Writing Wings For You

Marie Lukasik Wallace ~ # I LIVE Poetry – I'm passionate about life and writing and all things creative and poetic!


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The Value of Run On & a Tribute to My Daddy

In my experience of writing, often the muse is elusive.   I do Poetry Therapy, which is healing through writing.  Our writing is on demand.   Talk about an elusive muse!   However, Natalie Goldberg, in “Writing Down the Bones” talks about the power of first thoughts and she encourages run-on sentences.  In my group work, it’s imperative to keep on, keep on writing, without critique, without the inner critic, getting to the first thoughts, the raw, ripe emotion of things.   In other words, it allows the writer to “get real.”

In honor of my dad, who has now left this earth for six months, a man, I was just getting to know, and didn’t get to say as much as I wanted to say, I decided to do a run-on.  (By the way, taking dictation for Alzheimer’s patients and asking them to just keep talking and not stopping works well too!)   Not only do I get first thoughts, but there is ‘Gold in them hills!”   I can always go back and underline what strikes me or my reader or has great emotion or provocative, intriguing language and rewrite from there.  Nothing is in stone!

Here goes my vulnerability:

I want to tell you daddy….

  •  That I started a garden with all your favorites:  tomatoes and cucumbers and green beans.  I have sunflowers too with big bulbous heads and radiant petals and some intense jalepeno peppers and onions with ruffious heads, so I can make your wonderful salsa.  You would love the spot…maximum sun spreading its goodness all over those plants.  It’s going to be a good crop daddy.
  • I want to tell you that last summer when we got lost and stopped at the Dairy Queen and slurped ice cream sundaes together to relieve ourselves of the hot sun and long car ride was one of my favorite memories.  I got to have you all to myself.  I don’t even ever remember a time I had you ALL to myself…and no one could call us and bother us…and no t.v. and no dogs or anything but you and me.   And I want to tell you that the other day I went to Dairy Queen just to spend time with your memory…it was most lovely.
  • And I want to tell you that I miss you terribly and that I want to call you all the time and tell you things…but I can’t…they say…just talk to his spirit…he can hear you…but it’s not the same…Joe preserved many of my tapes with you…that was nice…I can hear your voice now and again…and I want to say I’m so frustrated sometimes that our time was so short…we were just getting to  know each other and have great conversations…and now…well…you know…

This wasn’t great writing, but there are jewels in there and places I can write from that I want to explore or know more about.  The beautiful part of this journey is that I can keep practicing writing…I can keep working on my dad’s book..  This is also great for if you only have a few minutes.   I believe in the book “The Artist’s Way” Julia Cameron has writers do “morning pages” which is much the same thing.  And by the way, the TRIPLE ADDED BONUS is that it’s therapeutic too…no longer running around in my head.

Happy writing to you.  And may the power of run-ons forever be yours!

Marie


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When Writing isn’t Easy – Found Poems and Collaborative Poems

Because I do Poetry Therapy and because I teach writing to a variety of age groups, I know how real and scary this WRITING BEAST can be.  I know the reluctance of some of my writers to fill the page or the reluctance to even approach the page, even if they might enjoy writing.  So, I pull out my tips and tricks bag..

One thing I do before each genre in my classroom is model, model, model.  Do you know that students go through most of their school career without seeing an adult write?  And yet, they are suppose to perform so many different forms of writing.  If they’re a good researcher, then they get lucky.

In Poetry Therapy, we use poetry as an avenue to learn and discover things about ourselves and our world as we write.  We also get to try out various different poetic styles.  For me, this is just delightful!

Challenge:  In Poetry Therapy, I use a poem by e.e. cummings, “Love is a Place,” (I call it Yes is a World.)  If you could say yes to anything, big or small, what would it be?  Start small like your favorite things.  I say “Yes to icecream or reading a book wrapped in a blanket.”  or you can go deeper like, I say, “Yes to loving my family fiercely.”  or

Challenge:  Cut out one of the strongest lines from about 7-10 of your favorite poems.   Play with them and arrange them until you find how they flow together for you.  Enjoy the journey!

Alternate challenge:  You could also do this with your favorite blogs/bloggers.  (If you publish, ask their permission.)

A

Tomorrow, I will do a post through young poets’ eyes. You will be amazed how our adult eyes have been veiled by so many things that are pure and beautiful.


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When you get STUCK!!! – a Writer’s Tools

Ever had those days when you get stuck?  I don’t mean a little stuck.  I mean SHUT DOWN everything kind of stuck.  Well it happened to me.  No matter what I tried, a paragraph, an article,  rewriting already written pieces!  Nothing would help.  I decided to take out one of my Poetry tools, and just play.  My work, teaching, sometimes keeps me in left brain so much, I forget to jump to the right brain and just play,                               And who doesn’t love to play?

Since I’ve been writing my dad’s story, I decided to at least try a tool that might assist me toward this goal.  So, I made Alzheimer’s a character.  Weird, right?  It was glorious!   I used a poetry technique called Personification.   What would Alzheimer’s house look like?  What kind of car would it drive?  What would it’s clothes and shoes be like?   That’s only the start and pretty easy to fill out a list type of thing.  Lists become handy when you’re stuck, but this made me a more targeted list.

But where things get really juicy is going deeper.   How do I get to the heart and soul of Alzheimer’s and showcase the role it plays in people’s lives, both bad and good?   I begin to write down Alzheimer’s “friends” and “enemies.”    Once I know who Alzheimer’s friends are, I am naming out loud what parts hurt and what role they play in my life-word thief,  relationship thief, sadness, depression, scatterbrained and scarcity, locked vault.  Then, as I name Alzheimer’s enemies, I get to name what parts I am missing in my life, so I can name my loss and again renew the process of healing-  happiness, peace of mind, abundance, HOPE.

And even deeper – EVERY CHARACTER HAS A REDEEMING QUALITY –

Just like anything in life, there are two sides to every story, even Alzheimer’s.  Though it’s a terribly rotten disease that robs loved ones of many precious events, it still offers gifts.  So what is Alzheimer’s redeeming quality?  CHERISH –  It reminds me that every day is precious and to hold on and linger with every moment I have with my dad.  I MAKE MY CONVERSATIONS WITH MY DAD COUNT!  I record each conversation, even the little ones.  I want to remember my dad saying I love you.  I want to remember the silly sayings and funny voices he uses to greet me each day.  I want to remember that this vaulted man took a chance on ME.  He is trusting me with his precious life books.  He is trusting me to hold on to those stories that in sometimes day to day life are elusive to him.  He, like all of us, wants to be understood before it’s too late.  If I didn’t cherish the time I had with my dad, I might have lost out on learning who he really is.  Without this time, I might not have really honored and treasured that precious laugh and sense of humor.   I am blessed in this moment.