Sunday, February 20, 2011

Explore, learn, create and define

The next morning I felt renewed and positively enthusiastic. I knew everything would be different. Charlie would smile and say hello to me instead of hitting his backpack against my head. Sonja would come and sit next to me and be my best friend again, and mommy would surely make me pancakes when I would come down all dressed by myself.

I ran to the sink, pushed the yellow washcloth under the faucet and with cold water rinsed my face. Cold drips ran refreshingly down into my neck. “Don’t forget the towel, Let’s not forget the towel...” I sang happily.

“... and then we brush our... TEETH.”

“Underpants, underpants, I want new underpants...”

I made a little pirouette in front of the closet and decided to dress in my purple princess dress with secret pockets where I could hide the little wish gems I certainly would find during the day. I finished my outfit with my little white ballet shoes and happily tripled down the stairs into the kitchen.

“Hello mama”, I said with my happiest smile making a big bow, my arm moving like a swan in grace.

Hello Mrs. Green. We made you some pancakes this morning. Go sit down at the kitchen table and we will bring them over to you. With big eyes I looked towards the uniformly dressed ladies behind the stove. “Where is mom?” I asked while moving towards my favorite brown kitchen chair.

“You look absolutely stunning this morning, darling....” The lady bringing the pancakes observes me from head to toe. “After breakfast we might want to dress you a little warmer. A purple coat and shoes is not enough for a lady...”

“I am a princes today. Can’t you see? I have to show mama!” A growl of my stomach made me realize I was hungry and with enthusiasm I poured a whole lot of maple syrup on my pancakes.

Excerpt by Iris Tuomenoksa


Psych is playing in the background. Mark has fallen asleep on the chair and I sit here energized from a nice coffee drink that I drank during our extraordinary evening dinner together. While still fully awake I decide to write my blog article.

In last weeks writers group I read the ten-minute writing exercise that I posted above after which an animated discussion followed. We all had a different opinion about this first introduction of this character and the setting she was in. Was it about a little girl in the care of others because something happened with the family? Was it an old lady with Alzheimer? How and why did we interpret the story the way we did? It was a fun inspirational night.

Afterwards the story stuck in my mind, probably because the oddity and the possibility of it. I believe there is an old lady with a young mind in this story. Even though the girl is very engaging in this piece, I think if we would be able to observe the situation longer we would find out the old lady can no longer speak. When the nurses look in her eyes they see... I don’t know. Maybe fear for someday becoming like the oddly dressed silent lady. Maybe they see love, their own love reaching out to the lady she once was. And in meanwhile no one knows about the little girl.

I have found that our daily writing exercises bare parts of our inner souls. During the writing we unveil ourselves, and creativity pulls from what is there to mold ideas into written art. I created the girl, the old lady and the people taking care of her and in some funky way they all express something about how I see the world.

If I look at this piece as if everything is about me, there are so many confronting questions. Do I have a little girl in me that no one knows? If so, why? What does she mean with “I knew everything would be different”. Is this an optimistic characteristic of the girl, or is it an expression of her sorry state? What was going on with Charlie and Sonja? What was going on with the caregivers calling her Mrs. Green?

Isn’t this totally fascinating? We can use any form of expression, like writing, drawing, singing, running, moving, and find thousands of new possibilities to explore, learn, create and define.

What tools do you use to explore, learn, create and define yourself?

Have a great Sunday!

1 comment:

  1. Iris, as we we've been developing our craft in Jenny's writing jam sessions, it's become clear that you are able to tap into creative streams that many of us cannot.

    As you read your little ten minute exercises, we follow wondering who's who, what's really going on and what will happen next. It's just amazing how you move so easily from one situation and character set to a completely different one.

    My thought is that, when writing, you allow yourself the freedom to pursue your thoughts wherever they take you. Not only do you go to wonderful places, but as a side effect, your craft improves.

    When I read your post, I was struck by how, just a few years a go, you were struggling with the basics of English. Whatever it is you're doing, it's working.

    Love, Teflon


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