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Responses to Naomi Rose's Challenge to Write Long(er) Sentences
Challenge to Write Long Entries : Response by Judy Jahnke

Challenge to Write Long: Response by Judy Jahnke

Sahuarita, Arizona / USA

Naomi Rose comments:
This is really honest, alive, and beautiful. You can feel things opening up in the very moment of writing, as opposed to being thoughts put down. I found myself entering willingly into this writer's exploration, and feeling it as my own for the moment.
Writer's process notes:
For several years now I have been using daily, or near daily, journal writing to plumb the depths of my experiences, actions and feelings, which often turns into a new idea or awareness of self leading to personal growth. Writing this way is — for me — a spiritual experience akin to meditation or prayer. English and writing teachers I have had stressed "short and to the point. Don't waste words, etc." I remember being chastised and corrected for using "too long a sentence" or "unnecessary verbiage." I have read some of the authors you referenced, who used "lengthy sentences" and assumed, incorrectly I think, that this was a passť way to write. In any case, your challenge was one I undertook with relish. My natural way of writing, it seems, is to use more phrases and clauses, to be more descriptive, and to write the way I think from within myself using images that pop to mind. I love it! I feel like someone has unlocked a secret door that will lead to a whole new journey in writing. I have been freed to "go long and deep." It is a wonderful feeling.

Up, Down and Around: Circling the Deep

OK, I know I know how to do this even though I continue to ask why and allow myself to sink down with sad and/or scary thoughts. I can see me standing on the edge looking both into the dark abyss and simultaneously up and across to the mountain tops and the clear, blue sky. It is as if my mind's eye can do both at once. If I think I can, I can. What I see looking down into the dark are images of me walking around and around the inside of a bubbling volcano. I am more and more fatigued, feeling weighted by the effort as I desperately struggle to gain purchase — find enough energy to push up and over the top and out to a sense of safety; safety from the roiling brew below that could, at any moment, erupt up and out engulfing my whole being in it. There it is — the dreaded fear again! I force my eyes upward toward clarity of mind and the calm peace of deep, refreshing breaths as I search for the touch stone I know is always there, Spirit in me, around me — everywhere guiding and supporting me. I sense relief like a refreshing sip of water wetting my parched body and soul. Yes, I am safe after all. Actually I just have to let myself know I am safe all the time. My mind is so busy working its complex way around the tacky little details of my every day existence that I hardly notice when I start to inch my way along a path that divided itself into two directions, one up, ironically to the edge of "down," and one down to the depths of Spirit's loving guidance. Guess which one I chose today? With an unconscious reliance on what I feel, not what I think is real or right, I travel on, and here I am, again, circling the deep. •

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© 2011 Judy Jahnke. All rights reserved.

4/25/11