proprioceptive writing.

in planning for the fall term, i came across a note to future self from past self. ‘try proprioceptive writing method in wrtg120.’ so here i sit with Vivaldi, revisiting Metcalf&Simon’s Writing the Mind Alive [2002] and planning a student workshop.

this method centers on process writing – not formal/crafted. the writing is done in a 25-minute burst [optimal for attentive focus] and should be set to baroque [the rhythm of which most resembles the human pulse, Ostrander&Schroeder, Super Learning]. candles in the room are ideal as a focusing tool and an opening/closing ritual, but we will have to do without them. as “a gesture of freedom,” writers use unlined paper [thinking sans should/ought].

What greater delight and wonder can there be than to leave the straight lines of personality and deviate into those footpaths that lead between brambles and thick tree trunks into the heart of the forest where live those wild beasts, our fellow men.  -Virginia Woolf, “Street Haunting

Three Rules

  1. Write what you hear
  2. Hear what you write
  3. Be ready to ask the proprioceptive question: “What do I mean by ______?”

The Four Concluding Questions (to be written down and then answered)

  1. What thoughts were heard but not written?
  2. How or what do I feel now?
  3. What larger story is the write a part of?
  4. What ideas came up for future writes?

next, paper should be dated and archived. best if the thoughts can be read aloud, even if only to self – to “hear what you write.”

other reminders:

  • writers are NOT performing [writing for self]
  • goal is not to “get past self” but to get in tune with self
  • the write is a literal record of reflections – you don’t have to like your thoughts to benefit from writing them down
  • “let the pen respond to you”
  • never edit the write, lift from it maybe, but never edit
  • writers write to construct their own inner world

outcomes: increased depth of authenticity in writing, practice with habits of mind, understanding of process writing/writing as generative/writing to understand/writing to learn what we think.

potential modification: incorporating Donna Strickland’s “looking at writing materials with intention” at start and a guided movement break at the 10 minute point

Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string. -Ralph Waldo Emerson

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