WELCOME to One Year of Writing and Healing, a site designed to explore a myriad of connections between writing and healing—and to facilitate your own exploration.
The site now has three primary doorways for exploration:
- Healing poetry
- Healing and writing ideas—what are sometimes called writing prompts
- A one-year guide to writing and healing, progressing month by month
I’ve had this notion from time to time that it could be rather wonderful to open a bakery, or a café, or perhaps a whole house, where a person could come, find a table by the window—get a cup of coffee or tea—and just write. No expectations. No pressure. But simply this idea of a place where writing could happen.
In the story by Hemingway, “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,” an old man sits on the terrace of a café at closing time. It’s late, but the old man, the last customer of the night, is reluctant to leave. A young waiter wipes off the old man’s table with a towel and tries to shoo him out. But a second waiter, older than the first, understands the old man’s need to linger. “Each night,” he says, “I am reluctant to close up because there may be some one who needs the café.” Not “someone,” Hemingway writes. But some one. Even one would be reason enough to keep the café open.
This site aspires to be that café.
My hope is that it might offer resources and inspiration—and perhaps, too, an imagined place that might facilitate your own writing and discovery.
I’m also interested in your feedback. This is very much a work in progress—and I would love for you to be part of that progress. You can contact me here or via Facebook (new) or simply via email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Below please find a few pieces that address possible questions you may have.
Photo by Pam Fray from Geograph. It’s described this way: “Doorway on the west side of the church of St. Mary Magdalen, Davington, near to Faversham, Kent, Great Britain. The door, usually locked, leads to the grounds of what remains of Davington Priory, now a private residence. It is open at present to offer refreshments to those visiting the Flower Festival in the church.”
As an experiment, I’m also, as of June 2016, going to be directing new posts to a Facebook page I created here. If you’d like to follow new posts from Facebook, you simply need to choose the Like button AND then use the dropdown menu to manage news feed and notifications.
Possible Answers: 1. The most true answer: No one knows. 2. What the research says: Studies have shown that as little as 60 to 80 minutes of writing—twenty minutes on three to four consecutive days—can create positive benefits when it comes to health. (For instance, in the study on fibromyalgia and writing, a mere sixty minutes of writing—twenty minutes on three days—led to a decrease in pain and fatigue and an improvement in psychological well-being four months after writing. This benefit was not sustained, though down the road, ten...
So often getting started is the hardest part. Sometimes one can begin simply by jumping in. Or wanting to jump in. Sometimes it can be enough to suspect there might be something of value here and then be willing to give it a try. To write as an experiment—and then see what happens. Here are five possible ways to begin the experiment: Freewrite Just write Design a healing retreat Start with once upon a time Start with gratitude Photo is from a print, Narcissus, by Deborah Schenck...
There are three pieces here that may be of particular interest if you’re considering writing about difficult experiences. The first is advice about what to do if writing becomes too painful. The second is a kind of preventive remedy and has to do with setting up lifelines. In the end perhaps what’s most important to remember is that you’re the one in charge—you’re the one who decides what you do and do not write about—you’re the one who decides how to pace yourself—and you’re the one who decides when...
I had for some time been mulling over a way to explore the possibilities in writing and healing. Then I happened across a book, Fern House: A Year in an Artist’s Garden. That whole notion—the cycle of one year in a garden—it called to me. The book is by Deborah Schenck, an artist from England, who, several years back, moved into a nineteenth-century house called Fern House in a small town in Vermont and began to transform the land around her house into a garden. Her book—mostly photographs and...
Not all writing is done with the intent of healing. And not all healing requires writing. Perhaps this is obvious–but perhaps it’s also worth saying upfront. I’m interested in the place where the two might overlap. The place where writing and healing might overlap. I’m also aware that each person’s area of overlap might be somewhat different. A tiny sliver? A wide swath? And, at this place of overlap–intersection–I found an article of particular interest: Writing Well: Health and the Power to Make Images. The article, written by Mark...