Collecting the Wonder

Have you ever written down all the thoughts which come in and out of your mind at one, focused time? I’m speaking of a train of thought and not simply the day-to-day facts and details but a more free-form way of writing. This concept was a little foreign to me. Over my 30+ years of journal writing, my deep emotions came out much more in my younger years when I felt no boundaries or social politeness around my writing. I still feel expressive when I write these days but it’s more about what my mind is thinking vs. feeling. Which is was why I was thrilled last March to attend my first writing class.

Instructor Teri Blair led the small group and comfortably directed us to a writing practice somewhat free-form in style but with very specific directions taken from Writing Down the Bones by Natalie Goldberg; 1. Keep your hand moving, 2. Don’t cross out (edit as you write), 3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar, 4. Lose control, 5. Don’t think. Don’t get logical, and 6. Go for the jugular (don’t push away anything scary which comes up in your writing).

It took the entire first class to let go. Pausing and reflecting are common themes in my current writing practice, but not in this class. In short, after the three classes I had a (surprising) new confidence and trust in my writing. It made me want to write less about the present but even more about the past, recalling images and experiences. As a writer I hope to write more in the undirected, present moment while embracing my whole life. Uh, that’s a mouthful. Will keep you posted on how that all goes!

For you Twin Citians, Teri Blair is offering this class once again. Details for the Heat of the Summer Writing Practice: Four-week writing practice and meditation class taught in the tradition of Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. All levels welcome-including beginners!

  • Sundays from 5 – 7 p.m.  July 7, 14, 21, 28
  • Held at Learning Designs: 2822 W. 43rd St. Mpls  55410

Call or email for additional information and to register: 612-729-9555 or teriwrites@yahoo.com. Teri has studied writing with author Natalie Goldberg for eight years, four of those spent as Natalie’s assistant.  She has published several essays and poems, was awarded a grant to study at the Vermont Studio Center, and led a three-year poetry and meditation group in the Powderhorn neighborhood. Believe me, Teri is awesome.

Documenting the wandering mind isn’t just for adults. And now is the perfect time to direct those creative little minds! Activities in the summer be it camps, swim team, or family road trips, hold some of the best memories for me. Now that I am a mom, I see how plain-old down time with only your imagination is just as important in the warmer months when more time is at hand.

This idea from Mom Filter was a simple one, a dream journal for your kids. Summer provides more moments to dream, both day and night, and remember all that your mind creates on its own. Grab a small notebook the next time you walk into a drug store or Target and surprise your child with one of the greatest gifts you could give them…their mind.

Happy Fourth! Go write.

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