Saturday, April 11, 2009

WORDS


Saturday, April 11, 2009 words
To my friends, some of whom have followed me in this exercise of discipline I imposed upon myself in honor of Lent, which most calendars indicate ends today:
I have been doing what began as Object Writing for many years now. It was suggested to me and a very dear cluster of songwriting friends one summer night on our back deck. Pat Pattison, the head of the Berklee College of Music’s Songwriting Department, had come to Utah to lead a workshop on lyric writing. He stayed at our house, a few times in fact, for various Utah seminars. Pat has a PhD in Philosophy from Notre Dame and our teenage boy and his buddies loved sitting at the table with him discussing the universe and all that mattered in it. We songwriters in earnest loved learning what he knew about good writing. So when we gathered at our house for our monthly songwriters circle, known as Saltwerks, Pat taught us to do Object Writing. Here are the rules, as I interpreted them and as I now teach them in my own lyric writing classes:
OBJECT WRITING
1. Be still
2. Choose an object, any noun (grapefruit, car, slippers, New Jersey, etc.)
3. Set a timer if possible. If not, ask someone to time you for ten minutes.
4. Make yourself aware for the seven senses:
Sight
Sound
Taste
Smell
Touch
Time (of day, year, season, century, etc)
Kinesthetic sense (sense of placement in space, or of motion)
5. Write the object on the top of your paper and begin writing, being aware of the senses and how they interpret the object
6. STOP when ten minutes is up. Limiting your time will make you more likely to exercise again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next.
7. Keep your object writing in one place, and be sure to date each one.

I have volumes of OW words, which one year I compiled for my mother for Mother’s Day. She loved that gift. The writing I have been doing for this Lenten exercise has been a little different. First of all, it takes me a lot longer than 10 minutes. Believe me. It does not just fall out like water. But I also do not do much editing, if any. The editor is not invited to these kinds of rehearsals. I have purposefully allowed my mind to go to places of memory and experience in these recent daily writings. I have wanted this sacrifice of my “comfort” (ie-not writing when I don’t feel like it…pretty much most of the time!) to create something that is good for me, if for no one else. I committed to use words from the Internet’s Random Word Generator and not just write what I felt like writing about, as I would normally do in a blog post. The requirement I put upon myself to write even when a word was not particularly inspiring to me has been good for me. What I have discovered is that the most random of words will eventually lead us to more serious, sometimes funny, and almost always meaningful thoughts.
I am a lover of words. Not in the academic way per se. I love them because they were designed to connect us with one another. We can speak volumes in silence, for sure. But we can also say so much with letters strung together. I love to write songs. I love to sing and play songs. But most of all, I love the power of words to communicate. I learned long ago that the more specific we become in our writing, talking about particulars and not in generalizations, the more universal the emotion can be. People will tell me they did not have a Blue Pontiac Station Wagon when they were small, but they absolutely understand and feel their own travels when they hear Pontiac Rocket. My writing these past 40+ days has been likely a little too specific to my life for some people. Maybe a little too personal. But I have thanked the Lord for making me the kind of person who is willing to expose my heart to anyone willing to look. It is a risky thing. Risky, and wonderful. Everybody gets the same me.
I will miss the regularity of communicating, even when no one reads but me. I will NOT miss being dead tired at 1:00 am and realizing I cannot go to bed until I have done my Word of the Day. I will continue writing, for myself mostly, with an occasional posting on this blog. So check back. And be sure to say Hi.
Finally, today, Holy Saturday, we prepare for the most blessed of all days: Easter Sunday. I am stirred to tears at the beauty of belief, and grateful that I have not had to squeeze the willingness to believe into a doubting soul. It comes naturally to me. Not that I never have doubts or questions. But there are a few absolutes that have never shifted from the core of my being. One of them is complete confidence that all mankind is saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. He saves even those who do not believe him, who don’t care to know him. How loving is that?
I pray that the tiny speck that is my life, in the grand portrait of his influence, will have place in the light instead of the shadows, though I understand the need for shadow in portraiture. I hope that anyone will know, after reading more than forty daily random writings, that I am a Christian. I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, sister and friend. I am a grandmother and a teacher. I am a student. And I am a believer.
A blessed Easter to all. Thanks for walking this road with me.

8 comments:

  1. Thank you for allowing us to read your personal thoughts and memories. I loved each one.

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  2. Cori,
    I am Tiffany, Tatiana's sister and have been reading your blog with such enjoyment for the last several weeks. Each post has brought either laughter, tears or tender memories and sometimes a mixture of them all. Thank you for sharing yourself with me, a total stranger. I'm a little sad that your exercise is over. The anticipation of looking for each day's post was a treat. Thank you again. It has been a sweet way to help me prepare for Easter. Happy Easter to you and yours Cori.

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  3. way to go cor. you did it! and i loved every minute of it. thanks for being you and for being so fabulous. i love you! happy easter.

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  4. wow - congratulations on a job well done. it is finished and you can be proud. we are the lucky ones. thank you for sharing your time, heart and your soul.

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  5. Cori,
    Lent has a whole new meaning to me. My name is Nolene. I am Tatiana's and Tiffany's mom. I, too, have been devouring the beautiful writing of your Lent offering. What will we do now as we attempt to begin a new day without your touching, thought provoking and elegant words? I think it will be like giving up a morning cup of coffee if one were a coffee drinker.
    Thank you for all you have shared...your talent, time and effort but most especially your personal experiences, observations, feelings and beliefs. Have you considered publishing this collection or one like it? I'd buy it and give one to everyone I love! Thank you!!!

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  6. For me these 40 days have been an education in writing. Thank you for explaining your process today. I have copied your points and will put it to good use. The wonderful thing about your musings are that even though none of us experienced the specific event you wrote about we all have had similar emotions or something close happen to us. I have an entire list of memories you resurrected in my mind. Thanks again, it has been a joy.

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  8. Mama Blogger said...
    I am speechless. I am without sufficient WORDS to describe how much I have loved reading your words. You are one of the most incredible people and writers in the world. Truly you are a friend and sister to me. I feel it when I read your words. I think everyone does. You have a gift. You share it with others. You are an incredible DISCIPLINED person. Amen to the comments previously written. It has brought pure delight into my life to read your words. I wish it didn't have to end. I will check in and hope for more inspiration. Amazing.

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