The last two Saturdays, I have attended the Acadiana Wordlab, an open and free writer’s workshop. Last Saturday, the workshop was led by Jonathan Penton of the online journal, Unlikely Stories. Jonathan read a selection, then we wrote for about 20 minutes and shared our raw writing. Then did the process again. I like the way these workshops stretch me to write out of my comfort zone, to explore something new.
After hearing a selection from Philip Roth, I wrote the following using a line I heard.
Nothing, you say?
Nothing is never nothing.
It is always something.
Something isn’t anything.
It is always that one thing,
that one annoying aggravation that sends
you over the edge, so you say things,
so many things yelled out with no
grounds, no real sense of what
the thing really is.
Nothing sets us off quite like
all the way back in your childhood,
that one something
you couldn’t have,
but you knew it was never nothing
and it leads to everything.
This past Saturday, Diane Moore led the Wordlab exploration. Her first exercise asked us to reflect on two paintings of children from an orphanage in Haiti. These were powerful images that led to some deeply reflective and sad writing. Her second exercise included a funny story about her family’s trip across the Western U.S. in the 1940s. Her mother collected postcards from the trip, beautiful hand-painted watercolor on linen. This led to writings about travel and memories. Clare Martin wrote this post about seeing a winged monkey at Cypremort Point.
I plan to go back to the Acadiana Wordlab this weekend and explore more writing ideas. You never know where the muse is coming from…