Passion Fruit Writing: Exercise 1

Passion Fruit Writing

Rescue and Live Your Dreams

I learned that you should feel when writing, not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten, happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another. Brenda Ueland

First of all, I have to tell you something. My original text for this lesson was about 12 times the length of what you’re about to read. Coach Meg hinted that perhaps some of you would not have the time for a doctoral-length discussion about writing in your journal. So, I’ve broken it up into bite-sized pieces. Work on today’s assignment, and see what new ideas/insights come to you.

This is a small-group exercise. That means you are to participate by writing some response to the exercise, in addition to what you write for yourself. It is through interacting, even through a blog, that you profit from new perspectives.

I can already hear someone asking, “But, Laura, I don’t feel comfortable sharing my thoughts and insights on someone’s blog.”

The correct answer is, “Get over it already. We’re here to learn, to connect, and to experience insights about our own happiness. Take advantage of the opportunity!”

And one more thing before you begin. You might want to write down what it is you want to know about yourself. I know some of you want insight into lost passions or dreams. Some of you want to stop working so hard. (Amen.) So ask yourself, what would you like to learn from your own writing? That would be your intention for this project.

First step:

Write down your lifetime favorite 5 movies, books and television shows.

You can do a different list each day, or work on them simultaneously. Go on and write a title “My Favorite 5 Stories” and number 1 – 5 for your favorite movies, books and television shows. If you don’t watch TV, you can skip it. If you love poetry, write your top 5 poems.

If you only think of 4 stories, that’s fine. If you want to combine all media formats, that’s also fine. The objective is to find the stories that appeal to you deeply. It is especially valuable if you can remember what stories you loved before you got your career cranking, starting changing diapers, and all the other activities that sometimes feel like a hamster-wheel of activity.

It’s easy.

Now, here are some things you’re going to write about later in the week. These might be discussion questions, if we were meeting in my living room, on my apricot-colored faux suede sofa with big cushions.

  • Do you see any commonalities in these stories?
  • Describe what it is you love about them.

That’s all for today. Just think about movies and books that you love and write their titles down. Write down anything that comes to mind about these stories. What comes to your mind is what you’re supposed to write.

Happy Groundhog Day. We’re halfway through winter!

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10 responses to “Passion Fruit Writing: Exercise 1

  1. No matter what medium or genre, I enjoy character-driven, female-centered stories. Anything from “Jane Eyre” to Nora Roberts to “The Gilmore Girls”, as long as great storytelling and fully developed female characters are at the center.

    • Hi, Lindsey! Thanks so much for sharing. I can easily see that you are a thinker! As such, what specific qualities appeal to you in a well-thought-out female character? Imagine a story in which the leading character was based on you. Which actress would you like to play you? What kind of character development would you like to see? How would this character contribute? What makes her appealing. All right already, enough questions. Did this same type of character appeal to you when you were 11? When I was 11, “Maria” in “The Sound of Music,” fascinated me.

  2. I found 3 common themes in my list: comedy, adverture and mistery. I think I like how I feel at the end of the story and also I love the unexpected twist of the mystery stories.

    • I think what you’re seeing could be the desire to lighten up (or have more fun!), to be open to new experiences, the unexpected. Maybe you don’t like planning things out because you want to experience more adventure and mystery. Maybe you’re ready for something big and new in your life. Keep writing and you’ll get ideas — it’s not an overnight process. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hmmm….let’s see

    With things on my list like Dirty Dancing and Tuesdays with Morrie, I’m having a little trouble seeing the commonality.

    • Of course: romance with meaning. Romance/love with DD (and perhaps beauty) and in TWM, the themes of love, acceptance, happiness. being open, communication. Do you see any connection now?

  4. I’m confused, like Anna. I love Out of Africa, and then there’s Monster In Law, in which Jane Fonda and Wanda Sykes are hilarious… Hmm, maybe strong female characters who are not afraid to be themselves?

    • It’s great to hear from you! Definitely strong female characters appeal to you. Maybe each of these two movies has something different to tell you: one about humor and the other about adventure. It might be easier to see trends if you come up with a longer list of movies.

  5. couscous sylvia

    Hmm, movies: definitely A&E Pride and Prejudice, and Run Lola Run, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, and Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and Amelie … Books: A Suitable Boy, To Kill a Mockingbird, The History of Love … TV: Mad Men, Arrested Development, The Wire … I can’t think of five for each off the top of my head but that’s close. I guess I like color and strong/interesting characters? Definitely would love to have a colorful and interesting life…

  6. couscous sylvia

    How could I forget Veronica Mars? Best TV show ever, and featuring a kick-ass female lead to boot. Maybe that’s a theme too, I love kick-ass women.

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