ISI 2016 Day 1

Why do humans  write?

“Let us remember…that in the end we go to poetry for one reason, so that we might more fully inhabit our lives and the world in which we live them, and that if we more fully inhabit these things, we might be less apt to destroy both.” ― Christian Wiman

The Paradoxby Sarah Kay

When I am inside writing,
all I can think about is how I should be outside living.
When I am outside living,
all I can do is notice all there is to write about.
….
I spend most of my time wondering
if I should be somewhere else.
So I have learned to shape the words thank you
with my first breath each morning, my last breath every night.
When the last breath comes, at least I will know I was thankful
for all the places I was so sure I was not supposed to be.
All those places I made it to,
all the loves I held, all the words I wrote.
And even if it is just for one moment,
I will be exactly where I am supposed to be.
– Sarah Kay

Otherwise, by Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise….

But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.
—Jane Kenyon

Writing Invitation:

“Shape the words thank you” for that which could “be otherwise,” that someday “will be otherwise,” but is.   You can begin by making a gratitude list (a writing practice that is now research-correlated to happiness and well being), but then stretch yourself to

  • explore something unexpected that you are grateful for,
  • find a metaphor for something that you usually take for granted, or
  • write a wish-list for someone for whom it is otherwise today.
  • OR write about whatever else is burning on your heart this morning.
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About Lindsay M. Ellis

Director of the Lake Michigan Writing Project and Writing Across the Curriculum at GVSU
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