Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Writing Begins With The Breath-- Laraine Herring-- Thoughts

Writing Begins With the Breath Embodying Your Authentic Voice by Laraine Herring

This afternoon, I sat drinking tea and eating almonds. I also was doing writing exercises from Writing Begins With The Breath. Each chapter is quite short and concise. In each chapter there are short easy body exercises to increase awareness; open and close your palms like a book, check your pulse, breathe in and out from your nostrils eight times on each side. They are easy things, but focused on paying attention.

At the end of the chapters are writing exercises. Maybe three or four of them. They are designed to get you to pay attention to different aspects of your writing; relationships, acceptance, empathy, body as source, ancestors as source, and many other topics. I have spent about an hour each day doing the exercises from a chapter. They dredge out emotions, feelings, and ideas many of them you didn't know you had. It has been both frustrating and enjoyable doing these exercises.

I write them out long hand on a folded in half piece of paper. This gives me four sections to write on. I don't keep a journal. I like to keep things jumbled together in a small pile. Among the responses, I include some poetry. These are not great poems. They are about my inner life. I have three more of them. Some would call them unplanned sloppy. In a way, they were written as part of a simple exercise.


There is a shadow
It follows me everywhere I go
I think it likes me


Soft and stinky runny cheesy
Brown, gooey, full of red earth worms
It replenishes the world


Wonderful reeking smell that
Drives away vampires and businessmen
Keeps away colds and kisses

I have finished some 15 chapters in this book and still have far to go. Sixteen days of reading is far more than I usually do on any book. I find this book fascinating because it combines psychology with creative writing with awareness exercises. I have many more chapters to go. I may renew the book so I can redo some of the exercises.

I have found many of the exercises to be quite helpful in improving the quality of my writing and self expression. I am beginning to think of my voice as my shadow which follows me everywhere and is with me all the time.

The author Laraine Herring has an MFA in Creative Writing and a MA in counseling psychology. I have not read her two novels and her counseling books, so I can't really comment on them. This is her blog: http://laraineherring.blogspot.com/ . The writing is crisp, clear, and readable.

The book is published by Shambhala which produces many quality meditation, new age, buddhist, texts on mysticism, and other esoteric titles.

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