Discover more from People + Bodies
Hi, loves. ✨
*Free for all* preview of Winter Creativity Camp
On this Thursday before the holidays threaten to run us all over, instead of sharing a poem and prompt with only paid subscribers, I wanted to give all of you a sneak peek of Winter Creativity Camp. Then you can see if it’s something you might want to join in on in January!
As all my students know, I am reallllllly not a goal-oriented person. Any sort of “let’s get better at this!” or “I promise you X result by Y time!” makes me uncomfortable. Of course I want to become a better writer and I want every writer I work with to “improve” (I have to put it in quotes), but as any writer knows, the only real way to do that is to read and write.
But Winter Creativity Camp isn’t (just) for, well, “writers.” It’s for anyone who wants to access some long-forgotten part of themselves. Anyone who wants to move out of their regular lane (mom/lawyer/business woman/doctor/family manager/therapist/teacher/etc.) for a few minutes a week and just…read a poem, and do a little reflecting and writing.
So here’s an example of how it works: Read the poem below by Laura Kasischke. What do you notice? This might be images, language, line breaks, stanza breaks. It might make you feel something — sadness, melancholy, joy, the fleeting nature of life and of childhood, of a particular phase of motherhood. It might confuse you: all okay. Read it a few times. Don’t worry too much about whether you like it or not; notice instead what grabs your attention.
Then I’ll give you a prompt. This is a technique from narrative medicine, in which you write “in the shadow of the text.” The prompt is never all that literal, so you just see where it takes you. Set a timer for 7 minutes. Write by hand, keep going until the buzzer goes off. You’re done. There is absolutely no way to do this wrong (or right?) so just play.
On the Instagram page, people often post and comment on each other’s work in the most loving and encouraging ways, but you can also just write for you.
Here we go:
Please by Laura Kasischke Stay in this world with me. There go the ships. The little buses. The sanctity, the subway. But let us stay. Every world has pain, I knew it when I brought you to this one. It’s true– the rain is never stopped by the children’s parade. Still I tell you, it weakens you after a while into love. The plastic cow, the plastic barn, The fat yellow pencil, the smell of paste. Oh, I knew it wasn’t perfect all along. Its tears and gravities. Its spaces and caves. As I know it again today crossing the street your hand in mine heads bowed in a driving rain.
Here’s your prompt: “Oh, I knew it wasn’t perfect all along.”
Here’s another one: Write about crossing a street, holding someone’s hand.
Write one, or write both! Don’t censor, just write.
That’s it! During Winter Creativity Camp you’ll get two of those a week, plus all sorts of other goodies: lives about writing, breakdowns of the poems, notes on how to give feedback, and more.
Please reach out with any questions about this. If this is something you want to sign up for, you can do so here. Once you are signed up, you need to request access on @abbyscreativitycamp on Instagram. It’s a private page, so whatever happens there, stays there. Join us.
PS: Since many of us are in serious holiday shopping mode, I wanted to remind you of all these amazing books, either out now or about to come out!
People + Bodies is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.