Each Wednesday I’m recording a Curiosity Journal, a recap of the past week. Tag words are: reading, playing, learning, reacting and writing.
Some of you have mentioned that you’re keeping a Curiosity Journal, as well. Leave your link in the comments so that we can visit and enjoy your weekly review.
Slow summer mornings, sunshine streams through waggling leaves that cast dancing shadows on the kitchen table. The season spoils me; I relish this temperature, this pace, this flexibility, this time to rest…and read.I sit with my Bible, The Imitation of Christ, and My Utmost for His Highest. Sometimes I scribble notes or copy passages into my blank book. Sometimes I just read and sit at the table sipping creamy coffee from a small red mug and thank the Lord for reminders, for truth, for hope, for pointing me to Him.Slow mornings give way to school schedules, and the freedom to sit is snatched away—replaced by appointments, deadlines, expectations. It is time to shift gears to a more disciplined life; to organize the days and follow a plan.The hardest part, I think, is this time of transition.I read my last “whim” book—the last book I randomly snatched from the shelf because it caught my eye. Milkweed, by Jerry Spinelli. Set in Poland just prior to the Nazi invasion and written in the voice of a tiny street urchin whose naivete presents the atrocities endured by Jews in the Warsaw ghetto. Simply written, powerfully told. I’m going to give it to my junior high and high school daughters to read.
Claire Burge has given TheHighCalling photographers a PhotoPlay assignment:
For this month’s PhotoPlay, capture five images that represent your history. Each image must answer a question below, one question per image:
- Who made up your DNA?
- Where do you come from?
- What object is precious to your past?
- What memory resonates most deeply?
- What moment in history marks your childhood?
Symbolism is important in recollection. To assist your photo search, find symbols to portray the memories that come back to you.
Claire may call this PhotoPlay, but it sounds more like PhotoWork. Deep, heart-probing work. I simply may not have the time or energy necessary to dig in and truly reveal who I am in this way; I doubt that in two weeks’ time I can isolate defining objects or moments from the muddle of memories that tumble in the recesses of my mind. Can I cope with what I unearth…at one of the busiest times of the year?We’ll see.Maybe I’ll participate, maybe not.But it does open up a set of questions and curiosity about myself.Reminds me of a phrase from Write to Discover Yourself that Ruth Vaughn proposed a writer ask herself. In chapter two, “The Diary/Journal,” she writes:
When I taught creative writing in college, I used to write two words on the board for the students’ first assignment:I WHY?I offer you that question as your first and ever-ongoing assignment in writing creatively. (Vaughn 7)
She recommends writing about one’s parents—descriptions of physical characteristics, memories, portraits of the past and how one feels about them. Write about the earliest memories: times you laughed or cried, times in a secret childhood spot, times in school that marked success…and failure. “Probe. Remember. Write it out,” Vaughn advises (11). Write in total honest and freedom, she says, with that diary or journal as a constant companion on the journey to discovering the answer to “I WHY?”
Take the time and effort to go back and try to capture the memories of your life from earliest childhood to present. Let nothing be too trivial to explore. It if survives in your memory, it was significant in some way. From such inner exploration will come self-knowledge, life-understanding, and increasing dimensions of wisdom…Also, you will be forming a reservoir of material which will provide the “stuff” of your writing in all future years. (11-12)
Because, she posits, as we write our way to the answer, we will be free to write creatively and powerfully for ourselves, for God, and for others.
I asked my doctor about the dangers of using a steroid inhaler for a long time, as she is recommending it for treatment of my lingering cough. She conceded that there are definitely some concerns, such as loss of bone density, though that is associated more with oral steroids than with inhaled. In any case, she said, “I’m more concerned that we need to be treating your lungs at this point. There are more serious side effects if they are left untreated.””Like what?”She looked me in the eye and said, “If you can’t control your asthma, you won’t be able to breathe.” She paused and stared at me.”And if I can’t breathe…” I said, nodding slowly, beginning to understand the severity of my diagnosis.She began to nod, as well, and then just said it: “If you can’t breathe, you die.”I now carry an albuterol inhaler with me all the time.
Not a fan of Fall (Fall, after all, descends into stark, bleak winter), I grieve a little every day the morning temperatures feel the least bit crisp. I am clinging to every streak of sunshine, soaking it in, trying to absorb bone-deep memories of warm.
These days it seems I’m busier with start-of-school stuff than writing. Also, preparing to facilitate a high school writing class, I’m entering a coaching mode. But I squeak out a blog post now and then.
Works Cited:Vaughn, Ruth. Write to Discover Yourself. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., 1980. Print.Question mark image: “Question Proposed” photo by Ethan Lofton. Used under a Creative Commons license via Flickr.com.All other photos taken of a friend’s flower garden by Ann Kroeker.Note: This post contains Amazon affiliate links.
“Milkweed” caught my eye for two reasons. One, we’ve been battling an invasion of the sneaky little thin in our gardens, not to mention the grass. Two, I’ve been reading “The Emperor of Lies,” a novel about the Jewish ghetto in Lodz, Poland, during WWII. The book is based on extensive documentary research, and it is almost numbing to read.
Glynn, I loved _Milkweed_, but it is written for middle school students (though it is harsh and hard to read and wouldn’t assign it to a sensitive child). You could read it in a very short time. I wanted to read it before handing it to the kids.
Because it is written through the eyes of a young child, the experiences are sort of filtered–not softened, just filtered. I’ll bet _The Emperor of Lies_ is almost too much to handle
Charity Singleton says
I Why? I like that. I like the simplicity of that. I like the complexity of that.
And yes, use your inhaler! Breathing is good. Not breathing is bad.
Never underestimate the power of oxygen. 🙂
Sheila Lagrand says
It’s good to remember to be thankful for air 🙂
I’m going to spend the rest of the day pondering why the “I Why” assignment gripped me in fear. Hmm…
Duane Scott says
As one who would love to learn photography, I can’t wait to see what you all come up with for the High Calling Focus.
It’ll be cool.
However, I’ve got enough on my plate.
I gotta get back to writing something.
Megan Willome says
Let me know how the asthma/cough thing is going. No fun at all.