Death on My Shoulder

“Living a self-conscious life, under the pressure of time, I work with the consciousness of death at my shoulder, not constantly, but often enough to leave a mark upon all of my life’s decisions and actions. And it does not matter whether this death comes next week or thirty years from now; this consciousness gives …

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Blind Spot

“To see what is in front of one’s nose requires a constant struggle.” –George Orwell Tell me about a time you couldn’t see something that was happening in your life—that everyone around you could see—but was a blind spot for you.

The Benefit of Being a Fool

“Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself.” –Charlie Chaplin Tell me about a time you were willing to make a fool of yourself—to take a risk where you knew you could fall flat on your face. Tell us the story of the risk and what happened after.

Let the Rain Pour Down

“Good writing is supposed to evoke sensation in the reader – not the fact that it is raining, but the feeling of being rained upon.” –E.L. Doctorow Write a piece that takes place in the rain. Make the rain a crucial component of the story.

Does Suffering Lead to Creativity?

“The artist is extremely lucky who is presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill him. At that point, he’s in business.” –John Berryman What do you think of Berryman’s idea? If you’ve experienced trauma in your life, do you think it’s fueled your creativity? Has it given you important material for …

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In the Shelter of Each Other

“It is in the shelter of each other that people live.” (Irish proverb) –thanks to Victoria Zackheim for this quote Tell me about someone whose protection or shelter made a real difference in your life.

The Power of Ideas

“If I have an object and you have an object and we exchange them we both have an object. If I have an idea and you have an idea and we exchange them, we both have two.” –Chinese proverb Tell me about a time a new idea changed your life.

Standing Up Against Injustice

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” –William Faulkner Tell me about a time you stood up against injustice—or when you wish you had but couldn’t find the courage at …

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Something I Heard By Chance

“Words heard by chance have been known to change lives.” –Phil Cousineau, The Art of Pilgrimage Tell me about a time you experienced this—when something you overheard—changed your life. Or when someone overhearing you did the same.

A Thread of Purpose

“I don’t need to create my life. I only need to follow the thread that’s already there.” –source unknown Tell me about a positive thread in your life that has always been there. Even if you couldn’t see it at the time–but only in retrospect–tell me about one thread that has woven through your life …

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