I had the honor and privilege of participating in a writing marathon this last Thursday. The weather was brilliant and cool due to a recent storm, and the trees were absolutely gorgeous. A classic writing marathon brings people together, has them writing in spurts, and then with no critiquing or judging, writers share whatever their pens created.
The Bartlett Arboretum is a little piece of heaven right in the middle of Belle Plaine. If you get the opportunity to participate in an activity at this private garden, be it a concert or a mosaic workshop, I highly recommend it. Words do not do justice to the serenity that can be found there. http://www.bartlettarboretum.com/
All of the writers on Thursday were a part of the National Writing Project. We followed a similar model to the New Orleans Writing Marathon http://www.nwp.org/cs/public/print/resource/315 :
10 minutes of continuous writing (actually, all ‘writing time’ is meant to be continuous)
15 min write
20 min write
25 (or sometimes 30 min) write
For me, the ambience of the place really lends itself to the quality of the experience. Between writing spurts, we hiked to different areas of the Arboretum. I must admit that some of the time, I allowed the wind to lull me into a more meditative state.
I feel especially privileged that several of the writers have agreed to share their work from that day here. Please keep in mind that we didn’t do much in the way of editing. One participant described our journals as diamond mines where treasure would be found LATER. We were to ignore our internal editors! So my sample below follows the very stream-of-consciousness that I experienced during the 15 minute stretch.
The water grounds us, feeds us, winding through, the ripples mirror the new lines of my face, discovered just this morning as I hovered over the glob of toothpaste sliding down the sink. There is a white bridge, and although I know where it leads, I imagine a different way forward, a different outcome.
I did not know I could be friends with trees, that I would want to be friends, that they might whisper to me of god and Holy and last night’s rain.
The strangers are friendly and welcome me and I do not know their names; and I hurt to call them less than they are, that orange flower, so inadequate.