Friday, January 1, 2010

Wordplay Challenge #26: The Blurt

I'm a blurter. Are you a blurter?
So often (probably too often) I just say what's in my head,
regardless of whether it follows logically from what's already been said.

This vice can actually be a virtue, though,
as you'll find in this challenge,
which is, simply, to blurt out any thoughts that come to mind,
pick your favorite(s),
and continue journaling from there.
Even the most illogical or random thought
is rooted somewhere in our experiences or desires or confusions,
so why not pursue that non sequitur
or that faux pas
and give it the glory it deserves?

Here are some of my recent blurts:

I spend too much time becoming rather than being.
(This one, while doing dishes. I could see this "blurt" being developed into a page all about my conflicting views of timing and planning versus seizing the day).

ETA: Check out my blog to see where this thought took me.

I love the moonlight.
(This one, while staring up at a red moon -- which should have been a blue moon -- through a cloud of firecracker smoke, ignoring the aerial fireworks around me. I could see this "blurt" included in a reflection about New Year's Eve and what's truly worth noticing and appreciating in the world around me).

Exercise is just not my thing.
(This one, as I add "exercise" to my list of resolutions anyway. I could use this to jump start a calendar page or a mini album documenting my progress over the year).

Her beauty astounds me.
(This one, as my daughter flicks and jabs my husband, in a most unladylike manner. I could use this to expound upon what makes my daughter beautiful in my eyes).

The dimming of the afternoon sunlight makes me wistful.
(This one, just now as I look outside the window. I can see this working into something more symbolic, maybe a page built around a photo of the sunlight on the leaves outside, with the journaling not really about the photo, but more "around" the photo).

See how it's done?
Blurt away!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #25: One Day at a Time

There are many wonderful ways to document your holidays, but if you're short on time, why mince words? Try a calendar approach, documenting each day with a single phrase, line, or description that documents an event (trimming the tree), expresses a sentiment (gratitude, joy), documents a memory (making snow angels), or records an observation (shorter days, longer nights). It's definitely a can-do, no-stress project.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #24: Part: Whole

Who says that journaling needs to be in complete sentences and paragraphs, a cohesive, unified block plunked down on a page? This time around, challenge yourself to "dissect" a photo into various parts, using a common theme or thread in your writing to unify the whole:

In this layout, I pointed out my sweet (but stubborn) pup's features, explaining what each one was for in her day-to-day life. The "unifier" is kind of a punchline in each section of text -- I mention how, despite these functioning parts, she doesn't use any of them to actually listen to us with any regularity. :) She's her own woman.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #23: Like a Prayer

Today I attended a prayer service celebrating the life and legacy of Father Damien, who will shortly become Saint Damien. One of the most beautiful parts of the service was the responsorial psalm, in which verses are sung and a refrain is repeated after each verse.

This led me to wonder whether the approach would work on a scrapbook page, and I think it will.

In the "verses," expand upon a chosen theme, but keep bringing the writing back to a single repeated line, the "refrain." Each time the line is repeated, it will become even more meaningful. Tell a story, express your feelings, celebrate someone, give thanks or praise. Whatever you choose to say, lift it up and set it free on your page.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #22: I Vow

In honor of my mother's upcoming nuptials, this challenge is all about the promises we make. These are the promises that change our lives and give those lives focus. These could be wedding vows, vows to be a good parent, vows to accomplish a long-time goal, or vows to kick a nasty habit. Whatever your vows may be, put them in writing. Make it official.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #21: Commit It to Memory

This week's challenge is based on an assignment that my eighth graders are working on this week. Inspired by Langston Hughes's poem "Aunt Sue's Stories," they are retelling family stories that they would like to continue to pass down through the generations. Some students are writing stories, while others have chosen to compose narrative poems.

Each day this week, we have heard stories about births and adoptions, escapes from war-torn countries and immigration to new countries, arranged marriages and romantic elopements, and moments that tore families apart and pulled them together. I've been amazed and overwhelmed to discover which stories these young people have identified as truly valuable, stories that they will no doubt share with their own children someday.

As storytellers and memory keepers, we are responsible for finding ways to ensure that our family histories survive. The oral tradition is one way of doing this, but by recording these stories in our scrapbooks, we "commit" them to memory.

This time around, our challenge is to find a way to document a story that you hope each generation of your family will remember. It is a chance for us to remember (and I know I've used this before) "what it would impoverish us to forget," as Frost once said

Even if you don't have a photo, tell the story. If you feel the need to include a photo, consider taking a photo of something symbolic -- something or someone that represents the story that you are documenting.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Wordplay Challenge #20: Take My Word For It

Because it talks about someone rather than to someone, writing from a third person point of view (she/he/it) can be distancing. This time around, our challenge is to make a connection. Use a combination of first person (I/we) and second person (you) pronouns, and share your own perspectives with the subject of your layout.

In the layout below, I addressed my journaling to my cousin Shelly, who just graduated from college and is about to embark on her nursing career. As a teacher, I am also in a service-oriented vocation, and so I shared what my experiences have taught me, making a connection between my vocation and hers.

The patterned paper reinforces the message, and vice-versa. I love text paper for this reason -- when it's well-chosen, it functions beautifully as subtext, extending the theme of the layout.