Every morning I sit down to write. Sometimes it’s just to crank out what Julia Cameron (The Artist’s Way) calls morning pages – a strategy to prime the creative pump. But something deeper almost always emerges. There is magic in taking the time to describe a feeling or even a small impression.
Dr. John Gray (Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus) incorporates this process in a relationship building game. The woman asks the man what he likes or loves about her. Then the man asks her to do the same. Making the effort to search for the words causes us to use our pre-frontal cortex and our awareness expands around the subject. It’s also a great way to diffuse an argument.
I’m always looking for things to write about. It can be anything from a dream to a magazine article, a short story or a screenplay. Sometimes the writing begins in one form and takes on another. To a large degree, I believe writing is a means of discovering what it is we want to say. Such is the case with my cousin Heidi’s Christmas newsletter.
Ever year a cheery holiday card arrives in mid December with the family focused bulletin neatly tucked inside. I have long admired Heidi’s discipline for taking the time to write a mini-summary of her year and her persistence in keeping up the tradition. It always makes me feel that I matter enough to her to share in her memories. Thank you Heidi for all those newsletters!
My Uncle Bill (Heidi’s dad) was a colorful character. He was a square dance caller and a gifted writer. Although it was misplaced ages ago, I once read one of Uncle Bill’s short stories titled How I Quit Smoking. It was an ingenious tale of his romance with all things tobacco. He never did get around to telling how he quit. I guess it was realizing he was in love with the culture of smoking and its paraphernalia that cured him.
Writing creatively allows us to say all kinds of things without saying them directly at all. To me that’s the very best writing. Heidi’s habit of recapping her year in a newsletter has inspired me to write my own this year. Perhaps that can be the subject of my next post. Email, texting and blogging are great ways to communicate to groups but there’s nothing quite as warm and wonderful as receiving a handwritten letter.
The newsletter could also serve as a springboard for a larger work. Heidi’s have always been a chronological look back at the year’s highlights. Just as I wrote this my iPhone chimed and presented me with a photo montage of my year, assembled in short-form video with music. Kind of spooky, no?
What if the newsletter was the basis for a memoir or a screenplay? It could even include elements of a vision board, of what I want my life to be like in the next year. Oh the possibilities!
Until next time.