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Poem It Out Classroom

week 1: cultivating curiosity

liz lamoreux

a late winter observation: the crocus is always the first to sing

Today, I'm thinking about how writers see the world. How we look for clues and take mental notes and think things like, "I'm going to use this later," when in the midst of family drama or even grief. I'm thinking about how we say that we feel "called" to write and we talk about how we "need to write" even when we aren't writing.

For me, this call to write feels like a need to tell the stories of what I'm observing in my inner and outer worlds. It feels like something I must do, and when I don't do it, I know something is missing. (Even if this "missing" part sounds like a cliche, it really does describe a lot of my mid-20s when I wasn't writing very often but reading books about writing and wishing I was "a writer.") And when I am most honest about this calling, it really is about a need to feel less alone...to know I am not the only one...

Thoughts and observations that I have jotted down lately include everything from "How is it that I am becoming my mother?" to "Why are the crocuses always the first to bloom?" to "Standing at the edge of the sea feels like home but I am terrified of deep water and I really want to unpack that into a poem" to "What was the last word I said to her?" Sometimes the questions and observations force me to the blank page to try find my way to an answer or an understanding. Sometimes they push me until I realize I simply have to create space around the truth that I might never understand. Other times I write so that I won't forget or so I will somehow remember a piece of the past. 

One piece about my own writing is that I can be wordy and sometimes have a major case of explanationitis. Writing in lists or in shorter lines that feel like they might become a poem helps me to drill down to what I really want to uncover or understand or say. Which moves me to say that all of what I have written and will write in this post (and say in the video) could be drilled down to this phrase: Pay attention and tell the story.

Today, let's begin to connect (and reconnect) with this observer inside us who is curious about what she sees as she moves in the world. Let's make lists and ask questions and pay attention...

Today's Writing Prompt: Explore the World with Your Poet Self

video password = poeming

video URL if you need it (sometimes vimeo is funny when videos are private) = https://vimeo.com/39631690

In today's video, I share ideas about ways to let your curiosity guide you. I want you to imagine that you are a reporter with a little notebook and you're taking notes about what you see and feel and smell and taste and hear as you move through the world. Note the questions you have. Write them down. You can also use your camera to document your observations. However, I want to encourage you to be sure take notes with pen and paper.

The PDF linked below is a more specific explanation of this prompt in "assignment" form that you can print out and carry with you if you like. It gives you a place to begin if you want one.

Explore