Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Writing Workshop

The Vermont writer Elayne Clift held a two hour writing workshop in the library on Saturday. Six people came. One man. (Usually there are no men at this sort of thing). It was fun. Nice to be among people instead of trees. We did a few writing exercises and then shared them by reading them aloud. Here is one of mine. The "prompt" (a phrase given by the teacher to be used within the writing) I chose was "beyond all this, the wish to be alone." The writing could be in any genre--essay, poem, prose.

In the mirror I smile at my gregarious self:
the laughters, the talks, the warmth of being with others,
the cups of tea or wine, the gathered dinners,
the music and dancing, the stories shared,
walks on the beach with the wind at our backs,
the taste of friendship, the taste of love.

Beyond all this, the wish to be alone,
ingrained by example, by DNA.
A gift from my father, reflected by my brother.
I could retreat to that cabin at roads end,
I could hibernate and pray and paint,
talking only to the cats, writing only on my blog,
that silent back and forth. In the mirror,
my lonely self, but okay, unconflicted, curious.

The punctuation and line breaks on this might change if I worked on it more. Want to give writing a try? Use the prompt above to write something: poem, prose, essay etc. Or here is another: "A sudden blow, the great wings beating still" or find your own prompt and post the results. I'll list a link to your post here.


Cynthia said...

Suki, I enjoyed your alone poem. I love the space created by a writer's workshop. Sometimes it's just the right amount of tension to create.I did go to another journal writing workshop where I produced so much the first day that I had a strong headache. The host explained that sometimes a lot is released through these type of experiences. I think your session was just about perfect. Not too long. Did the male writer share/participate? Sometimes when we create, like your make a mark, or the photo walks, we don't really feel alone. At least it's that way for me. When I'm stuck, I sometimes need to relate to people. Mostly, I am happy to be "alone" in the garden, among people on my morning commute, or at a table somewhere while I write with people all around. In my mind, I feel quiet and alone but connected. I like that feeling.
Thanks for sharing the prompt.

Rowena said...

A writing workshop. It sounds wonderful. I haven't been to a workshop in so many years. It would be a nice change from being isolated with a bunch of kids.

studio lolo said...

I really like what you wrote Suki. It seemed to be the perfect prompt for you.
I don't think I could read what I wrote out loud. I have a lot to say, but I don't think I could say it eloquently! Too bad, because I long to write.

kj said...

this is a good poem, suki, balancing the benefit of solitude with the cost of lonliness. we find our way one way or another...

for you here now, i have a feeling it's time to socialize!


Annie said...

Lovely poem and one I relate to. Loving to be with friends, but also needing to be alone, a lot!

Teri C said...

A wonderful piece of writing Suki. I did a writing workshop a few years ago and our prompt was 'chocolate' and I had a lot of fun with that.

Now you can write one with the other prompts. I find your thoughts so interesting.

Cris, Artist in Oregon said...

I can relate to this. As I like my alone time even with Con around. I like to be around people and alone too. Glad you enjoyed your class.

Starlene said...

I love the perfect contrast of your poem. It so beautifully captures the conflicting instincts of needing 'to love and be loved' and needing 'to be alone'.

Teri said...


As always, your poems open you up and bare yourself to others, and when others read them, like myself, somehow I imagine them all saying "I've felt like that before" but what makes you special is you put those feelings into words and that can only help you grow and learn. That is what I am finding about blogging, though I often wish I had more time because one thought brings up another and I could go on and on...

So glad the class was a nice change from the "woods" too

Anonymous said...

Hello, I have found your inspiring blog on the interview trail that reached me via 'a rambling rose'. You are now on my list of blogs to follow, not only because I love what you posted, but because I too am a writer, a bit of a loner - and a Libran. Ann from the UK.

"We were flying high, the storm
clouds almost upon us, indigo
in the north, where fierce
winds blow.
The sun almost set, we were
Flying the blanket of the dark
above sodden fields - a
sudden blow, the
great wings beating
still ..... the geese came
All of a gaggle, except one poor
bird, one solitary goose
On we purred, into the night."

