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Summer musings

This season, write yourself home in nature

By Carolyn Pogue


Summer is a beautiful time to head outside for some creative writing. Even if you're a new writer, I encourage you to take the plunge; no one will know your talents unless you show them. And if you’re a seasoned writer, come along, too.

My inspiration here comes from a writer who lived about 3,000 years ago. He wrote, “Ask the animals and they will teach you; the birds of the air, and they shall instruct you. Speak to the Earth and it shall teach you.” (Job 12: 7-8).

Come as you are — in your pajamas, in your bathing or birthday suit. Bring a couple of friends or family members if you like. All you need is a bit of quiet and your imagination. It's freefall writing, so you simply put your pen on the paper (or fingers on the keyboard) and write as fast as you can for about 10 minutes. You can edit later. Writing quickly opens the creative tap. Write a poem, essay, list, or the beginning of your novel or short story. Oh, and pick up a stone on your way to your patio, canoe or dock.

Exercise 1

Write yourself into this moment by describing how you are, mentally, physically and spiritually — any way you wish. How do you feel? Allow the writing to take you where it wants to go. Don't judge it.

Exercise 2

"Children of Earth" is a lovely expression and literally true. In The Body is the Hero, Ronald Glasser wrote: “The fluids in our bodies mimic the primeval seas in which we began. The concentrations of salts, of sodium, potassium and chloride in in bloodstreams, the cobalt, magnesium and zinc in our tissues are the same as those that existed in the earliest seas. . . . The carbon in our bones is the same carbon that forms the rocks of the oldest mountains. The molecules of sugar that flow through our bloodstream once flowed in the sap of now fossilized trees, while the nitrogen that binds our bones is the same nitrogen that binds the nitrates to the soil. Life has endured as long as it has because it is formed from substances as basic as the earth itself.”

Examine your rock or stone slowly. Consider the weight, temperature, texture and colours. Imagine its age. Then, write a dialogue between the two of you. Again, don't judge it. Let your imagination soar.

Exercise 3

Canadian singer Joni Mitchell famously wrote: “We are stardust, billion year old carbon, We are golden, caught in the devil's bargain and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden . . .”

In Stone for a Pillow, Madeleine L'Engle wrote: "If we look at the make up of the word disaster, we see dis, which means separation, and aster which means star. So, dis-aster is separation from the stars. Such separation is a disaster indeed. When we are separated from the stars, the sea, each other, we are in danger of being separated from [the Sacred].”

Write about a time when you felt grounded. What was the circumstance?

If you didn’t invite humans along on this creative adventure, read your pieces aloud to the loons or the trees. Otherwise, share with your company if you like.

Before heading back to "real life," maybe read the end of The Earth Charter. "Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life." Amen!


Author's photo
Carolyn Pogue is a Calgary author and longtime Observer contributor. For more information on Carolyn Pogue, visit www.carolynpogue.ca..
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