Writing prompts from my teen years. Part 1.

Recently, I found this little jar, with a mistletoe print, and red ribbon. Inside: writing prompts.

Writing prompts I got possibly at camp as a teen. The fabric on the jar has turned a bit yellow.

Welp, it’s been about 20 years. Maybe I should crack it open and see:

What has been my favorite family vacation? Why?

My favorite family vacation we just took last summer to Park City. We showed our kids the mining museum there, and took them through the gift shops and arts galleries there. It’s my favorite because it was with just my partner and both of my kids, and I was mentally well enough to be present and enjoy it.

Am I a good listener? How can I improve this?

This is something I am working on. I genuinely love to talk to folks and hear their stories, but I do have a neurodivergent tendency to immediately empathize and interject that I too do x, y, or z. Being conscious of it helps me remember that folks don’t need that immediate validation, and that there may be something else they are meaning to say, that I don’t want to miss. So I need to listen.

What does my bedroom look like? Do I share a room? Am I comfortable in my room? What do I like best about my room?

My bedroom has a whole wall lined with shelves and books. I love that part the best I think. I share the room with my partner and husband. I’m very comfortable in here. Happy. We have a couch and tv under the loft bed my partner built, and a window that looks out on the Great Salt Lake, as well as a TV where I can game and watch whatever I’m in the mood for.

Write about something you are grateful for.

I am grateful for my recovery from the worst part of my life. I think without it, I wouldn’t have the presence of mind to be grateful for so many other things including my family, time spent with my kids and my husband. My ability to go outside and notice the details of the leaves, all of it. For years I couldn’t enjoy the moment. I’m grateful for the ability to do so.

What’s my best subject in school?

This jar was given to me when I was a young kid. In fact the expiration date on the lid inside (the fabric covering the top was covering a Gerber Baby lid) is January of 2001. I’m guessing I must’ve gotten this in the 90s. Maybe I was 13 or 14? Thinking back, my favorite subject around that time was probably my creative writing class in middle school. I wrote a poem my teacher got into the school newsletter. It was about a woman warrior who fights to the death and doesn’t live to see the positive benefits of her sacrifice.

Results of this exercise: I’m glad I waited until now to open it. Plan on doing some more soon.

The Fool

My favorite card in the tarot is The Fool. In the iconic illustration by Pamela Coleman Smith, the observer sees a young man taking a seeming precarious step near the edge of a precipice, looking upward, appearing engaged in the dance of life.

Illustration by Pamela Coleman Smith

In fact, this card isn’t necessarily considered the beginning of the journey through the rest of the major arcana in the tarot, rather, this is the journeyer. The Major Arcana is sometimes referred to as “The Fool’s Journey.”

For me that card also represents the full creative potential of any moment, and how in tune you may or may not be to that potential. Many times, we are everything that’s getting in our own way, our thoughts get in our own way…

“Man suffers only because he takes seriously what the gods made for fun.”

Alan Watts

This archetype has been compared to living at one with the Tao as well. Not being bound by the wisdom of the world but being fully immersed in the dance of the Cosmos so that you can fully experience the moment without those troublesome thoughts which aren’t who YOU are.

A little photoshop experiment of mine when conveying this card.

The spirit of this card has been with me the past year as I’ve come to embrace my creativity through art and pinback buttons. I’ve allowed myself to play, to create, to express myself when so often I had been told to be quiet throughout my life. It has been enormously healing and given me the confidence to try new things, and trust that my brain is still healing after quite a few years of some traumatic events.

There is also wisdom in recognizing there our limits to our own knowledge, that in life we are all fools. Denying this aspect of ourselves leads to lives full of unnecessary seriousness and less play. Rediscovering my inner child has been huge for me the last year. And when I knew less about the world (when I was a kid), I knew more about what it meant to dream, dance, make stories, be creative.

I used to have a Tamagotchi that was a bright neon pink. Like the pinback button I designed here. I made art of the death screen. I thought it would make a perfect button for my kid self. I don’t know what happened to it (my actual Tamagotchi) other than that I accidentally left it in a public restroom when I was attending some sort of public event. I think of that thing quite a lot actually. . .

What dreams lie deep within your heart that have been smothered by the burdens that come with adulthood? Or the life traumas that have discouraged you? What light shines inside? The one kindled before all of your learned “wisdom and knowledge”?

And if you’ve read this far, I just want to let you know, you are a unique and creative and irreplaceable expression of the universe. I hope you can be foolish enough (and brave enough) to see what you are capable of when you aren’t worried about what others may think, and I hope you can be brave enough (and foolish enough) to suck at something new.

Further Reading…

https://www.organism.earth/library/document/the-joker

http://xtf.lib.virginia.edu/xtf/view?docId=DicHist/uvaGenText/tei/DicHist4.xml;chunk.id=dv4-70;toc.depth=1;toc.id=dv4-70;brand=default

https://www.gutenberg.org/files/30201/30201-h/30201-h.htm