*if you look around, you’ll be amazed at what you see. There are muses everywhere.
Last week we looked into the body and breath for inspiration and deep paying attention. Out of this deep paying attention (practiced over and over again) we can create from a centered interesting place.
This week we will look outward at the world around us.
Remember that body scan we did? This is about a world scan. Really taking in what’s around us. I feel this especially is important to consider in our day and age when in any settling 90% of the people seem to be plugged not into their surroundings, but their iPhones! (we’ll talk about how to use our phones to plug into the actual world around us, vs. the virtual, later on)
It’s important to remember the tools we try in this workshop are presented as things to try….but then continue trying. If something resonates with you, work with it over time, as a practice. If you fall out of your practice, just hop back in when you’re ready. In mindfulness and creating, it’s about PRACTICE not PERFECT.
(As yoga teacher and writer Sharon Gannon says: “Through repetition the magic arises.”)
“…poetry is paying attention to life when all the world seems asleep to its beauties and truths…”
-John Geddes (and all writing! not just poetry)
“Pay attention. Be astonished. And tell about it. We’re soaked in distractions. The world didn’t have to be beautiful. We can and should think about that beauty and be grateful.”
Watch this video by poet CA Conrad. He’s been video-ing his surroundings, as poem prompts. This is a great place to begin our exploration.
Notice: were you able to simply watch? Or where you thinking “why am I watching this?” and analyzing the whole time? No judgement either way, just interesting to see. More of his work.
- Poets Billy Collins and Mary Oliver on using everyday life (even the “mundane” 🙂 in their work
- Notice how Nancy Krusoe uses setting (here, barns) to craft a whole world. Even seeing one cow might bring you to a story!
- Considering yourself in the surroundings. Poem by Mark Strand.
Let’s try CA’s (Soma)tic meditation writing instruction, with the above film:
Watch the film above again.
Take notes as quickly as you can for 15 minutes after viewing.
Type all your notes into one document and print it out.
For the week, carry it wherever you go and use a highlighter pen to find the words to shape your poem.
Send the poem my way!
Optional Writing Assignment
Use your iPhone for the week (or any camera you have) to take photos of interesting things around you. The idea is that by photographing, we can begin to train our minds to really notice and take in our surroundings.
At the end of the week, use one of the photos you’ve taken in your own environment as a writing prompt for a story, poem or essay (I can help you shape it later)
Buy or borrow a fashion magazine. Find a photo that strikes you, and use the image as a writing prompt for a story, poem or essay. In fashion, these spreads are called “stories” anyway, so it’s great to use them as visual inspiration for new written work!
Are there certain places that are YOUR places?
Tell me about your environment. What do you find inspirational, where you are, right now?
Sarah Herrington’s writing has appeared in the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Writer’s Digest and she was named a Poet to Watch by Oprah Magazine. She is the author of a collection of poetry, Always Moving (Bowery Books, 2011) and several nonfiction books, including Om Schooled (Addriya Press, 2012), and Essential Yoga (Fair Winds Press, 2013). In addition to writing, she is an advocate for mindfulness and creativity and is the founder and lead facilitator of OM Schooled Teacher Trainings. Sarah is a graduate of New York University’s English and Creative Writing programs and holds an MFA in Creative Writing through Lesley University. She is a grateful member of the Bowery Poetry Club community and has worked for Gotham Writers’ Workshop and Girls Write Now. She divides her time between New York and California.