Updated: Dec 22, 2021
I'm recently returned from a two-week writing retreat at Welcome Hill Studios in New Hampshire where I also finished up various work gigs for the year. While I'm eager to sink against couch cushions with a stack of new books, it isn't to be. Our youngest is home for the holidays and she has other ideas. So far we've cut and trimmed an eleven-foot balsam, made fudge and pecan turtles, wrapped gifts, and checked off half a dozen holiday films beginning with White Christmas on the night of the full moon snow.
(Cold Moon at Pemaquid Point, Jodi Paloni) This month, she joined me in my full moon ritual. We set out a jar of filtered water to imbibe with magical moonlight, lit a candle, went on a guided imagery journey, talked about what came, and hugged as we shared our hopes that each of us manifests our full moon intentions. In the morning, we drank moon water after clinking our fancy glasses. Add all these activities to extravagant meals and kitchen clean-up, daily hikes in the woods, and walks with an ecstatic dog on the wide-open beach. We are taking full advantage of the blessed life we live on the coast of Maine. And then, there's the need for a pause.
With little or no time to read, write, or paint, I try and at least grab a few minutes nearing midnight, after the counters have been wiped down and the Santa mugs are poised for morning coffee. I take to "listing." Listing is my go-to creative practice during more extroverted cycles. Just putting pen to paper grounds. It reminds me I'm a creative person. The list can center on any topic–––a Christmas Eve dinner plan, titles for my 100 Book Reading Challenge for 2020, unhealthy attitudes I want to let go of, ideas for a new workshop I'm offering to help you all bring in the New Year, and, as always, gratitude. Listing is different than creating a To-Do list of tasks to accomplish. For me, it's akin to a meditative practice, like walking a labyrinth or raking sand. Some of my lists are linear. I love a good tidy list. Some come in the form of a brainstorm map I can then organize into a treemap. Listing is a great way to give yourself an impromptu writing prompt. You may remember the one we did back in October's new moon prompt, "Circling In." Sometimes I do this as a way to give prompts in salons and I am always amazed at what comes. Here's a new one to try!
"Listing" ~ Pick up an artifact of text nearest to you–––a newspaper, a catalog, a book, a bill. ~ Choose a random block of text. ~ Circle all of the nouns. Then list them. ~ Read the list of nouns out loud and pay attention to one or two that captures your interest in the way of a connection. Perhaps an object conjures a memory or a place name brings on a character. Maybe "a thing" leads you into a poem. Maybe you'll feel a need to draw. or collage. Perhaps, like me, all you'll have time for is to choose the words, but while you might not take with you a piece of new work, you'll have sparked an idea. I chose a clothing catalog I receive in the mail. Though I don't buy clothes that are this expensive, I love the aesthetic of the catalog, the quality of paper, the paper I save for future collages, which is what I felt like doing with my list prompt this time. Here's what came...
...followed by a study in brown...a kitchen collage...
Meanwhile, I've tucked away two words from my catalog lists–––coffee and tobacco. I contemplate a piece I want to write about my father. I trust it’s stored in the brain for another time. Trusting the creative process will not fail you.