Forest Horse (and Burro) Blog
Wednesday, June 07 2017
Writing (and a little drumming) with the Herd is for teenagers, adults, professional writers, scared nervous writers and people who have never written before but would like to try. The experience will involve trees, butterflies, donkeys, horses and birdsong. Each session of writing practice (5-10 minutes) will start with me or someone in the group reading a poem or paragraph or short essay that may be inspiring. We will use that as a springboard, and you can ignore the springboard to write about anything you want. We usually write 3-4 times.
The "rules" come from "Writing Down the Bones" by Natalie Goldberg. I love this book and recommend it because it takes much of the stress and performance anxiety out of writing.
"1. Keep your hand moving...
2. Don't cross out...
3. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar...
4. Lose Control...
5. Go for the jugular..."
After we write, each person may read what they have written to the group.. or not. Usually we read twice so that we can listen more clearly. The group can comment with phrases or words that catchtheir attention. No critique, no praise, no advice! Another unofficial rule is to read without prefacing your work with something like, "this really sucks but here goes..."
You are invited to bring a drum or rattle and we usually have extras. The donkeys have responded enthusiastically and noisily to a saxophone, and one time, some of us tried blowing a conch, which turned out to sound similar to a sickly hee haw. My mare, Kaya, especially likes drumming and will often position herself heart to heart with a drum and will lick the drumskins. (In the photo, Marcia is showing Kestrel her oatmeal container drum!)
The donkeys typically interact with us as we write in interesting ways--pooping, rolling, farting, munching, chewing on hats and just resting in their sandy rolling spots. Cinderella offers her particular brand of spicy humor and nudges us not to be so serious. The other donkeys (Kestrel, Ollie and Bunny) are gentler in their demeanor but are present and seem to enjoy having all of us in their world for the morning. Kestrel once ate a poem.
The experience involves walking for ten minutes down a hill to the "sacred grove" where we will set up chairs or blankets on the ground. We can be flexible if we know in advance that a hike might be difficult for someone planning to participate. Bring water, a notebook and pen and a musical instrument if you like. The next Writing With the Herd will be Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020 -- 1:30 to 3:30 pm.