Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Writing Exercise and Some Thoughts on Travel

Yesterday we had our second East Midlands Lapidus Therapeutic Writing Day. We seem to have hit on a winning formula here because the day was every bit as enjoyable, stimulating and worthwhile as was the first one.

I thought I’d share with you a little bit about one of the writing exercises that we did. It is something that anyone can try and is amazingly powerful, but to get the most out of it you’d need to grab a pencil and paper now, read the following instructions, do about 15 minutes of rapid writing and then return to my blog to read how I got on. If you linger to think about it then the spontaneity will be lost.

I shall pause now while you get yourself equipped.

Ok, the task is to write a letter (unsent) to thank someone from your past, someone who has had a significant effect on you, who has influenced you and maybe your life.

A second pause while you go and do it.

We didn’t discuss this exercise in any way before we started and yet we all chose a strong-minded woman to ‘receive’ our letters. I chose my Great Aunt who I’ve talked about here before so I won’t go into the details. I will, however, say that as an outcome of that writing exercise I was able to see how much more satisfied that generation were with ‘their lot’ than we are today. Is it because they had to fight to survive? In my Great Aunt’s case it was not only near starvation and subsequent immigration from Latvia in the early 20th century but also evacuation during the 2nd World War leaving the security of a Jewish, Yiddish-speaking environment for the life of a foreigner in Leicester, yet she never appeared to be dissatisfied. I feel truly humbled at that realisation.

Finally a note about the ups and downs of travelling: The session yesterday was in Melton Mowbray which is only about 17 miles from home but I made the decision to take the train rather than drive. (If I had a pound for every wrong decision I’ve made in my life I’d be rich indeed.) 

The bus journey from my house to the train station took twice as long as the train journey from Leicester station to Melton Mowbray. (The journey to the train station normally takes about 5 minutes.) It was an extremely frustrating journey. 

Having said that, travelling by train has advantages over driving. You meet interesting people, are able to watch the world in a voyeuristic way and arrive without shoulders glued to ears! (My usual position after driving unfamiliar routes – yes I know! That’s so ‘girlie’!)

Did you do the writing exercise? 
How did it go? 
Have you any such writing exercises you could share?



16 comments:

  1. I'll be honest, I'm about to head to work so I did not grab paper and write. However, I would have written a letter to my mother (she passed 22 years ago) and I would have said that she was "right" on so many things. And she did instill common sense and a certain amount of "be happy with what you have". So, I think I would have been in the same theme as your group. Interesting. As for travel - it's never easy, but sounds like you made the most of it and did me "future characters" perhaps for your writing. Now have a cup of tea. I'm off (and yes, I drive an hour).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just playing 'devil's advocate' here, Joanne, but I'd be really interested to know if you got anything different from the exercise if it was written rather than thought about. I suspect you would do! When you write your thoughts often go off at tangents that you never expected.

      Delete
  2. Thank you Rosalind.That was a very powerful exercise to do.My letter was to an uncle who passed away last December aged 94..Yesterday was his memorial day I went and met lots of Jewish relatives and we talked joyously about his long life.I remembered him teaching me how to eat all of an apple except for the stalk and pips!He also told me lots about his parents coming to England to escape the pogroms.Be grateful for anything you have he told me. Lots of mixed emotions but sadly could only cry inside myself-especially with today being Holocaust Memorial Day.
    I was travelling for over 6 hours yesterday and it was awful with delays and diversions on the trains.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the exercise. It is indeed a very solemn day today. It particularly makes me sad when we always say that we must have a special day to remember the Holocaust so that it never happens again and yet at this very moment people in the world are being tortured and murdered for their beliefs. It's heartbreaking.

      Delete
  3. I did the exercise, but the only person I could think of is still alive, so I suppose I didn't do it as intended. She is a woman. I'm not sure 'strong-minded' could be applied, though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for giving it a try, Miriam, and she doesn't ever need to know that she was the intended recipient of an unsent letter!

      Delete
  4. Great exercise Ros, I wrote a letter to my deceased Uncle who left me some money a few years ago. I purchased a very good camera with it, and have since taken many images, and made many happy memories. I told him how much pleasure the camera had given me, and how much more it would...who knows what joyful future events it may record. Incidentally, he was very creative, his passions in life were painting, sculpting and photography, so I thought it apt when I chose to have the camera.

    As for travel, I so prefer to take the train to driving, which seems to be more and more stressful these days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a lovely way to remember your uncle. I've seen some of your photographs and they're good. Train travel can be fun, can't it.

      Delete
  5. I think I needed that! http://jobbingwriter.blogspot.co.uk/2015/01/dear-mr-birkin.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been over to Jobbing Writer and read your response to my exercise. I'm overwhelmed. What trauma you must have experienced but how cathartic that you can now look back with a certain amount of warmth and a lot of gratitude to the man who caused you such physical pain.

      Delete
  6. What an interesting exercise. I wrote to a very strong woman, too. My maternal grandmother, who's been dead since 1960. She was my fiercest defender and loved me unconditionally. It's hard to believe, but even after all these years, I still miss her.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it worked for you, Susan. I think it's very moving that you still miss her. She must have been very special.

      Delete
  7. I'm not in a position to do writing exercises. But am glad you did a bit of travelling, Ros!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For those visitors here who don't know you, Jo, I'll elucidate. Jo has no time for writing exercises because she has just left the moderate calm of Penang to head for the hills. I don't for one minute expect you would have time for writing exercises. I'm just so blown away by your life!!!

      Delete
  8. Sorry, Miss - I haven't got time today becasue I have to tidy my apartment for an agent to view. Please find attached a note from my mum. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's always one in every class! Might I draw your attention to Jo just above you, Lizy. Now, she has a reason and a half for not doing a writing exercise! (Just joking - and thank your mum for the note!)

      Delete

Thank you for commenting. I do love receiving comments. Your comment will be sent to me for moderation before appearing here.

If you do not have a Google account, click on the Google account box and select Anonymous. Spam comments are not accepted on this blog.