Creating connections through the arts and across cultures

Writing Prompt List from Riehl’s “Always Coming Home” workshop in Texas

Rose Homecoming Journals

In the "Always Coming Home" workshop I gave at the Land Full of Stories Conference we began by generating a list of writing topics we could write on when we returned to our homes. Each woman had a new journal to write in with a rose on the front in full bloom--her homecoming journal. We worked round-robin. Each woman wrote a line of memory and passed the journal on to the next woman so that at the end, we had a line from each person, with different lines in each journal.

Do you remember that game you played in the car on the way to wherever and nowhere? "Categories...such as...." as you tapped your knee and clapped your hands. Generalizing outward, the categories here include: outside your house, what your body felt, food, privacy, sex education and curiosity, gardening and harvesting.

In addition to generating a list of writing prompts on the subject of home and family, this "I remember technique" elicits lyrical images which have a quality of a list poem. The exercise can be done with "I remember" at the top of the sheet or "I remember" at the beginning of each line.

For each line, you could ask the question, "and what is it that I remember about this?" (about the first bedroom I had to myself, for instance) and you're off!

If this exercise seems familiar to you, it's an adaptation of the exercise I used for the workshop in Boulder at the "Integrating Spirit and Caregiving" Conference for Naropa Institute. There, the "I remember" exercise turned into a group poem which I posted.

I REMEMBER

I remember the green fuzzy bricks in the patio,
my toes squishing in the mud.
Watermelon.
My first bedroom to myself.
Finding out about the facts of life
and wondering if the minister and his wife next door
"did it."
Gleaning peas from the leavings.
Picking blackberries in the field.

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1 Responses »

  1. Love the idea of having a journal to take home at the end of the workshop.

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