This month: Exploring Like Weasels
This week at The Cabin's FREE Monthly Drop-In Writing Workshop, we located our urgencies, listened to our bodies, noticed our surroundings, and used our writing, reading, discussion and actions to come up with instructions on how to live.
I’d like us to start today by writing, in list form, in free form, however works best for you, about what you’re urgent for. Warming up the mind/heart/body/spirit in this way, writing without stopping, and without a lot of talk or explanation, about what, right now, you’re urgent for, you’re lunging after, what gets you up in the morning, what is driving you right now. Essentially, what is your lifeblood made up of right now, how is it filling you and what is it charging you after?
What are you urgent for?
What are you lunging after?
What gets you up in the morning?
What drives you toward action right now?
Write for five minutes, keep your hand moving, don’t think, don’t edit, lose control.
How did that go? Let’s keep those urgencies and articulations swimming through our consciousness as we read Annie Dillard’s "Living Like Weasels". Any one read this before? See if you can read it with new eyes, a fresh mind. Pay attention to what you notice, what words or phrases stand out, what questions it brings up in you.
Full text of Annie Dillard's essay "Living Like Weasels" HERE.
What do you notice? What words and phrases stand out?
What questions does this piece bring up in you?
What does it make you see? Hear? Feel? Smell? Taste?
Where does it take you in your body?
What is it saying for you? What is urgent here?
Let’s get out of our cognitive/language brains a bit. I’d like you to explore, using your senses, as a weasel might explore. First, close your eyes. Deep breath in, out. In, out. Listen to your body, check into what it’s telling you.
After you open your eyes, now, in this room you're in, outside this room, outside this building – take 10, 15 minutes allowing yourself to wander, in a specific way. Be and observe. Notice your surroundings with animal fervency. As though your life depends on it, capture everything you can see, hear, feel, taste, smell. There is no hurry. I’ll call you back when it’s time. Go after what calls you, what compels you, what drives you, take everything in.
Now write down everything you noticed. Leave nothing out. Every detail. When you come upon a particularly juicy detail, go into deep specificity using all the senses.
Write for 10 minutes. Go.
Now, using everything we’ve written, read, discussed and observed today, write starting with the title: Instructions on How to Live.
This can take any form – poem, story, nonfiction, song, dramatic writing, text/image. In honor of national poetry month, maybe you want to take that form. In honor of cultivating creativity, you might choose to write something outside your comfort zone discipline.
Pull from the writing you did on what is urgent for you right now. Use your sensory observation writing. Take inspiration from Annie Dillard. Be wild. Break boundaries. Push past your comfort zone. Write your lifeblood on a page.
Go for about 15 minutes.
Find an outlet to share anything you’ve written today.
Or even how the experience went for you.
Consider when you look back over your writing from today, what do you hear in this? What is meaningful? What resonates?
Thank you for taking time out of your day to write with me.
My gratitude goes to all of you. Happy Friday!
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Process notes on a work in progress (me). This mostly contains raw rough content pulled out of practice notebooks. Occasional posts also invite you into the way I work, with intermittent notes on the hows and whys on the whats I make. Less often you may also find prompts and processes I've brought to workshops, as well as surveys that help me gather material for projects. Similar earlier posts from years ago can be found on: