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Writing exercises are a spring tonic

May 8, 2014

Our writing group has been so productive this year that we’ve had no time for writing exercises. But a weekend writing/yoga retreat at Swallow’s Bridge with Sandra Campbell and Monica Voss reminded me of how valuable these exercises can be.
Monica led eight participants in basic yoga exercises to help us relax and leave the city traffic behind. We began each morning with a walking meditation in the woods (where there was still snow!) Sandra led exercises that inspired memory and imagination and created raw material for us to use later. She used prompts like:

A gazebo of my own for one afternoon

A gazebo of my own for one afternoon

• I see
• I don’t see
• I wish I could see
• I remember
• I remember a zipper

We traced our bare feet and listened to Sandra reading Neruda’s “Your feet”,  Then we wrote responses to “someone loves my feet.”–my bunioned broken feet. Left foot big toe turning ever left.

Some of the exercises flowed. Some were challenging and frustrating. We each found a plant or object that intrigued us and tried to imagine what it loved, hated, longed for.… I had trouble personifying my cluster of burrs, but Sandra encouraged us to persist.

After a weekend of “letting go” and playing with words, I came away refreshed, inspired and full of ideas. My burr “poem” was terrible, but it gave me an idea for a story about hitchhiking. I wrote an outline for a memoir piece and created lists of phrases that will spark my memory and creativity later. The combination of yoga, the outdoors, poetry and time for reflection was indeed a spring tonic!

Monica and Sandra are offering a summer workshop on August 8-10 at the same lovely retreat! If you can’t wait, Sandra is leading a four-week, Revisioning Craft workshop in Toronto (June 7 to June 28) with Kelli Deeth.



One Comment leave one →
  1. May 9, 2014 8:43 pm

    Food for spring thought. Thanks, Val. I’ve worked with Kelli…she’s incisive without killing off budding creativity.

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