Recently my friend and colleague Craig Child's
posted a beautiful piece on the excellent blog, The Last Word On Nothing" called "A Shooting, A Storyteller".
I urge you to go read it before continuing here.
When writing, sometimes it's easy to fall into "the zone" and sometimes the muse or whatever you want to call it, seems unreachable. I believe this is often true because we are terrified of what we want--what we need
In Craig's piece, he describes how his friend Everett told stories to a group of children on a family camping adventure, and reflects on why the children were so drawn to Everett in particular. "Perhaps they were so drawn to him because of his investment, not just spinning tales off the top of his head, but bringing them up from his soul," Craig writes.
I think this phrase, "bringing stories up from your soul" is a beautiful way to think about how to draw the muse out on challenging days. More than that, of how essential it is when we're telling stories, to allow ourselves to reach there in the first place.
As writers, we entertain, we provoke, we hopefully inspire thought. Those moments are most meaningful when the stories we've shared have come from deep within. When they've come from the most true place in us. These are the stories, as Craig puts it, that "hold us together."
This is my last entry for this season of Teachers Write. You've all inspired me and given me hope in countless ways this summer. But that doesn't mean it's time to put writing aside. Now is the time for you to carry this practice into your daily lives. Our words have held us together this summer, and they can continue to do so in spirit each time you sit down to write.
I wish I could share a talking rock with all of you before we move on, and provide a safe place for you to bring your story up from your soul. To encourage all of you to think about those stories you hold deep within, and how telling them in whatever fashion works best, will draw readers to you, and create community. And more than that, empathy. And more than that, love.
For your Monday Morning Warm-Up, I offer a challenge. This is meant as something to reflect on, and then something to write about privately, as least for now. Since this is deeply personal, I won't ask you to share, but perhaps let us know in the comments what the experience was like.
Monday Morning Warm-Up:
If you had a talking rock of your own, who would you like to sit on it with, and what would you like to say? Once you know that, I urge you to draw the story up from your soul. Draw it up and then, as Craig says, "Pull the plug, and let it drain out raw."
Note: I am away this week doing volunteer work for Habitat For Humanity and a housing group for women and children, so I may not be able to reply to comments until I return. I encourage you though, to have a meaningful discussion with each other, and comment on replies if you have the time. I will miss you all! Love, Jo