felt sense writing workshop
Listening to The Stones singing Lady Jane ..one word after another ..bringing up memories one after another ..until I’m following them like stepping-stones. I’m back in college where I found sanctuary after the recklessness of high school. Taking refuge in a library ..finding solace in the words of William James and Alan Watts ..informing me I wasn’t as crazy as I thought. Days spend discussing the latest books by John Fowles and Kurt Vonnegut Jr. ..finding out who got into grad school and how. Nobody I knew wanted this to end. Playing ‘go’ in the courtyard until classes looked like a grid of black and white stones. Crowding around professors like reporters chasing clues. Spending Sunday discussing philosophy with a faculty adviser until late at night. Continuing at Hamburger Henrys’ until Monday morning and the beginning of a new cycle. I felt like an explorer with pith helmet and miner’s lamp ..nerd that I am.
Writing has been shown to replace ruminating. Ruminating is generally thought of as the mental activity devoted to replaying past traumatic experience. It is a well-known contributor to clinical depression. That’s why writing workshops are often included in the treatment of depression. However, ruminating over future events, such as taking a high-stakes exam or something, can be equally disruptive. In this case, ruminating often leads to “choking” where students perform more poorly than expected given their skill level, especially when there are large incentives for optimal performance and negative consequences for poor performance. University of Chicago Psychologist Sian Beilock has found that the simple act of writing about anxiety can significantly reduce students’ chances of choking, especially if it’s done just prior to test-taking [link].
Aria story: I’m follow a memory chain ~ starting with the sound of waves crashing outside of the big house ~ leading to images of pelicans dive bombing for fish off the coast of Santa Barbara ~ the sound of Karla yelling “bombs away” ~ watching And chasing birds on the beach ~ watching Andy chase Fred through the garage ~ Fred, a pet rat I inherited from Aria ~ Aria, the 15 year old daughter of Richelle ~ the morning Richelle came pounding on my door ~ crying ~ “Aria wrecked my car” ~ a beautiful cherry red BMW convertible with cream leather seats ~ I drive Richelle to the accident scene ~ where the car