Haiku for clementines

Yesterday I made a list of items in my refrigerator. We have an abundance of hummus right now. And we have 7 clementines. I adore clementines. I’m not big on oranges or grapefruits, but I could write poetry about clementines. So I did. Here’s my haiku about the clementines in my fridge:

tiny clementines
my orange bursts of sunshine
all seven are mine

Try writing a haiku about something. Maybe something in your fridge.

The basic structure is 5 syllables, 7 syllables, 5 syllables. Here’s more about haiku if you want to dig deeper: How to Write Haiku

Start with a list

My brain right now feels like the inside of my Vitamix when I’m trying to process cashews into something vegan. It’s churning, and the result is not as smooth as I’d like. There’s a persistent annoying hum of concern. I don’t quite know if I’m doing this whole pandemic thing right, and I’m slightly worried I’m going to break my expensive blender, or my brain, for that matter. So I’m making lists today.

Whenever my writing feels rusty from lack of practice, lack of sleep, or lack of inspiration, I start with a list. Lists come easily. No need for grammar, spelling, narrative arc, or descriptive language. A list you can come back to, and add to as the mood strikes. You can get all fancy with your bullet journal if you want. Or you can just scribble on the back of an envelope. Here’s a list of lists to use to get your writing started.

Choose one and make a list of…

  • Events you are sorry got canceled
  • Events you are glad got canceled
  • People you are worried about
  • Places you plan to go when this is over
  • Things you can do for self-care today
  • Words to describe how you feel today
  • Meals you can cook from your pantry
  • What you wish you had in your pantry
  • Movies to watch
  • New skills to learn while at home
  • New skills NOT to learn while at home
  • What you can see outside that is giving you life
  • Questions you’d like to ask God
  • What you are grateful for today
  • Lists you can make another day
  • Make your own list….

Then, if you like, pick one item from one list and write more about it.

Be well,

Julie

Why writing matters right now

When I start workshops, I usually tell those gathered that writing is good for our health. Giving voice to the swirling thoughts in our heads can lower our blood pressure. It boosts t-cell production and strengthens our immunity. Those wellness benefits often seem like bonus points. But not now. Physical health is not a given during a pandemic. As the days isolating at home (or working overtime for some heroes) start to stretch out, the need to take care of our individual and collective mental health becomes even greater.

I’m not doing well with my writing habits right now. News, social media, and converting work to online everything – all seem more pressing. I can feel my anxiety rising. Maybe you can too. That’s why I’m dusting off this website and wanna-be writing business I began with some baby steps two years ago. I’m going to start sending out writing prompts so we can write alone or in company with one another. It’s mostly for myself. But I’d love to have you join me.

Here’s a prompt to start from Mary Oliver:

To live in this world

you must be able
to do three things:
to love what is mortal;
to hold it

against your bones knowing
your own life depends on it;
and, when the time comes to let it go,
to let it go.
~from “In Blackwater Woods” by Mary Oliver, from American Primitive. © Back Bay Books, 1983.

Friends, what are you letting go of today?

Be well,

Julie