That's my offering, Suki, to your prompt, created on screen so the line breaks may alter when posted. (They did when I previewed it).

Kim said...

Oh Suki, I love your writing so much. This is lovely to be sure. I wish I could express myself so beautifully with words. You give me a great deal to think about. While I am not confident in my creative writing skills to post something on my blog, I will sure give it a try in my journal.

Thanks Suki...keep writing, keep are amazing!

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

Suki, Amazing the amount one can glean from a two hour writing workshop...a jumpstart, heart opener, a writing muscle in action...all good. I think I will take on the prompt and see what happens...give me a day or so.
I read your sidebar and find it so revealing about where you are in mind and spirit.

sukipoet said...

Cynthia, thank you. I havent been writing much except my blog so this little workshop was so good for me to stimulate ideas. I did another writing during it that was not as focused as this, but that awakened a lot of ideas in me and a tweak of the urge to write more. Yes, all the 6 "students" read their work aloud. when I am doing long writings or when I am motivated and focused I like to write alone. However, this workshop sort of thing is great for a jump start as someone said and also just to be with others who love words and writing.

sukipoet said...

Rowena, exactly. A workshop like this does take us out of our "everyday" selves, immerse us in a group of people who as I said above love what we love. It is a nice respite from "real life."

sukipoet said...

Laurel, it was a perfect prompt for me. The teacher had written 4 prompts on the board and I went right to this one. laurel, I have taught many writing workshops to adults. I always give the option of not reading ones work aloud. There are often folks who don't want to and that's okay. However what often happens is they listen to everyone else reading and in the end often desire to read aloud their own work. It's interesting. Myself, I am a ham and love to read aloud.

sukipoet said...

kj, you are probably right. I need to fight my DNA proclivities and return to a community and friends.

Annie, even when I am at my most social, I am still alone a lot due to needing to be so. Up here though I am too much alone.

sukipoet said...

Teri, thanks. I hope I do continue to write. A writing workshop brings out a sort of intensity and I dont seem to have that drive in my daily life anymore, which I once did have, to write much.

Thanks Cris, I did enjoy it.

sukipoet said...

Starlene, thank you so much for your comments. Contrast is what came out of me, and also reflects a lot of what I am thinking about right now.

Thanks for your reflections Teri. Blogging actually seems to satisfy my need to express and write right now. Immediate sharing of the written word! So delicious.

soulbrush said...

what a good idea for you right now, to get out and experience this sort of inspirational 'push'. maybe just what you needed.
love what you wrote. thanks so much for your lovely and loving wishes for my new gd.

sukipoet said...

Welcome Ann from the UK. I love your poem. The images, wonderful. I like the way you used the line. I thought that a hard prompt. I will visit you soon. Be well, suki

sukipoet said...

Soulbrush, this was a good spurt of fun and energy. Blessings to you and the new little one here in the world of wonders.

~Babs said...

"The taste of friendship, the taste of love".
I like that.
So glad you went to the workshop,,and that you enjoyed it.
I believe you will always write,,,I feel that you have to,,in oder to be happy within yourself, right?
I too need a lot of solitude,,but like you, can only take so much,,,,then I must get out!

willow said...

Lovely poem, Suki. I like your last line, "In the mirror,
my lonely self, but okay, unconflicted, curious."

sukipoet said...

thanks Babs. I always think someday I'll find a balance between being in solitude and being with others but it doesnt seem to work that way. I used to write a good deal, but recently mainly my blog uses up my writing self.

thanks Willow.

Cestandrea said...

Suki, for me this is a wonderful piece of writing. I love the images it conjures in my head, I love the way it shows us the need to be alone versus the need to be with other humans:)
And I love the sentence: Nice to be among people instead of trees:)
Have a wonderful day

sukipoet said...

Thanks Andrea. I dont know how I got focused enough to write the poem but somehow it happened.

Dianne said...

Wow Suki, what a beautiful poem! You have a very special talent in the way you express yourself in words. You are so creative in everything you do.
Love Dianne x x

Anonymous said...