Category Archives: therapeutic writing

A Very Small Parcel

When I reread my last post, I got the sinking feeling that I’d allowed myself to commit the one blogging sin that I vowed never to commit: writing primarily about myself.  Way too many “I’s.”  Feeling slightly redeemed by having invited you to write in, I felt even more grateful that you shared such lovely anticipations.  When I started this blog, I made a promise to myself to try to write only what is worth reading, and for me that is all about what connects with others.  Because honestly, the details of a single person’s life are just not that interesting.  Too many bloggers forget this, and I semi-forgot it myself because I was feeling a little lazy.  And when we are lazy in life, it shows up in writing.  In fact, when we are lazy or distracted or just a tad too self-involved, it shows up everywhere.  As John Ruskin wrote, “A man wrapped up in himself makes a pretty small parcel.”  But then something wonderful came along and inspired me… Continue reading

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Filed under lent, therapeutic writing

Buried Treasure

On this beautiful sunny midwest morning (hey, do I sound like I’m from California??), I had the joy of speaking about therapeutic writing to a group of folks at Generations of Hope, a very cool multi-generational community.  At Generations of Hope,”children adopted from foster care find permanent and loving homes, as well as grandparents, playmates and an entire neighborhood designed to help them grow up in a secure and nurturing environment.”  This morning at Hope Meadows, we talked about writing, about how it needs compassion about self-permission in order to thrive.  Going through the world with an open and watchful heart really helps too.  And then they asked me the question everyone asks about ongoing writing which is, “How do I find time to do it?”  Here is the secret to answering this question…

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Filed under love, therapeutic writing, writing

Heart of the Month: The Poet in the Post Office

Happy May!  And welcome to a new once-a-month feature at From the Heart!  It’s called Heart of the Month.  Once a month, I will share a story of someone I’ve met, encountered or know that I think you’d like to know about too.  Today I invite you to join me in sending May’s Heart of the Month to a man named Ed Probst.  Here’s why.

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Your Worst Fears Come True/”Everything is Going to Be Alright”

Good writers seem to know a lot about neuroses.  Anne Lamott, for example, is so exactly right when she describes her students’ fears about being writers because she  is smart, observant, and has experienced them all herself: “[They] want to know why they feel so crazy when they sit down to work, why they have these wonderful ideas and then they sit down and write one sentence and see with horror that it is a bad one, and then every major form of mental illness from which they suffer surfaces, leaping out of the water like trout—the delusions, hypochondria, the grandiosity, the self-loathing, the inability to track one thought to completion, even the hand-washing fixation, the Howard Hughes germ phobias. And especially, the paranoia” (Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life).

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Filed under anxiety, courage, creativity, poetry, therapeutic writing

# of questions about creativity=many; answers=none

There ain’t no answer. There ain’t gonna be any answer. There never has been an answer.  That’s the answer.”  (Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946)

1. Is everyone creative?

2. Why does it feel wrong to say no and not quite right to say yes?

3. What is the difference between creating something and making something?

4. In Hebrew only God can create; humans make and God creates.  What does this mean?

5. Does being “creative” always involve restlessness?

6. If creativity a force, where does it come from and where does it go? 

7. Why does creativity seem so far away sometimes, and so close other times?

8. Is being creative a choice

9. Is not being creative a choice?

10. Why are we attracted to the idea of creative genius?

11. Why would having answers to these questions feel both comforting and dissatisfying at the same time?

Joyce Carol Oates wrote: “[Emily Dickinson] was not an alcoholic, she was not abusive, she was not neurotic.  Neurotic people who go through life make better copy, and people talk about them, tell anecdotes about them.  The quiet just do their work.”

12.  Oates means this to be normalizing, comforting, challenging the idea of the tortured artist.  But Emily, were you…sane?

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Filed under creativity, poetry, therapeutic writing