I love November. I unabashedly love it.
I’m just in from a morning walk that started out as exercise, but the beauty around me hit my pause button over and over again. My heart rate never got going, but my chill factor certainly did.
And then there was this…
The brilliant, flaming colours of October have passed and the world is cloaked in russet, ochre, raw and burnt sienna. Walking along my path this morning it felt like I was encased in amber.
November has so many wonderful memories for me, and one in particular came to mind this morning. I remembered when I was a child, how my father raked the spent leaves from our maple and elm trees into one big pile at the back corner of the yard, covering the same spot where our garden had thrived throughout the summer. By November the only things left were a couple of brown and broken corn stalks and a few blackened tomato plants waiting to be turned under.
Once he was satisfied the leaves were where he wanted them, my father struck a match and carefully placed it deep under the pile, while I watched, standing as close as I was allowed to, and waited for the thick curls of yellow-white smoke I knew would rise from the dead leaves.
And I remember the smell – that indelible smell of burning leaves. I thought this morning about the fact that this annual autumn ritual of my childhood – and maybe yours, is completely foreign to my children and grandchildren.
“I remember” is one of my favorite prompts I use in writing workshops. It never gets old, either, because we could never possibly write all our memories. It’s always interesting, too, to see what the unconscious offers when writers hear the words, I remember…
And, on the topic of workshops…
WHAT: 6 – week creative writing series
WHEN: Tuesday afternoons, Nov. 10 – Dec. 15 1:00 – 3:30
WHERE: My home, Cape Elizabeth – I’ll give you directions on registration
I’ll have coffee, tea and snacks here to nosh during our break.
There are a couple of places left, so if you’d like to participate, please email me and let me know: firstname.lastname@example.org
In my next series of blog posts I’ll write a bit about each of the essential practices of the AWA (Amherst Writers & Artists) workshop method. I’ll explain why they’re important and how they contribute to a safe, supportive and nonjudgmental environment that allows writers to explore their creative voice. I believe these practices not only make AWA unique, but also account for the great success and popularity of the workshop method over the past thirty plus years throughout the world. The Essential Practices:
- All work is treated as fiction to keep the focus on the writing rather than the writer.
- We keep all writing confidential.
- We respond to brand-new, just-written work with positive attention given to the strengths of the writing.
- The workshop facilitator writes along with the participants and shares their work at least once during the workshop.
I’ll leave you with a writing prompt today: When you think of November, what do you remember? You can begin your writing with I remember, or write a series of sentences that begin with I remember.
If you’d like to share your responses, you can post them here. I’d love to see them. Be well and keep writing.