman said...

The good news is, the shadow means there is light.

It's a great prompt.

Carrie Wilson Link said...

WHAT a great prompt, and what a great list! I caught on early to what was happening, and love the effect - so relatable, the yin and the yang!

Carrie Wilson Link said...

WHAT a great prompt, and what a great list! I caught on early to what was happening, and love the effect - so relatable, the yin and the yang!

She Writes said...

I might try this next week! Love the idea! And your results.

Lizzy said...

I'll have to try this, thank you.

Arti said...

Hi Deb,
Thanx for your encouraging comments.
And i will definitely try this..
-Arti

Wanda said...

I love your way with words.

Pam said...

An interesting exercise Deb. Out of curiosity I did this myself.With the ten things that make for personal happiness, it is good to know that with the loss of any one item, the others are there to compensate in the happiness stakes!The other side of the paper? Don't like to dwell on it too much.Takes a brave person to face those fears, I find more so as you get on a bit! Great post Deb, and fun.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

Do you find an exercise such as this very freeing? Offers the opportunity to put ourselves down and see what we're thinking. Often I'm surprised at what comes out. And sometimes I welcome the opportunity to not worry about my sentences all making sense, being put together well. Just my thoughts down.

Interesting exercise. Will try in my journal.

Anonymous said...
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patti said...

WOW! I will definitely use this for my writing classes. In fact, if you don't mind, I'd like to cut and paste it into a file.

After these edits are done, I'll give 'em a try.

sigh. Too bad these weren't "up" during my writer's block nightmare of last week!
I'll just blame you for all the drama, okay?

LOL
Blessings,
Patti

Kelly H-Y said...

What an amazing list ... and a fabulous writing exercise.