Writing As Your Medicine & Your Muse

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness. It finds the thought and the thought finds the words.”

Robert Frost

You may have no intention of writing a poem when you pour your problems and pain on to your journal page. Nor may you have a notion of ever sharing these things. It is absolutely fine if you stop with the gift of allowing yourself release on the page and, consciously or not, experience the benefits to body, mind, and spirit.

For those of you who do have creative writing goals beyond your journal, the raw material in your journal is a gold mine.

Whereas, release was initially your medicine, you can additionally transform the raw material into your muse. Let it inspire a new written creation. Stay open to where it takes you.

Notice — I didn’t say where you take it. Do NOT worry about who will read it or where it will end up. This raw material takes on a life of its own.

I will illustrate with some personal examples. Decades ago, when in great despair, I wrote about how my emotional pain got locked in my face. That immediately became a poem with a very powerful personal metaphor of the tambourine. See below.

stretch

worn

wasted

membrane

now

my

face

covering

pains eternal

silence eternal

stroke it

beat if

with

resounding passion

and

make

a tambourine

When writing my memoir the past few years, the metaphor of the tambourine reappeared to become a major theme in the last chapter and part of its title — “The Tambourine and the Violin.”

Another example of using the raw material from my journals was to lift an unsent letter to my mother, also written decades earlier, and placing it in a chapter.

Now, it’s YOUR turn.

TRANSFORMING YOUR MEDICINE INTO YOUR MUSE

1. Pick up your journal — current or older one. Read a few pages.

2. Circle any word, sentence, or phrase that stirs you. It might be fun to do this with a colored pen or colored pencil — a color that energizes you.

3. Copy that to a separate page.

4. Just START WRITING.

5. TRUST it will take on a life of its own.

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