Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Wednesday Writing Workout: Untitled

As Carmela pointed out, it's only fitting that my final post should be a Wednesday Writing Workout, given my usual agony over finding appropriate material to share in this space.

My college semester begins on Monday, and I've been trolling the Internet for ideas to borrow and steal.  My chief goal this year is to get students more invested in what they're writing.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I've been reading Debbie Macomber's Once Upon a Time: Discovering Your Forever Story.  I was struck by her observation that the prevalent themes in her writing were set in her life from early childhood.  As a children's book writer, I can certainly say this is true for me.  In fact, I often worry that I have only a few stories to tell, and it is a relief to hear from such a prolific writer that there is hope for me. 

At a recent writers' conference, I heard bestselling author Sylvia Day tell the audience that the prevailing theme of everything that she writes is "survival."  When she put it this way, I immediately know that mine is identity.  Who am I?  Where is my place in this world?

Here is an exercise I found based on a George Ella Lyon poem titled "Where I'm From."  I think everything I might ever have to write about is touched upon somewhere in my responses.  Try it and, if you're so inclined, share what you come up with.  Happy writing!  --Jeanne Marie


Carmela Martino said...

This is a terrific "farewell WWW, JM." Thanks for sharing it, and for being a terrific TA! Good luck with your classes this fall.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

Thank you, Jeanne Marie, for sharing this terrific exercise!
I quickly Googled George Ella Lyon's poem to add to your shared exercise which I cut-and-pasted to create a document now entitled "Where I'm From."

Then I emailed it pronto to two of my writers needing to learn their characters' Back Stories (as well as their own).

I won't be alone in missing you.
Your posts brought our readers The Real World, as well as, sometimes, your beautiful, clever children.

I'll simply say, "Au revoir!" - and hope you'll return to share news of your newest book.

I now crown you our TAF - TeachingAuthorForever!

Your Fan Esther

Serene Lewis said...

Loved this exercise. Sharing what you inspired:
I am from afros and kaftans and peace symbols on a protest sign.
I am from the smell of homemade cookies, clean towels and the neighbor’s spilled beer.
I am from the freshly turned dirt, the broccoli patch
I am from expertly packed suitcases and pride and stubbornness, from Charlie and Alonzo and Pam, now Sarah.
I am from those who look ahead and look away.
From beauty and ability.
I am from an erased and redrawn Star of David. And erased, again.
I'm from rocky mountains, the share croppers fields, ham hocks and beans and McDonald’s.
From the temporarily disowned mother, the four-times divorced grandmother, and the Air Force-bound grandfathers.
I am from mantels and walls of mounted and framed photos and no where but “It’s all up here.”

Jill said...

Jeanne Marie, I'm going to miss your humor, your honesty, and your warmth. BEST of luck as you move on to other endeavors! Hugs.

Esther Hershenhorn said...

You loved the exercise, Serene.

I loved that you shared it's completion with us - and let us get to know you better.

Jeanne Marie Grunwell Ford said...

Serene, what a beautiful (and fascinating) poem! I would love to hear more of your story.

Esther, Jill, Carmela (and April and Mary Ann), I send eternal love and thanks.