Writing Exercises

The voice of place

Recall a wild, a natural place you loved as a child. Recall how your child self felt there in that place, bring into yourself now the smells, the sounds, the sights.

And now I want you to turn it around. The invitation is to imagine being that place. Imagine being that place, loved by the child. Write, without stopping to edit, the place’s experience of you.

Read it aloud to yourself, read it slowly and beautifully. If you wish, edit for clarity, pace and flow.


Being moved

This exercise is all about letting yourself be moved – to be moved is best understood when it is not just a metaphor.

Let yourself be moved by the more-than-human world.  Dancer Thomas E S Kelly uses the term spirits to conjure up the energies of people both departed and alive, or animals, trees, or mountains, or natural forces such as wind or river or ocean.  Close your eyes and invite in the spirits or energies that feel right for you, or that offer themselves to you. Perhaps it’s just one presence, or a series of presences. Let them move you. Imagine them there with you, and your body is moving under their influence or direction. Play together for a time.

Then come to the page. Write, without stopping or editing, and let your body tell you about its experience.

Read it aloud to yourself. Read it slowly and beautifully. If you wish, edit for clarity, pace and flow.


From ‘I am’ to ‘we are’

This exercise is best done with a small group of 2-6 friends.

Write a list of things that move you, that call to your heart. A list, beginning with ‘the’. If you like, spend time crafting the phrases. Make them delicious to say, allow them to evoke the sensorial delight of your loved world.

When you are done, read them aloud, with the words ‘I am’ in front of each phrase. Read them slowly, carefully and beautifully, attending to the richness of your voice.

And when you are done, read them again, with the worlds ‘we are’ in front of each phrase. Each person to read one, then each person in turn, till all phrases are said.

Reflect together on your experience.


Speaking to Country

Go alone to a natural place you love, ideally near to where you live. Speak aloud to Country. Speak your gratitude, your links, your network. Visualise where your water and food come from, send your mind out to those places, speak aloud to those places and thank them. Thread with words your sustaining relationships, your kinship and friendship networks.

Explore going back in time, visualise your parents, grandparents, great grandparents in their places, perhaps those places were this land, perhaps other parts of the world, but eventually come back into the place you now reside, and go deeper back, before colonial times, and visualise what you can of the land, peoples and all the many beings of this place. Imagine in to the deep history of place. Imagine in to Country.

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