Wander and return – This writing may end up being about relationship and connections that have never been made previously. Your goal is to use these items to help you move away from the “triggering subject” by associating and connecting a number of diverse elements. This originally came from the poet Richard Jackson and was given to me by poet and teacher Pam Uschuk in workshop at the Prague Summer Program a few years ago. Don’t let the assignment limit the place you discover.
Begin with writing about a personal situation. Not necessarily in this order, include all ten items in your free write. No two items can be related in ways they usually might be:
1. Choose a natural setting – name it
2. Write about a remembrance of a time in childhood when weather frightened you or caused you to notice your mortality
3. Include a discomfort or a pleasure of your body
4. Include an insect you’ve encountered in your life
5. Include real news that has moved or disturbed you in the past two months
6. Write about your body in relation to what you hear in the moment in that place you are in – a noise
7. Include a street sound
8. Include one historical fact or mythological detail
9. Include one memory of your mother or your father in nature
10. Include one broad philosophical image or comment, for example, something about the nature of god, or gravity, or evolution, or psychology, etc.