Finnian Burnett


I was blessed to sit in on a master class by poet Emily August on journaling practices for creative writers. It was a perfect blend of academic information, details about various techniques, and writing exercises to get us started.

One of the things Dr. August had us practice was automatic writing. Though I didn’t hit anything I’d consider a trance state, I did a free-form piece where I put the pen to paper and didn’t lift it for two minutes.

We started with the word “anarm” and this is what came from my brain.

Anarm. to fit or equip a person with armor or weapons, weapons of partial destruction, the destruction of our lives or our nation our one nation under no god a god that doesn’t exist, the gods, the goddess, goddess save us from the ravages of men of the patriarchal bullshit shoved down our throats into our voices, voices long sought to be silences, long silences, always silenced until we rage and open our mouths in an unending scream.

One great thing I took away from this workshop is that journaling is not there to give me great creative pieces. It’s separate from my daily writing *work* – instead, journaling is more like brain hygiene, a daily chore like brushing your teeth that you do because it’s good for you. I’ve been trying to keep to journaling daily but I have to admit I do skip sometimes. Maybe instead of week-long writer’s retreat, we should have month-long writer’s habit developing retreats. I feel if I got to spend a month with Emily August, waking up every day and journaling before breakfast, the habit would be instilled in my life.

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