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Writing in a circle, or, Squeezing till it flows, or, How deadlines do us a favor

Sarah Cunningham's picture

I found this one very hard to do. I thought it was because of the situation: I was very tired on Thursday night, had to do both the walk and the paper then, because completely booked up on Friday. Thursday had been full too, things got done, connections got made, but leaving me feeling used up and decidedly un-Thoreauvian. I felt, grumpily, that a walk under the duress of producing a peper from its ruminations could not possibly be an authentically Thoreauvian one. Once I'd written the paper I realized there were underlying emotional reasons too, which I'd been keeping well buried, and which the writing of the paper revealed to me. I think-- and hope-- that maybe this is exactly what Anne's teaching methods are trying to help us do. To discover, by writing, what we think-- AND what we feel.

So I sat in front of my computer and told myself, just start, you have to start. Write the first thing that comes to mind and take it from there. The words that came up were, thank you. A whole paragraph of thank yous, in fact. I had no idea why I was writing that, so my second paragraph was to say I had no idea why I'd started that way. I left it and went on to describe a few moments from the walk-- the ones that popped first into my mind. They were each in some way evocative of my melancholy, frustrated mood. I kept following the thread, which led me finally to the things that were really bothering me: the trees that had been cut down in our yard that day, and the fact that it was my father's birthday, the first birthday of his I've experienced since he died late last September.

As I came home to the sadness in my heart, my last paragraph arrived: another thank you, to the assigned task, for the awareness it had brought me.