Writing Affirmation and Exercise
These affirmations are two of five essential affirmations suggested by Pat Schneider, a writing teacher/workshop leader with a unique and affirming approach.** For inspiration and the guide that will beat the block, banish fear, and help create lasting work, I highly recommend her book Writing Alone and with others.
A writing exercise recommended by her:
Write something that feels too huge, or too dangerous, to tell. Courage is not the special prerogative of those who have experienced some dramatic suffering.
In Japan, Schneider led a workshop and a young woman named C. Misa Sugiura wrote the following:
When I was little, people laughed at me and called me flatface. They pulled their eyes into slits and said, Me Chinese! and laughed.
I didn't know my face was flat so I went home and looked in the mirror to see, but all I saw was my face. It wasn't flat, was it?
And I wasn't Chinese, but I looked in the mirror anyway and my eyes looked like eyes. Didn't they?
So I went to school and said, I'm Japanese and my face is like yours, isn't it?
And they said, No. It isn't! It's flat like a pancake. Me Japanese pancake-face! And they laughed.
And I went home again and I looked in the mirror and I cried because they were right.
Sugiura attended elementary school in America where she was ridiculed by her classmates. This piece, about personal shame and internalizing the taunts of others as true, is something many of us experience; it can take courage to write something so personal. And yet, hers is not a complaint, instead, as Schneider writes, Misa reveals the mind of the child: she does not analyze, interpret, or argue. And it works!
So now, you take a turn writing something that feels huge, or too dangerous to tell. Dig deep, be daring. Once you are finished, don't judge it. Let it stand as is. It's your voice telling some piece of your own story. If you'd like a comment about what worked or was beautiful or what touched me (no critique, only affirmation of your creative voice), send it to me. If it's too deeply personal to submit as a blog comment, use my e-mail: email@example.com.
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