Setting as the Genesis of Motif--Evergreen Center, Easton June 7
Workshop Materials and Useful Links
Great starters for writing.
Abandoned Farmhouse By Ted Kooser
He was a big man, says the size of his shoes
on a pile of broken dishes by the house;
a tall man too, says the length of the bed
in an upstairs room; and a good, God-fearing man,
says the Bible with a broken back
on the floor below the window, dusty with sun;
but not a man for farming, say the fields
cluttered with boulders and the leaky barn.
A woman lived with him, says the bedroom wall
papered with lilacs and the kitchen shelves
covered with oilcloth, and they had a child,
says the sandbox made from a tractor tire.
Money was scarce, say the jars of plum preserves
and canned tomatoes sealed in the cellar hole.
And the winters cold, say the rags in the window frames.
It was lonely here, says the narrow country road.
Something went wrong, says the empty house
in the weed-choked yard. Stones in the fields
say he was not a farmer; the still-sealed jars
in the cellar say she left in a nervous haste.
And the child? Its toys are strewn in the yard
like branches after a storm--a rubber cow,
a rusty tractor with a broken plow,
a doll in overalls. Something went wrong, they say.
Ted Kooser, "Abandoned Farmhouse" from Sure Signs: New and Selected Poems. Copyright © 1980 by Ted Kooser. Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press. from The Academy of American Poets
Notes from Workshop Reflection and Evaluation
Thank you to all workshop participants--this was my inaugural experience with creating and facilitating a workshop for other writers. Faculty and students in the school environment are an entirely different audience.
The postcard prompt and further delving through guided imagery worked best. In the workshop's next incarnation, there will be more time and another expansion pertaining to motif there.
Participant use of the mapping activity was phenomenal when that fine line of suspension of inhibition could occur. Creating during a workshop with its constriction of time is difficult, but the evaluations reflected that good ideas emerged from the morning.
Comment, questions and feedback are encouraged through the Bliss Blog.
Observe the use of symbolism embedded in the setting--look for natural elements, time, place and concrete objects.
The Last Things I'll Remember
by Joyce Sutphen
The partly open hay barn door, white frame around the darkness,
the broken board, small enough for a child
to slip through.
Walking in the cornfields in late July, green tassels overhead,
the slap of flat leaves as we pass, silent
and invisible from any road.
Hollyhocks leaning against the stucco house, peonies heavy
as fruit, drooping their deep heads
on the dog house roof.
Lilac bushes between the lawn and the woods,
a tractor shifting from one gear into
the next, the throttle opened,
the smell of cut hay, rain coming across the river,
the drone of the hammer mill,
milk machines at dawn.
"The Last Things I'll Remember" by Joyce Sutphen from First Words. © Red Dragonfly Press, 2010. Reprinted with permission.