Monday, October 13, 2014
During a brief workshop in London a couple of weeks ago, some students and I got to an understanding that I have been mulling over for a long time, trying to articulate. Since this conversation, I have been discovering even more within it. To paraphrase the whole length of our exchange, the student and I eventually came to this conclusion:
Just because we can articulate something doesn't mean we understand it.
This is powerful for people who identify as "word people". I, for one, have not only valued in myself, but been valued for my ability to be articulate. I related to one student a story of an exchange I had with one of my brothers recently.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
One of the best ways to sink into a person's mind is via their space. Exploring landscape as both literal surrounding and also as a projection of mental experience is powerful.
The prompt for this writing was, in fact, landscape. In her response, the student brings us back fully to a place - and mental space - she waited to re-visit for many years now. A rich and raw writing, we can feel not just the sea but this particular stretch of it, and what the symbolism of space meant for the couple then - and for the re-visiting (literally and through writing) individual now.
She also addresses familiarity and home. My favorite lines include these: "The car is almost driving without me and ahead is why I’m here: the path through the cedar to the sea. Still there. The car knows where to park and my feet remember the trail." I know I am in good hands, along with someone who remembers the way even if not consciously.
Enjoy this student writing - anonymous to protect her past. Try writing yourself to a place of memory for you - landscapes are a powerful path into the past.
It’s the end of my last day in Tofino so I go to Chesterman Beach. Past the house—is that the house? Of course it looks different. Twenty-six years. Thirty years. So much time has passed. There seems to be a garage or guest house just inside the fence—but stop looking at the house! The car is almost driving without me and ahead is why I’m here: the path through the cedar to the sea. Still there. The car knows where to park and my feet remember the trail. A little mucky and still a tangle of roots and hemlock, salal along the sides. That smell of cedar and sea salt and the air is always a little wet with spray and you can hear the roar of surf from here. Surprised at the feeling of homecoming though this was never my home.