Compliments of Patrick Hoesly

Recently, I attended a creative writing class at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU). Sarah Felts helped us prime creative juices from within an attic full of thoughts. Our experience unexamined represents a ragbag of items. Unless we engage in the process of “sense-making” they may as well be stuffed in a drawer. Methodically penning life occurrence may not just be instructive to other people, but may shed light on what’s been hiding in our craw – unconsciously, beneath the surface. It’s when scenarios are sorted into “black and white” that we gain a different perspective: one broader than the time stamped notions we self-righteously wave before our peers. Do not judge unless you have walked in someone else’s shoes, unless you have undergone the formative experiences that, for better or worse, shaped them.

Visible warts may signify maltreatment – residue that continues to influence subsequent action. Where for art thou compassion, empathy, and affinity with our fellow man? Pushing against people does nothing but repel them, the opposite of what we wish to achieve. In Mindset, Dweck mentions she repaired the rift with her mother not by presenting her with a litany of wrongs, but by being the best daughter she could possibly be. When she changed, the situation magically transformed into the mother/daughter relationship she had always wanted.

Delineating frustration, resentments, and opportunities on paper acts not as a recipe for self-pity, but rather as a plan of action to improve our present circumstance. Penning what’s in our heads provides catharsis – a means of seeing the big picture, instead of the myopic snapshot lurking in our mind’s eye. If you have never written free hand, give it a try – and see where it takes you.

Bound books and blank pages provide a perfect repository for thoughts to crystallize.


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All viewpoints expressed by Jackie Gilbert are her own, and not of her employer.

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