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Saturday, 11 June 2005

Comments

Datta

You always inspire me. Here I am in Taos, USA and I find myself a lonely and isolated stay-at-home-mom who jumps when there is a knock on the door because I rarely see other people here.
I need to start a movie night and a writing group here.
I hope you find your undies soon!

shamash

Hey, Datta! Go for it. Start a writing group! Heaven knows there are more writers per capita in your town of Taos than any other town in the world (or was that "artists?} Whatever the case, I remember the first writing group I joined on the mountain: it was you and I and Ivy, the winter circle, and a woodstove. Weren't those the days? Then, there were so many other taosenos who I connected with through writing or writing groups.

I know how much your writing has inspired me: your honesty and lack of inhibition helped me to get over my fear of "writing down the bones". You were single, then, and unmarried, and we all had a lot more time to be artists. But, if you need inspiration, think of Anne Lamott and JK Rawlings (of the Harry Potter series)- both well-known writers who wrote their first books as they were raising a child. Plus, even if your goal isn't to publish, writing can be cathartic.

Tonight is a gathering of the first writing group to gather in my new house. I will light a candle in your honor, sending out good vibes to you in that enchanted desert-town.

Tish G

absolutely beautiful! I understand the HoD and Cholera references...also made me think of Duras' The Lover.

friends here, and I, are looking to put together a little writers' group so that we might have some support during our down-times. Being undisciplined, bohemian types, we tend to lose focus a bit when the pressure isn't on, so we feel it will work better if we pressure each other.

I'm looking to move at the moment myself. A friend who recently moved into her own home misses my proximity, and found a very pretty apartment for me a few blocks from her house. The question though becomes whether or not a bohemian with little credit and less income can convince a realtor to rent to her. It would, though, be nice to get out of my garret and have enough room for friends to visit.

shamash

Hey, Tish. I'll have to check out Duras' The Lover.

As for a writing groups: I've been a part of six in the past five years. One was a serious one, with deadlines and critiques. We self-published a small volume. The other five were based on the "writing practice" guidelines in Natalie Goldberg's bestseller Writing Down the Bones.

The basic scenerio is this: one member of the group throws out a topic, or poem, or line from a poem. Then she says, "Go". Then, in timed sessions of 10-20 minutes, everyone writes non-stop for the given time. Everyone's pen must keep moving. If you can't think of anything to write, you write "I can't think of anything to write" over and over again until you CAN think of something to write. Often, writers don't write on the topic; the topic is simply a springboard for getting to what we really want to write about. Then, when the session is over, without reading the piece to ourselves first, we read out entries to each other. If there's a piece that you feel is too personal, you say "pass."

The proces is simple, but it can be quite poweful. It's not unlike the personal "writing pages" in Julie Cameron's The Artist's Way. The main difference is that it's done in a group.

It's very important that each writer feels safe with the other members of the group. So, no new person is invited in without the agreement of all members of the group.

The one group I was a part of in Taos (originally started by Natalie Goldberg, and continues to this day) was the catalyst for three now-published books. Our writing group is mentioned in the acknowledgments.

According to Natalie, just like soccer players need soccer practice, writers need writing practice. So, showing up at the page on a regular basis is a discipline that reaps great rewards.

Plus, it's a hell of a lot of fun.

If you get a chance, check out Natalie's book. It's the one of the books I'm always sure to take with me, no matter what country I live in. And, as a teacher, I use some of her ideas in my writing classes.

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