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Writing and Healing Idea #21: Meanwhile

Posted on Jan 16, 2007 by

What I like best about Mary Oliver’s poem, “The Wild Geese,” is the way it manages to hold two such vastly different things in such an apparently simple poem. Despair and the wild geese heading home. Not just one or the other. Both. She manages the juxtaposition of these two things—the leap from the one to the other—with that single word: meanwhile. And, in so doing, the poem itself becomes a kind of invitation.

First a literal invitation: “Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.”
And, then, an invitation to consider what else might be happening meanwhile.

So, the writing idea—-
Write for ten or fifteen minutes about a moment of despair—it can be your own despair, or someone else’s, or it can be a fictional moment—a character, perhaps, experiencing a moment of despair.

And then—stop—and skip down a line or two and write about some of the things that might be happening meanwhile—-

You can read more about “The Wild Geese” here.