The Practice of Creativity

Posts Tagged ‘family

I’m sharing more about the magic of the AROHO writing retreat that happened almost one month ago. In the afternoons during the AROHO writing retreat, participants got to hear various writers discuss and riff off of the touchstone books thematically guiding the retreat: Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior. The Woman Warrior at its core is about mother and daughter relationships and secrets. The presenters provided insights, read creative work, shared scholarly essays, tributes and everything in between when talking about these two texts. One of the speakers was Tania Pryputniewicz, a poet, who also writes a lot about motherhood and the creative process. She shared with us an incredibly powerful exercise designed to help us reflect on the nature of the secrets our mothers kept and secrets we’ve kept from them. I am re-blogging her wonderful post where she elaborates on her relationship to The Woman Warrior and shares this exercise in full. She is also calling for guests posts based on her exercise.

Mothers and Daughters: Secret Catharsis in Woman Warrior (and a Secret Door Writing Exercise for You)

 “You must not tell anyone,” my mother said, “what I am about to tell you.” So opens Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior, from the first section of the book, titled, “No Name Woman.” So begins the re-telling of a family secret, where the story of the No Name Aunt moves out to haunt a much wider audience of mothers and daughters. The irony is not lost on us that the narrator, at the outset, in sentence one, is engaged in the act of disobeying her mother.

La Posada Door Robyn Beattie

Many of us would agree that mother/daughter relationships are at one time or another fraught with complicated emotional, psychological narratives and emotional withholdings. But these same complications often come with hidden gifts.

read the full post here

 

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For the last ten days, I have been spending time with family and friends in WI and MN. Most of the time I was in remote places with no wi-fi or cellphone reception. It felt great to rest, rejuvenate and look up at the stars each night. Summer vacations encourage us to expand and try new things. I tried paddle boarding for the first time and loved it! On a vacation without access to wi-fi, I find that I come up with completely fresh ideas. I often create my own writing prompts based on pictures that I take while on vacation. I set the timer for ten minutes and begin freewriting. Writing to a visual prompt is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

Here are some fun prompts for you to try. You may use them to flesh out an existing set of characters, or you might find yourself writing something completely unexpected! Enjoy!

 

What is at the bottom of this lake?  What object is at the bottom of this lake? What childhood memories does your character have from visiting this lake? There has been an accident here. How does it affect the POV character and community? What do people remember about the accident? There is a cabin that the POV character passes and imagines was a place they lived. What does this cabin look like? Why is it so appealing to the POV character? What life do they wish they had that the cabin symbolizes?

What is at the bottom of this lake?
What object is at the bottom of this lake?
What childhood memories does your character have from visiting this lake?
There has been an accident here. How does it affect the POV character and community? What do people remember about the accident?
There is a cabin that the POV character passes and imagines was a place they lived. What does this cabin look like? Why is it so appealing to the POV character? What life do they wish they had that the cabin symbolizes?

Someone picked this flower from the lake. Who picked it? Who is it for? What happened right after this flower was given to the intended person? Did the giver and receiver run off to make love? Did the receiver put it down and begin to make breakfast, leaving the giver feeling slighted?

Someone picked this flower from the lake. Who picked it? Who is it for?
What happened right after this flower was given to the intended person? Did the giver and receiver run off to make love? Did the receiver put it down and begin to make breakfast, leaving the giver feeling slighted?

Your POV character is playing the game Risk with some family members and is losing badly. How does he or she respond to losing? Does a sibling use this moment as an opportunity to talk about their childhoods? How does your POV character respond to the story the sibling spins?

Your POV character is playing the game Risk with some family members and is losing badly. How does he or she respond to losing? Does a sibling use this moment as an opportunity to talk about their childhoods? How does your POV character respond to the story the sibling spins?

This is a meal served in an Ethiopian restaurant. Usually, the meal is shared. Your POV character is someone who does not like to share food (they didn't choose this restaurant). But, they are also meeting someone they consider important. How does your POV character act in this situation?

This is a meal served in an Ethiopian restaurant. Usually, the meal is shared. Your POV character is someone who does not like to share food (they didn’t choose this restaurant). But, they are also meeting someone they consider important. How does your POV character act in this situation?

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The clerk that made this sign feels like her creativity is not being used well. Today, she will meet a man that will offer her something that will change the course of her life. Who is the man? What does he have for the clerk?


Michele Tracy Berger

Michele Tracy Berger

Author, Academic, Creativity Expert I'm an award winning writer.

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