Anne de Graaf's blog: International-Intrigue-Injustice

30 April 2008

A Woman’s Gotta Do What a Woman’s Gotta Do

Filed under: Thin and Thick Places,Write on — annedegraaf @ 12:16 pm

A friend sent me this quote last week, from Henri Nouwen’s Daily Meditation, “Writing, Opening a Deep Well”: Writing is not just jotting down ideas. Often we say: “I don’t know what to write. I have no thoughts worth writing down.” But much good writing emerges from the process of writing itself. As we simply sit down in front of a sheet of paper and start to express in words what is on our minds or in our hearts, new ideas emerge, ideas that can surprise us and lead us to inner places we hardly knew were there. One of the most satisfying aspects of writing is that it can open in us deep wells of hidden treasures that are beautiful for us as well as for others to see.
(With thanks to Terry)

See, I think, as we write, we heal. The trauma therapy former child soldiers undergo often involves their reaching a point where, just once, they paint a picture of what happened to them and their emotions. This can be done through drawing, sculpting, dance or by writing. The children who do manage to somehow describe their ordeals have a better chance of living relatively stable lives than those who are so blocked they cannot find their way back to, and out of, that dark place.

I’m not saying we need to have (or find) a trauma in order to write. But we may listen to what weighs heavily on our hearts and write about that, once we’ve found a safe place, and locked the door.

(By the way, that’s not me in the tub.)

Writing Tip #2–Write On!
*Finish the job you are doing in one go. (Compartmentalize large jobs into definable chunks.)
*Give the task your full attention. Don’t switch attention to other things.
*Keep your attention present and focused.
*Start and stop the task with a quick stillness exercise.
(With thanks to Bruce)

23 April 2008

Back Home Again

Filed under: Thin and Thick Places,Write on — annedegraaf @ 11:25 am

The warm water off an island in the Bahamas called Eleuthera, which means “freedom,” seems very far . . . and very close.

Hearing voices in Spanish these days: Vamos a Mexico! Mi corazon. Gracias! Muy simpatico.

In Puebla, the Minister of Culture arranged a guided tour of the oldest library in North and South America. I donned white gloves and turned weathered pages of an Old Testament written in Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek and Chaldean. I felt like Sean Connery in “The Name of the Rose.”

I remembered my trip to Iraq, between the wars, and visiting a Chaldean Orthodox church in Nineveh. The priest told me most of their old manuscripts had been destroyed. In Mexico I find what once was lost.

Join me in letting down our nets into the deep. Then jump in!

Writing Tip #1–Write Here!
“Thirty minutes—just make sure you write 30 minutes a day.” That’s what I told a student at WMUN (World Model United Nations), in Puebla, Mexico, when he told me he wanted to become a writer. “Then you ARE a writer.”
The to-be list and not to-do.
I am.
Write here. Write now.

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