And in This Moment I am… Happy

May 30, 2009 § 2 Comments

This song is… perfection.

I heard it earlier this week while driving to the Gila and it made me happy.  Just listen to the lyrics.  It reminds me of the time when I was a junior in college and my professor threw the books away.

This is what happened.  Our class had just finished a story project and handed it in to our professor who was going to a writing workshop somewhere.  She took the stories to grade on the plane while we stayed behind and worked on our next story assignment.  The professor returned the following week completely enlightened.  She informed us that she had discovered a new way of writing and that our stories that she had just graded were a complete disappointment to this “method,” as she called it.  Previously we had been very “by the book” with our writing exercises; this was no longer acceptable.  After a little bit of discussion, she said, “That’s it, I am starting this class over.”  And she walked out of the room with her books in hand.  A few moments later, she re-emerged, throwing her books in the air and exclaiming “I’m throwing the books away!”  So we did.  We never went back to the books, and we began practice of The Method.

The Method is a writing exercise in which you do not think, you just write.  To help get us in the mindset, our professor read us this poem.

You’re sitting here with us, but you’re also out walking
in a field at dawn. You are yourself
the animal we hunt when you come with us on the hunt.
You’re in your body like a plant is solid in the ground,
yet you’re wind. You’re the diver’s clothes
lying empty on the beach. You’re the fish.

In the ocean are many bright strands
and many dark strands like veins that are seen
when a wing is lifted up.
Your hidden self is blood in those, those veins
that are lute strings that make ocean music,
not the sad edge of surf, but the sound of no shore.

— Rumi


Then to help get us started with our writing, we were asked to use this formula:

I am…  You are…  We are here because… The worst thing in my life right now is…

From this formula, you can either draw on a memory or create a fictional story from it.  Personally, I think it’s easier to start off using memories because they require less effort and “thought.”  Remember, thinking is not allowed.  It is supposed to come from some place inside you, outside the realm of thoughts and ideas.  This is really difficult, and takes a while to master.  I’m not sure if I ever did, or if anyone in the class ever did.  For a while, I even decided it was stupid and I went “anti-method,” but every time I hear songs like this one, I can’t help but think that they are using the method, and they are using it beautifully.  Maybe they don’t even know it.  That’s probably the best way.  Because then you aren’t thinking about trying not to think.  You’re just writing.  And that’s the way it’s supposed to be.

From this I’ve decided that I’m going to use this concept a little more in my blogging.  I’ve realized that sometimes I think too hard about what I’m writing, and that people seem to like what I write better when I’m not trying so hard.  Take my last post.  I honestly thought it was a bunch of crap, but people seemed to like it.  And writing is nothing if it is not for an audience.

I won’t be using the method in here, because that form of writing is not for an audience.  It is something very personal.  But what’s the point of writing it then, you may ask?  My response is this.  Just because no one will be reading the original thing you wrote, does not mean there will not be later versions that will be read by a future audience. There is also an editing process in which you get into the same mindset that you were in when you first wrote whatever you are editing.  Go through it and cross out anything that is too “think-y.”  You can do this ten or a million times.  It’s up to you.  But eventually you’ll come up with something very different from what you first wrote, and that is when it is time to let other people read it.

If you’d like to try this, here are the rules:

1. Don’t think, just write

2.  Try to write first thing in the morning when your mind is not bogged down by thoughts of the day.

3. You are not allowed to type on a computer.  Everything has to be written out by hand, in ALL CAPS.  On paper with no lines.  And write very slowly.  This makes you focus on the formation of the letters instead of on what you are writing.  Some people even paint their letters.

4.  Set a timer and write for 10 mintues.  You can work your way up to longer amounts of time as you get better at it.

5.  DO NOT think about the timer while you are writing.  Just let it go and stop writing when it goes off.  Don’t try to finish a thought after the timer has gone off.  You are not supposed to be having thoughts!

6.  Be patient!  This is not easy.

7.  Have fun!

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§ 2 Responses to And in This Moment I am… Happy

  • Camille says:

    I’ve heard of very “chi” stuff like this before, and I’ve always been intrigued by it. Maybe I’ll have to give it a shot! (I dream about my professors throwing the books away. Someday maybe I’ll get a cool one…)

  • samm says:

    Agreed, ‘Wish you were here’ is pretty close to being a perfect song. My wife loves the lyric about the ocean oand diamonds, and its been one of my favourites from the first time I heard it

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