talk that heals: using poetry to have a conversation with your muse

Jennifer Camp
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Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.

Some writing comes from a place deep within you. And sometimes the words aren’t ones you are looking for. They struggle out upon the page in an undignified mess. A topsy-turvy jumble of emotion that is difficult to decipher.

And you aren’t sure yet if you want to tiptoe near.

But your heart is drawn to the words. Curious. A little nervous. Maybe scared. But captivated. Compelled to get close. 

So your heart walks around the words for a bit. Sizing them up. Deciding whether they are safe or dangerous. False or true. 

And if there is any truth in them, then, yes, the words are indeed dangerous. But sometimes this danger is exactly what we need. Because occasionally, no matter how precarious it feels to venture into the unknown of our emotions, what else can we do? We must grab the words by the shoulders, shake them a bit if we have to, and let them know who is boss. “Come on, now! That’s all you’ve got? I’m not going anywhere. I can handle anything. Bring it on!”

So, are you ready to dive into this week’s poetry prompt? Here is what you are invited to do: Consider what it would be like to engage with yourself–or a different version of yourself: either a version of yourself at a different age or yourself in the present (today, yesterday. a minute ago, an hour ago, last week). What emotions rise up within you when you imagine yourself conversing with you/her? 

  • Compassion? 
  • Frustration? 
  • Empathy? 
  • Pain? 
  • Joy? 
  • Gratitude? 
  • Self-deprecation/Condemnation? 
  • Anger? 
  • Confusion? 
  • Shame?

How do you represent yourself to yourself? Are you a young girl, or an older version of yourself? 

What is the most burning question you’d like to ask yourself? What do you least understand about your personality, your choices, your ways of viewing/inhabiting the world?

How can she–this version of you–be your muse? How can she inspire your writings, invite exploration and excavation and imagination?

What is it like to be in the same room with her? How does she make you feel about yourself now?

Imagine her as your companion. What is your relationship with her? Is she separate from you or integrated into your present self in a way that you can understand, recognize and maybe even explain?

Can you write a poem about her–or to her?

Things to consider: 

  • a particular memory that illustrates her personality, her values, her view of the world
  • bringing that idea of her, whether it is a memory from long ago or perception of her that is more recent, to this present moment and having a conversation with her
  • or tell a story: isolate a snapshot and bring it to life with sensory details (sight, sound, touch, smell, taste) that make the reader easily participate in the scene with you.

Here is my go at it:

As I share in this video on Instagram, listen to your heart as you write. If you’d like, share here, on Instagram (use #looppoetryproject as your hashtag so I can find you) and/or in the Loop Poetry Project Facebook group. But don’t share if you feel like it will cause you to censor your heart.

The conversation you are about to have with yourself? It might be a tough one. Or it might not. One thing is for sure, the outcome is going to be beautiful. I hope I get to hear about it.

This post appeared originally at jenniferjcamp.com

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About Jennifer Camp

Jennifer Camp, co-founder of  Gather Ministries, and author of  Loop, grew up in the middle of an almond orchard in Northern California and now lives in the busy Bay Area with her husband and three kids. A former high school English teacher, she loves to write, but she especially loves to encourage people to seek and live out the truth of their story, their identity in Christ. You can find her writing at her blog, Jennifer J. Camp .You can connect with Jennifer on both  Facebook  and  Twitter. She would love to have you join her there.