Words Are Not Bricks

IMG_0023-2webLast week, I had the opportunity to visit some students at the Dayton Regional STEM School’s STEMmersion program and ramble a bit about writing (that’s me rambling in the picture above). These students are spending a couple weeks with STEM faculty to explore nature through meditation, outdoor activities, and journaling.

I was so impressed with the enthusiasm and creativity of these young writers! We used one of my favorite writing prompts, Seed Poems/Seed Stories (which I explain here), only this time we used upcycled pages from my favorite wilderness conservation organization, the Arc of Appalachia. Using the Arc’s profound words as a launch pad, we first crafted haikus and then lines of dialogue.

The big point that I wanted to make with the Seed Poems, and what I want to impress upon you here, is that word are not bricks.

A lot of potential writers get turned away from the craft because they see words as rigid structures that must be stacked precisely to build these imposing walls of text.

Um, a world of hell no.

Words are not bricks. Words are softer than that, more organic. Words are clay. Words are paint. Words do require precision and effort, sure, but they can also be messy and fun. They can also be broken down and recycled into new structures, like with the Seed Poems we created.

So, as you sit down to type out your words, see them as clay. And whatever you do, don’t let them harden.

I’d like to close this post with a big shout-out to STEM student Callie Hester, who was kind enough to share with me (and all of you) a couple Seed Poems she crafted using sentences from the first chapter of my debut novel, That Risen Snow.

Check out the awesome:

Her hair black as night
Eyes, blue as the sky
Usually she dances
Sky with her
Blue, skies
Are now gray
Now, she won’t return the same
Black night becomes morning light
Pupils darken as the days go by
Floating like a cloud
In the sky
Twin orbs of horror
Pools of tears running down her face
Of what dreams may come?
Blood pouring out her mouth, no she won’t return the same

Her skin as cold as ice
Lips red from blood
Twist and turns from her worries
In a deep sleep like a coma
A sleep that she will never awaken from
Sneering as she runs away forever

Thanks so much, Callie!

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