Word lists. I’ve gone back to these in my journal. Actually I haven’t journaled in a while, mostly haven’t had the time, but I read the poem The Testing Tree by Stanley Kunitz and got inspired. The images are so strong. Here’s an excerpt:
Around the bend
that tried to loop me home
dawdling came natural
across a nettled field
riddled with rabbit-life
where the bees sank sugar-wells
in the trunks of the maples
and a stringy old lilac
more than two stories tall
blazing with mildew
remembered a door in the
long teeth of the woods.
All of it happened slow:
brushing the stickseed off,
wading through jewelweed
strangled by angel’s hair,
spotting the print of the deer and the red fox’s scats.
My word lists are associative; I pick a random topic and jot down everything I can that connects to this topic. Some of my topics and examples are:
Underneath Things – fuzzy, deep, dark, dusty, patient, forgotten, alone, stringy, frayed, rough, low, hairy, secret, small, misfit, shadows, honest, sad, watchful, waiting, harbinger
Cat Things – tip-tapping, warm, dancing skin, graceful, gray, patient, watchful, kneading, dusty, hungry, happy, slapping, curious, brave, true, wise
I often see a connection between my lists, which sometimes prompts me to do some explorative writing.
What about you? Do you make word lists? How do you journal?