Monday, January 21, 2013

Writing the Content of our Lives- Part 1

What meaning do we want to make as we write?
What message do we want to send?
What ideas do we want our readers to construct or discover as they read what we have written?

Today, as we continue to think about the four starting places for writing ideas,  we will consider how content (the meaning we want to make of our lives and the world around us) can be a source of writing ideas.

We understand our world through our senses—we see, we hear, we touch and smell and taste. We write to understand and make meaning of what our senses are telling and showing us, and how what we sense is making us feel.

We write to discover what we actually have to say.

Meaning may arise out of particular contexts in a flash!  Or meaning may be something we ponder for a while.

Leaving School  

In 2010 I retired from teaching after more than 35 years in public education.  In the context of anticipating my retirement, I took notes that year, detailing what I was leaving, what I imagined I would be gaining, the nature of transition, and  plans for activities and involvements in my next life.

I wrote several pieces –poems essays, lists, and narratives that never quite captured the meaning I was trying to make.  

Completely unplanned, three books fell into my hands-- books that happened to relate to my situation perfectly.  Each of these, in its own way, helped me name my feelings, fears and joys, and helped me to begin to make sense of the contradictions I was experiencing.

Leaving Church
Acedia and Me
The Third Chapter

Meanwhile, on paper I wrestled with new possibilities and tried on new lives. 
One way I  explored was to create a word cloud using Wordle to highlight the words that kept recurring in my writing.  

Another attempt to discover meaning in this transition resulted in the poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at Leaving School (See Writing the Content of our Lives- Part 2- the second part of this post,  to read the complete poem.)   
A multigenre essay entitled Leaving School still remains in a folder on my computer and every now and then I review and revise a small bit of it still trying to identify essential meanings.

 Although I have still not yet arrived at the ultimate core in this experience, I have learned much through my many attempts to capture it in writing.

 Content-- the meanings in our lives and in our world--can be a great  source of writing ideas.

Today’s Deeper Writing Possibility      

What experience are you pondering?
What world event or personal situation are you struggling to understand?
What meaning are you discovering?  
What is the message for you? For  others?

Write a poem (or other form) exploring these meanings. You may want to use Wallace Stevens's poem and my own (based on his) as a model to help you structure your ideas 
See Writing the Content of Our Lives- Part 2 to read both poems)

You may want to paste your resulting poem into Wordle to create a word cloud as another way to explore your ideas.

No comments:

Post a Comment