From time to time I visit a blog called "The One Minute Writer" (I will give you a link in a minute! Read through this first, my loves!)
Usually I use it when I am stuck or can't think of anything to write.
On the blog there are both simple writing prompts and a timer. The point of the sight is simply to read the prompt and then write from it for sixty seconds. That is it.
I usually copy it into a notepad file, clean and clear of words and then I start to write, directly onto my keyboard.
My life-work since I returned (early) from my trip this Summer follows the theme of "Completion" and the struggles I have had, feeling as if my life has... for a lot of it... been literally and metaphorically "stillborn", especially since the birth/death of my daughter, Marlena.
She would be nineteen if she was alive. So yes, it has been a while.
A seemingly innocuous prompt appeared on my screen:
"Write about something you made as a child"
I clicked the timer and started writing. This is what came up.
When I was a child I tried to learn to sew.
Mom always finished my projects.
My speed, or lack thereof, frustrated her.
It made me feel not so very good, couldn't finish stuff, wasn't good enough or was too slow or whatever.
She would always scoop up my project and complete it HER way, which made me hesitate to start anything OR hesitate to put anything down.
I wanted to finish things my way.
Wow. This tells me a lot.
I was unprepared to discover how many people share similar stories from their lives – both as the child and as the parent. I have had similar occasions with my children. Thankfully I am conscious enough to stop much of the time, but when I cross the line the experience tickles my gut. I sometimes ignore the tickling and keep moving forward, anyway.
This simple, innocuous, one minute prompt engaged the memory.
My job is to continue to grow the memory with words so that it becomes more fleshy yet stays simple and precise enough to retain its grit and finds a place to land in the memory of readers.
Yesterday I wrote about calling the police and today I wrote about growth.
Here is what I said this time:
In what way have you grown the most in the last year?
I have grown as an artist. I have grown in my skills and grown in my listening.
I have grown as a mother.
I have grown as a traveler.
I have learned to be hungry and not have to rush in and take that hunger away. I have been more hungry this year than in many of the past years and - this is actually a good thing. Odd, it may sound odd, but it is empowering, too.
Creatively, my painting. Ohh, my wordlessness. (Funny for a writer to say that, but wordlessness is such a gift.)
Trusting the lack of words and leaning into it.
I have grown, that way.
It isn’t brilliant writing, necessarily – but it is a fruitful beginning, a just right seed.
Write, Write, Write!