Writing at The Purple Table
I recently offered Writing at The Purple Table on two consecutive Saturday mornings. Since the groups are free and limited to eight, this gave a few more people an opportunity to attend. If you’ve never participated but you’re curious about the Discovery Writing class and the listening-writing process, here are my notes outlining what we did.
I like to begin each group with a simple centering. Even though each person sitting at the table has arrived, it often feels as though our attention is still scattered here and there. By centering, we welcome back our energy, focus, and attention.
Centering / Quieting Poem:
by David Whyte, Where Many Rivers Meet
Enough. These few words are enough.
If not these words, this breath.
If not this breath, this sitting here.
This opening to the life
we have refused
again and again
Warm Up Quotation:
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Read the above quotation silently to yourself several times, listen for other variations on “to find the beautiful”.
Here are two examples:
Though we travel the world over to find acceptance, we must carry it with us or we find it not.
Though I travel the world over to find acceptance, I must carry out with me or I find it not.
to find adventure, to find compassion, to find forgiveness, to find passion, to find community…
Write to explore your new variation on Emerson’s quotation. Read your version silently to yourself several times, then listen and record what you hear, regardless of where it takes you.
There are mysterious and fascinating connections between our outer journeys and our inner journeys, similar to the connections between our waking lives and our dream lives. These connections await us just beneath the surface of our awareness. A little writing is a wonderful thing to scratch the surface and begin to reveal them.
Select any traveler-related word, especially if it’s one you just happen to think of, even if it’s not listed below.
journeyer tourist pilgrim seeker wanderer meanderer explorer adventurer discoverer rambler sightseer visitor globetrotter wayfarer
Use your word as a beginning point to explore the connections to an aspect of your life that has your attention.
Select two poems and read them out loud to yourself, listening for a word, phrase, or line in each poem that captures your attention. Copy the two words/ phrases/ lines from the poems into your notebook and write to unravel their connections. Don’t worry if at first there is no clear connection; as you continue listening and writing you will unravel it for yourself.
In our group we used the following two poems.
The Old Poets of China
by Mary Oliver, Why I Wake Early
Wherever I am, the world comes after me.
It offers me its busyness. It does not believe
that I do not want it. Now I understand
why the old poets of China went so far and high
into the mountains, then crept into the pale mist.
Last Night As I Was Sleeping**
by Antonio Machado
Last night as I was sleeping,
I dreamt—marvelous error!—
that I had a beehive
here inside my heart.
And the golden bees
were making white combs
and sweet honey
from my old failures.
**this is only an excerpt from the poem
© August 2015