Tag Archives: Teri Blair

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.

mechanical pencil


image

Yes, that’s me. Looking up a word in an old Webster’s, way back in grade school. The whole scene feels vintage; the feel of my dad’s mechanical pencil, mom’s clunky white telephone and that enormous dictionary I lugged around our house, landing at the location of my homework station that particular day.

This picture reminds me of what writing used to feel like. It’s when we took time to find the right word with the correct spelling (vs. today’s ever present spellcheck), a thoughtful process which briefly took you from a busy family and everything surrounding you. Concentration needed. Multitasking not acceptable. Breath required.

It’s the reason why I’ve recently decided to make a conscious effort to place more energy into my own personal writing, beginning with my first writing class! During the month of March I will attend a three week writing practice and meditation class. The course, taught by local teacher Teri Blair, will focus on slowing down and becoming intentional in our lives and writing, no pressure attached. It honestly makes me a bit nervous sharing this decision. But now that it’s out there I promise to keep you abreast to my experiences throughout the class (if anyone would like to join, email teriwrites@yahoo.com).

I also signed up for a class this spring; Writing Your Baby’s Birth Story at Blooma, my sister’s yoga studio. This activity has been on my mind since giving birth to Bea. It’s a chance to relive the day our baby girl arrived into the world through my own memory and handwriting. The teacher Alisa Blackwood states, “The act of writing can help you process your labor experience, from the highs and lows, to the surprises, challenges, rewards, and funny or poignant moments.” I look forward to documenting this day before the details start to blend and eventually fade.

The Artist's Way

Lastly (yes, there is more) I am returning back to a morning writing ritual by following The Artist’s Way. Just to give you a brief history, two years ago when Nick and I were pondering the idea of creating a blog, my friend Jean suggested I pick up The Artist’s Way. For those unfamiliar, The Artist’s Way, written by Julia Cameron, is a book which teaches techniques and exercises to help people gain self-confidence by supporting their creative talents and skills. One of the two basic tools is the morning pages, a daily journal entry consisting of three pages of longhand writing, strictly stream-of-consciousness stuff. Yes, three pages each day. I gave this a go during my first trimester with Bea, but I was so darn tuckered out that it didn’t last too long. Now that I’m getting a little more rest, I feel the time has come to start fresh and bring the morning pages back into my life. Wish me luck people!!!

I certainly understand this entry is a bit self-centered. Apologies. My simple intention was to remind you fabulous readers (and writers) of the many resources available. The hope is for writing to be a natural, perhaps daily, part of your day. And for the mechanical pencil to not “bring me back” to younger years, but present ones instead.