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I recently returned to writing morning pages.

Morning pages are generally three pages of writing. just writing. allowing the pen and thoughts to flow where they will.

Morning pages are an idea of Julia Cameron‘s, which she talks about in The Artist’s Way. It’s a great book.

…and it’s been a few years since I deliberately wrote them.

My return to the pages was initially inspired by a recent trip to Boston to attend a friend’s wedding. I had arranged to meet a few friends for dinner and I decided to get to the train stop an hour early to sit and write lyrics. I’d been grappling with these words for a while now, and thought that an hour without my usual home distractions could be a good idea. no cell phone, internet, messes to clean up.

I never got to the lyrics. My pen decided that I needed to write more about what I was trying to say with the text, and I furiously wrote free verse prose barely remembering to sip my coffee. Images and half-baked idea snippets came hurtling down the tracks of thought – thought to hand, hand to pen, pen to paper. Stunning images followed by awful hackneyed phrases. As I wrote I kept thinking: wait. don’t edit. not yet. there’s time for all that later… why don’t I do this anymore?

Over the last few weeks I’ve made some feeble attempts to write, so I finally decided to return to morning pages. On the first day I asked myself: why morning pages? I have volumes of the stuff I never read. But I remembered that once in a while a great idea emerges from the rough– an idea for a poem or a project, perhaps.

So this time I’ve given myself a few guidelines:

write to mine for ideas – and when something emerges, try to shape it immediately.

write for therapy – I hereby give myself permission to throw things out.

…that’s what the pen does. it beckons the rawest form of thought. images great and terrible grappling for my attention in blurts and stops and starts and distracted non sequiturs. make it impossible to write it all down before I blankly stare at the page. and through it all rescue me from my initial intention of what I thought I wanted to write about into the world of what I need to write about.

 

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