IMPROMPTU #45: Bright Hawks

"Some memories I would give anything to forget.
Others I would not give up upon the point of
death, they are the bright hawks of my life."

- Mary Oliver

Reflect on the "bright hawks" of your life. Maybe write down two or three of them. Or four or five. Maybe write a poem called "Bright Hawks" (but make sure you give credit to Mary Oliver). 

IMPROMPTU #40: Ceremony


ceremony doesn’t change you
the old woman said
you change you

is just the trail
you learn to follow
until you reach the place
where that can happen

I became an Indian after that

- Richard Wagamese


Today's prompt, prompt #40, is "ceremony". 

Free and open to any interpretation. Inspired by this poem by the late great Richard Wagamese. 

I talked a bit about Richard Wagamese in IMPROMPTU #1. He is one of my greatest inspirations, and I give him credit for changing the way I think about writing. In a workshop that I took with him two years ago, he said, "writing is not struggling." He talked about how when we first took charge of language, we were spontaneous people, telling stories around the fire. Children, when they acquire language, see wide open opportunity — they tell stories freely and spontaneously. They roll with that energy. And then, eventually, other people's judgement narrows it. He talked about how, as storytellers, we need to try to capture that energy, to go to it, to remove doubt, to say yes to our ideas. This is no easy task, and it is something I have by no means even come close to mastering. But it is something I keep in the back of my mind when I'm writing, something that helps me to change my perspective, even slightly, when I start to struggle. Richard's voice telling me to say YES to my ideas.

I owe him a million thanks. And I will always remember how he reacted when I told him I was from Kenora, Ontario, his first hometown. I will always remember him telling me he was "my friend from Kenora." Richard, you will never be forgotten.