February 13, 2008
In my Creative Writing classroom at Linfield College, we are using the book Writing and Being: Embracing Your Life Through Creative Journaling by G. Lynn Nelson. He poses an exercise: in personal quiet, search your body for places of tightness, feel where pain has created “fists,” and write that fist into a flower. I invited my students to first represent that fist in image, then transform it into a flower, and then move to writing that process.
I always work in the classroom with my students. This time, I imagined all of their fists together in the center, hands in different stages of unfolding to the flower they are, and as I thought of them, I drew.
I have often had the eerie experience of feeling that the classroom was my brain and the students all held within it, that my action of drawing or writing with them affected us all, moved us along through time as a more coherent whole, as I did on this day with this drawing.
This image, “Fists Into Flowers,” was like a Navajo or Tibetan sand painting–created in a room where I was centering others who were moving their emotional fists into flowers.