On the update I just sent out with a holiday greeting plus my workshop and retreat listings for 2009, I also included a few prompts. Here they are:
Below are a couple of ways to get you writing over the holidays. Let's take a minute - yes, a minute will do - to make lists, to engage in some reflective writing.
Make a list of your family of origin's holiday traditions. (Maybe you'd like to invite others from your family to join you in this exercise.) Now make a list of your traditions today. Hmm, contrast and compare. What have you kept? Pitched?
Now that you're warmed up, take one item from the list and write about it for ten minutes.
When I first wrote the copy for the update I took myself through the prompts. I did a list of holiday things that were unacceptable in my house growing up. First on the list was tinsel. Then came lights on the house, followed by any outdoor decorations. And the list went on from there, including buying new Advent calendars (we recycled ours every year), and ended with celebrating Christmas on December 25. My family celebrated on January 6, Epiphany. I picked that item to write about in detail--how my friends would ask me what I got for Christmas the first school day after the holidays, and I would have to say, "We haven't celebrated yet." And I would turn as red as Santa's hat, etc.
I asked my older daughter, Olivia, who is home for Christmas to listen to what I wrote before sending it out.
"Mom," she said, when I finished reading, "that is so Debbie Downer. Why don't you just give the prompts without writing your own responses. Nobody wants to hear all that right now."
She's right. I'm going to redo the exercise and find some good stuff to mention--stretch for fresh material, bust out of personal myths and familiar old stories.
Right now, I'm going to go celebrate--add some more tinsel to the tree.
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