This was said in a joking manner by one of the women I was in a writing group with tonight. Having just shared a toast I had written (to myself), the implication was that I was a good writer and making her look bad. It was a nice ego boost after a long Monday. (Especially since I generally try to avoid sharing my writing because I find it “simple” and “dumb.”)
I’ve been writing a lot more lately – in large part due to a class I am taking on Fridays about therapeutic writing. Keeping a journal is actually part of my homework (how terrible!), but the class is also forcing me to stretch my writing skills. And that, in all honesty, is worth every penny of the $1100 this class is costing me. Each week, we take an hour of class to split into small groups and do a writing practice before coming back to the whole class. Last week, we did “found poetry” and blacked out words from a textbook page to create a poem. The week before, we wrote letters to our great, great granddaughters.
Which means that my journal isn’t met every day with a new hate-filled rant about how horrible I am and how worthless and how I will never make anything of myself. Sure, there are days where that is the main theme, or I spend three pages questioning why I bother living and how much more appealing suicide (by anorexia or quicker means) would be. But there are also prompts where I have acknowledge what I am bringing to this group of writers. Or where I have to write about a time I was proud of myself. Or a description of breakfast.
In expressive arts, we always say that the process is more important than the product. This has been a very hard concept for me to learn as someone who is somewhat perfectionistic and very goal-oriented. And because I am always focused on the product, I haven’t taken the time in over a decade to write creatively. It wasn’t “worth” it because it wasn’t processing and I wasn’t “getting better.” But I’m learning that even those seemingly off-topic prompts teach me a lot about who I am and how I interact with the world.
Now there is freedom in writing. I can write about anything and it is still a good use of time. It feels wonderful.
The world, as it were, is my proverbial oyster.
And, for fun, the poem that emerged in last week’s writing group. The page I took was from a textbook on legal and ethical issues in counseling. Poetry is everywhere, y’all.
a thousand collected lifetime cultures / you meet for the first time / there are more than two people / there are thousands / learn to hear / hear the other voices / exciting, essential inner voices / identity within context