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Observations of a Sick Fledgling Writer

Daily Engagement

I recently introduced a Daily Engagement exercise in my workshops. This deceptively simple exercise has produced some outstanding material which -- with the author's permission -- I am sharing with you.

In this second selection, (more than) fledgling writer, Lynn Gore, set herself a challenge to write in the rarely used second person voice. 


Observations of the past week; being sick is a strange activity.

You certainly don't feel like being creative when breathing and swallowing are a problem. You get up you gargle, you look in the mirror and hope things will be better once your hair is brushed.

Look again -nope still look sick. So you try gargling to alleviate the thickness in your throat. You think - it's been five days, I can't possibly still be so weak and disgusting. So you take a shower and get dressed,

The walk down the stairs has your head spinning and you are thankful to sit at the breakfast table. Head spins mildly; I guess I can, I guess I can make it to work, you chant to yourself. The mantra helps get you out the door.

Driving in the car you feel a little spacey, but manage to maneuver the curves and miss the strutting turkey - a sign of spring in this still snowy March.

Walking down the hall at work each noise seems amplified through your stuffed up ears. Are the students always this loud? No - it's got to be your imagination, it can't possibly be this bad everyday - why would you ever come to work?

Friends ask you how you feel - the smile actually hurts your cheeks and the resistance makes you wince. Another cup of coffee should help - as hot as they can serve it. Cuddling around the steam gives you an oasis for the next eight or nine minutes, then you start to sag downhill again.

What about today's observation?

Did you have one yesterday? What day was that? Oh, the day you decided not to get out of bed to see if you got better. Lost that day. Maybe you'll be more observant tomorrow.

You make it through - parents conference night which means staying until late - the heat shuts down at three pm. By seven o'clock you are frigid, the last conference is done, but you've got to stay until eight. Your hands go numb, you try out another cough drop and look at the clock again - good it's almost seven ten.

Did you have a moment of awareness yet?

Yoga Saturday - non violence is the topic. Non violence towards yourself and others. Be pleasant and honest, but quiet if you can't be pleasant. You feel better but still kind of numb.

This feels like awareness - lack of pain and mucus. You can breathe again - it is day eight of the killer cold.  Ok tomorrow you'll write something for class.

Got it - the sky is incredibly blue and true. Looking up doesn't hurt, breathing isn't a struggle. You are going to make it. Creativity will come back to you. So you pet the dog on the head-and she turns to offer her butt.

Next week you'll definitely have more moments - after all you can breathe and walk at the same time.

Life isn't so bad.


Lynn Gore

  • theCEEwerd

    great selection! i really enjoyed this! it sparked an interest....i can't wait to try this exercise....

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