Posts filed under ‘Imagination’

May 15 2017
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This is your brain on poetry

This is your brain on poetry

New York Magazine published an article on May 11 titled, “This is what happens to your brain when you read poetry,” and it’s fascinating. Writer Cody Delistraty breaks down the findings of a recent study at the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics which concludes that people probably experience poetry in a different way than they do other art. Researchers were looking for evidence that participants felt a “chill” while listening to poetry read out loud to them….

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Nov 20 2016
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Nature Inspires the Imagination

For most of my life, nature has fueled my imagination.  When I am stuck inside for too long, I get cranky.   In school I angled for the seat near the window, and 365 nights a year I sleep next to an open window.  When I cannot be outside, I bring the outside in:  jars of sand, bowls of rocks, winter twigs arranged in a pitcher. Therefore, it is no accident that when I write, the…

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Nov 13 2016
Comments Off on Imagination: The Writer’s Call

Imagination: The Writer’s Call

There is a mystery about sitting down to write, an alternate awareness, of a world where imagination and memory, and a mysterious knowing merge, indistinguishable.  A palette of our experience, and perhaps, if Carl Jung is right, the experience of everyone who’s ever lived. How did I know, for instance, when I wrote my story, “The Call of the Dove” (Cricket Magazine, volume 21, number 9, May 1994) how it felt to be a young…

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Feb 26 2015
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On second childhoods and manifestos, in life and writing

On second childhoods and manifestos, in life and writing

This week, one of my students misread “inner wild” as “inner child” for an assignment, and on realizing her “mistake,” declared the two to be one and the same. Last week, Elizabeth forwarded me a wonderful blog post by writer J.F. Booth about reclaiming one’s second childhood. Booth’s post is a manifesto of sorts, a gleeful “Declaration of Acceptance” of her place in life—“I’ve made it to the second half of my sixth decade,” she…

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Dec 23 2014
Comments Off on Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

Soulful writing prompts, prompted by Center retreat

This week’s guest blogger is Donnette Hill Walto. Donnette Hill Walto is a registered yoga instructor who’s been leading yoga classes worldwide for more than 15 years. She especially loves to guide women and girls as they discover connections between life on and off the yoga mat, empoweringing them to move into their futures with confidence and grace. Donnette is currently working on a novel which introduced itself to her accidentally many years ago, when she took Writing…

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Jul 05 2013
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Memoir Writing: the Deep Truth

Recently, the English writer Hilary Mantel wrote this about memoirs: “It’s hard for beginners to accept that unmediated truth often sounds unlikely and unconvincing.  If other people are to care about your life, art must intervene.  The writer has to negotiate with her memories, and with her reader, and find a way, without interrupting the flow, to caution that this cannot be a true record: this is a version, seen from a single viewpoint.  But…

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Apr 26 2013
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Journal Writing

In this excerpt from a letter to a student in her online class Writing for Children, Helena explains her journal writing practice. I write in my journal every morning.  It’s something I’ve practiced for almost 35 years, is a way I collect myself, commune with myself and, frankly, God.  All my hopes and dreams, my insights, all kinds of contemplation go into that pen-tip on paper. Looking back at them is not something I ever…

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Jan 11 2013
Comments Off on A Writer’s Homeland

A Writer’s Homeland

In his poem, “Boast of Quietness,” Jorge Luis Borges writes, “My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits, an old sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.” The writer, it seems to me, is one whose true homeland is the imagination.  And if that’s true, then whenever we’re caught up in other endeavors, we’re in exile, longing for home.  I know that’s how I feel when I’m not writing.  And…

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Jan 04 2013
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Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write?

As the new year begins, I invite you to reflect on why you write.  And don’t be ho-hum hum-drum — put some muscle into it!  That special muscle available to the writer called “imagination.” As a warm-up, please read the following, excerpted from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams. Dearest Deb: You asked me why I write…. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.  I write…

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Dec 07 2012
Comments Off on Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

“I don’t have any ideas.” “My mind is a blank.” I can’t think of anything to write about.” It seems as if almost everyone I’ve worked with has said something like this. Okay, I’ve said it, too. But here is the world, available to us in all kinds of dimensions, scales, emotions, colors, activities, histories and possibilities — and we can’t think of anything? A long time ago, my economics professor held up a book…

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Oct 19 2012
Comments Off on The Pains of Publication

The Pains of Publication

Recently I’ve had two pieces accepted for publication — I’ve mentioned these in other blogs.  (See September 14th and September 21st.) The word ‘publish’ means ‘to make public.’  Because we live in such a results-oriented culture, a writer can be seduced into thinking that the act of making the work public is the important thing, the critical thing, the thing without which a writer can’t go on, and the frustrations of not being able to…

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Sep 28 2012
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A New Language

how to write, tips on writing, nature and creativity

The seed of the botanical world has finally cracked open for me. I walk as though I were the first man on earth, taking slow steps, my eyes wide. I ask the names of everything I see, testing the patience of those around me, jotting this new language in pocket-sized notebooks: Marigold, begonia, pansy, violet, poppy, chive, iris, pansy, hollyhock, petunia, lilac, shasta daisy, cala lily. In the early spring, the tender shoots in a…

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Sep 07 2012
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Weaving Words

the words teach writers how to write

I’m taking a weaving class, and my teacher said something the other day I found illuminating for the writer’s life. She said that she never plans a project.  Instead, she goes into the store to see which yarns call out, “Take me home.”  Then she sits with them at home and lets them speak to her as she asks questions of them.  Are you soft and yielding, needing to be made into an airy shawl…

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Aug 31 2012
Comments Off on Writers Are What They Read

Writers Are What They Read

This is no new insight, but it does bear repeating:  if you aspire to write well, you must fill your mind with the very best writing. Nutrition provides a good metaphor.  If you want to be healthy, you must eat well.  You must put into your body only the best food. If you want your mind and imagination to remain healthy, you must feed it with the best writing you can find.  This is especially…

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