Thursday, August 6, 2009

Writing Marathon

Those who run marathons prepare for weeks or months or even years to make the arduous 26 mile run. We prepared ourselves for three days, but our marathon was much more pleasant and less of a physical strain. After fortifying myself with a mug of sweet, hot coffee and collecting my favorite journal, I was ready to begin.

When the dew was still wet on the grass and the mowers were completing their daily circuit of the grounds of Ella Sharp Park, we set forth into the cultured beds of snapdragons to find perches from which to let inspiration flood us. Some of us chose a shady spot to sit and ended up becoming so entranced by nature that our pages ended up being a list of starts and stops--and lots of scribbles.

Others chose a more social venue, quickly tempering the desire to chat with the desire to fill a page. Inspiration came from the rocks, the trees, even an inquisitive bee. Distraction came from rumble of the mowers.

In the end, all of us wrote something. We sat a picnic table under the shade of a venerable oak and shared. Some read verbatim, some summed up, some declined--claiming their work was too scattered. It seemed that while nature was an inspiration for some of us, she proved too distracting for others. So we moved inside.
Our next stop was the Ella Sharp art gallery, which is currently housing a traveling exhibit of the work of John James Audobon, in addition to its usual collection of North American birds and Jackson history. Some of us sat before the work of Audobon, one before a painting of 19th century Jackson girl, one before a set of Tiffany windows in a now-demolished Victorian house, others at other items of interest.
Here we found inspiration of another sort. And, as the students had been instructed, when someone stopped to ask what they were doing, they replied, "We're writers," following with an explanation of what they were writing about.
The results were as varied as the students. Some wrote poetry, some fiction, some reflection. One teacher began compiling a list of research ideas for her history students. What did I come away with? A few things, but what I like best is the poem I posted above.
We found new sources of inspiration, extrinsic sources, in a valuable exercise I can't wait to repeat.

No comments:

Post a Comment