Simplicity & Free-Flow Writing

When I think about simplicity and free-flow writing, I think about: 

  • specific, concrete language and The Elements of Style example: It rained every day for a week. vs. A period of unfavorable weather set in.
  • noticing without judgement, nothing to change, nothing to fix
  • what Natalie Goldberg wrote when a student died: "I find that finally when I distill my overwrought reactions, the truth has few words. I hurt or I miss her or no in the face of what I cannot change."

In this moment… 10:30 a.m. at the DMV, 8/6/18

In this moment, Maddie was just called outside to take her driver’s test. The radio over the speaker is on a commercial with a male voice talking so fast I can’t understand what he’s selling. “Number 106,” a teller calls. Feeling car-sick from riding in the back of the car for 45 minutes. I think she’s ready. Jolyn is in the bathroom and Maddie pissed me off telling me to stay quiet as she drove. I yelped loudly when she almost hit the pole pulling out of the tight parking garage and asked her why she sped up when she was doing such a good job inching her way back!!? "Mom, I only want to hear Jolyn’s calm voice" she ordered. That stung. I pouted in the back seat. But grateful for Jolyn’s calmness and interest in helping Maddie pass. It’s surprisingly relaxed and comfortable at this DMV. Soft, cushioned chairs. The kind woman who did our paperwork at the window. What is it about Oregon and friendly, gracious people – even at the DMV? Yes, definitely feeling car-sick – not going away yet. Maybe it’s nerves, too, hoping M passes. Jolyn failed her test the first time. I failed mine after living in NYC. Let it be easy. In this moment, I notice my stomach is tight. Breath deep. Soften.

I’m happy to report that Maddie passed her driver’s test. (Yay, Maddie!!)

And I’m happy for this month’s reminder to approach writing – and life – with an eye toward simplicity – for letting the words spill goalless, uncensored, and true across the page.

With love,

Want to write?
Take a pen & prompt journey:

writing prompt

driving test

1. Grab a pen & notebook. Write the prompt at the top of the page. Set a timer for 10 minutes. Or 5. Or 2!

2. Keep your pen moving as you write the thoughts, feelings, and images that arise. Don’t stop to think or edit.

3. Accept ALL that you write - the pretty + ugly; absurd + boring. Discover what wants to be felt, known, expressed, released...