Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Prompt: Use Meditative Journaling, or “Stream of Consciousness”, perhaps to write about loss or grief

You may recall that during ConGregate in Winston Salem last month, I had the good fortune to spend time with Sharon Stogner of I Smell Sheep, the wonderful paranormal romance review site. Sharon gave me a lot of ideas for branding and building this prompt blog, some of which I have already begun to implement. I plan to do more in August, so I hope you’ll keep coming back to see more content and resources being added.

I am also going to buckle down and focus my writing efforts on finishing my novel. I know, I know, I’ve been saying that…and saying that…and saying that.

New Goal: Complete First Draft by DragonCon.

The thing is, today is August 5th, and I have neither posted in the blog nor written a word yet this month. Why, you may ask? Well, that’s the hard part. Life. Loss. Death.

A friend – one of my dearest friends’ lifelong besties – was killed in a car wreck on Friday night. I’m still feeling the shock, the grief, the anger. And sometimes –when I am out and about living the life that goes on no matter what has happened – I think I can write about that and maybe even channel it into some of my story, which includes loss and grief and anger. And perhaps I will. But when I am home and quiet, I haven’t yet gathered the strength and energy to put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, until tonight.

I still feel the shock, the grief, the anger, wrapped around me, tugging at my limbs, pushing against my chest, my forehead, behind my eyes. I’m going to try to write about it. Is that self serving? If you think so. I think it might be healing. And honoring my friend, to explore my feelings deeply and honestly, and ultimately to share them in some way. And maybe someone will read the scenes I write someday and say “Yes, that’s how *I* feel!” And they won’t feel alone in whatever they’re going through. And I’ll keep on living, and they’ll keep on living, and we will have shared something, even if we never meet. Life is interconnected in all kinds of ways we can never really know, perceive, or understand.

How can I channel my intense, personal feelings into something I might use in my story? I’m going to use meditative journaling, which is a kind of “stream of consciousness” or "free writing". If you’ve never done it, I encourage you to give it a try. The idea is to start writing (and literally using pen and paper, but with experience, a keyboard works fine too), and keep writing, no matter what. If you don’t know what to say, you write that. So it may look something like this:

Meditative journaling prompt: Swimming

Swimming. I love the water. I’m a “Cancer”, a water baby. My daughter, a Pisces, is too. I love showers, baths, pools, the ocean, rivers, rain, waterfalls. I have stories for every one of these things. Memories. The feel of cold water in the kitchen sink, soap bubbles lathering my hands. Hot water, spraying dishes clean, scrubbing them, rinsing them. When I heard about Tammy and waited for a friend who came to comfort me, I washed my crockpot, scrubbing it over and over, running my fingers over the cersmic until it was clean and smooth once more.

The cascade of water in the shower, pulling through my hair, pulling my head back. Floating in the pool, leaning my head back in the water, feeling small waves wash up against my sides, wash over me. Hearing people, planes, noises from above. Holding my breath and diving under. A deep breath, a deeper dive. Into the crystal blue water at Bimini. Dolphins, nurse sharks, spiny lobsters, barracuda, remora…but that’s another story. Water. Water. What to say? Is there a story here? Standing in the pool, moving through physical therapy exercises. Feeling the swish of the water as I lift my leg, the push of muscles and the resistance they don’t feel in air. The flow. Like dancing. I love bobbing up and down, standing in second and tilting my feet en pointe. More graceful than I ever was on a ballet studio floor. Water. Ease. Grace. Flow. Beauty…

Give it a try. It may surprise you. You see in my example, I moved from swimming to water without consciously realizing it. Maybe nothing interesting will come of it. Maybe you’ll be inspired with a scene or story idea. Maybe you’ll discover something you weren’t consciously thinking about. And if you write about loss or grief, maybe you’ll find some peace.

I’ve heard many translations. Here’s one I love: The light of the universe that shines within me bows to the light of the universe that shines within you.

Dogs in House
Houdini, Brindle

Music Playing
Delta Rae, “Morning Comes”

Time writing

August word count


  1. That's an interesting technique. I'm going to have to give it a try. I'm so sorry for your loss. Personally, I've found that writing helps. I blogged about a loss of my own and how writing helped me deal with it. Here's the link if you want to check it out: http://fictionmustmakesense.blogspot.com/2012_05_01_archive.html

    1. Thanks, Ken. I agree it can be healing. I'm sorry for your loss, too. Pets are family, and we carry them in our hearts forever. *Namaste*