In this one you are....
a repost of a favorite writing prompt + an October grief writing workshop
Welcome to Writing in Company. Each week I share some words and a writing prompt, meant to be jumping-off points for you to write about what matters. Use the prompts however you like—to journal, to draft thoughts for your own writing project, as meditation or prayer ideas, or for another creative endeavor. If this one doesn’t resonate, take a look back through the archive for one that does. Grab your pen and paper, and let your words loose on the page.
Today I’m digging back into my website archives for a prompt I shared during early pandemic days. It’s not original to me. It’s a Pat Schneider prompt from her marvelous Writing Alone and with Others and a favorite of the writing group of bereaved mothers of which I’ve been a member for 21 years.
I’ve written to this prompt numerous times over the years, using photos of myself at various ages, photos of my children, my sisters and parents, and more. It always drops me into a particular place and time and reveals something I didn’t know that I knew.
Here’s the prompt:
Bring to mind—or place in front of you—a photograph. It can be of yourself, or of a loved one, or even of a stranger. Start your writing with these words: “In this one, you are….” then write to the person in the photo.
Here’s one I found of myself recently.
My writing starts like this:
In this one, you are in the backyard on Edgewood Avenue. Daddy brought home a typewriter from the office and set it up on a table for you, then scooted that huge chair right up so you could reach the keys. You have not yet decided that you want to be his secretary when you grow up. That comes later, when you are five, and a few years before you want to be Dorothy Hamill when you grow up. Never mind that no one is ice skating in Florida. Instead, they are all in their sweaty backyards with the sprinklers snaked across the grass.
At this table, you are a writer. Already there are stories swirling in your head. You see no reason why you can’t write your own. You are only two and can’t spell yet, but you know what letters are. You know they make up words, and the words make up stories that people who love you read to you…..
a writing prompt
Bring to mind—or place in front of you—a photograph. It can be of yourself, or of a loved one, or of a stranger.
Start your writing with these words:
“In this one, you are….”
Write to the person in the photo, and follow your thoughts on the page.
Writing through Grief - a fall workshop in October
Join me for a four-week writing workshop for anyone who is grieving. Whatever or whomever we are grieving, and whether our loss is old and familiar, or still fresh and raw—writing in company with others can help get our swirling thoughts out of our heads and onto the page, and put us on a path toward remembering what matters.
We’ll gather on Zoom on four Tuesdays in October, the 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th, from 7-8:30 Eastern. I keep these workshops small so we all have time to write and read as desired. No writing experience is needed, and grammar and spelling don’t count.
Paid subscribers (thank you!) can join for a 25% discount. A separate email will go to you with a discount code soon.
Let’s write together.
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Let me know what you think about the prompt, or come back and add some of what you write in the comments.
Know someone who might enjoy this prompt or others? Please share!
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