Friday, April 1, 2011

Writing 101...Part Two

It recently occurred to me that when I wrote the “Writing 101” post the other day, I stated that I would be sharing some of the exercises with you from my recent writing class.  Exercises, as in more than one…hey, I teach first grade, I know all about plurals! 

In an attempt to keep my word…as if anyone even cares…I crack myself up thinking that more than three people read this blog…I have this fantasy that, like, 10 people read it…I know, I know…that’s crazy talk! 

Anyhow, here is another (and final) exercise I wanted to share with you.

This one involves a poem.  I won’t put the poem here because, well, I don’t have the author’s permission, and well, I don’t want to, you know, get sued!  But, I will put the name of the poem and the author…I figure that’s no different than me calling you up and saying, “Hey, I read this great poem called such and such by so and so and I think you should check it out.” 

The poem is The Journey by Mary Oliver.  It’s a great poem, by the way, so whether or not you do this exercise I highly recommend you read it anyway.

Our instructor explained that she would read the poem to us two times.  The first time we were to close our eyes, relax, and just listen to it.  The second time we were to hone in on a line that spoke to us.  The assignment after the two readings (both with our eyes closed) was to spend 10 minutes writing about what moved us about the line we chose.  Ideally someone would read you the poem twice like our teacher did with us, but whatever…

The line I picked was “…determined to save the only life you could save…” and this is what I wrote:

This line reminds me of my dad’s justification for why he left my mom.  How many times had he said the following words to me…“It was too late for your sister.  She was already lost to me.  But you...I knew if I could get you out of that situation – I knew if I could somehow remove you from the chaos of her illness that you would be okay, you would not be lost to me like your sister is.  You would still have a shot at a decent life.  I worried I would be too late.  You were already becoming too reserved, too quiet, spending too much time in your head.  I could see your personality beginning to fade away…to disappear.  I knew the only way to save you would be to leave.  Yours was the only life I could save and I owed it to you to leave.  You didn’t want me to leave her.  You cried and cried and it broke my heart.  But I knew I would be a fool to stay.  You would have been lost if I had stayed and I wasn’t willing to sacrifice your life the way I had your sister’s.”

Okay, your turn now…have fun!

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