The Circle of Our Family

“The problem with the world is that we draw the circle of our family far too small.” —Mother Teresa Share an experience in which you found this statement to be true—or false.

Manifesting My Creative Vision

“Every creator painfully experiences the chasm between his inner vision and its ultimate expression.” —Isaac Bashevis Singer Tell me how you get past the disappointment when you don’t yet have the skills to manifest your creative vision. Or a time you gave up because you weren’t good enough to actualize the thing you wanted to …

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Letting Go

“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the times comes to let it go, to let it go.” —Mary Oliver Tell me about a time this was true in your …

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My Relationship With Worry

“When I look back on all these worries I remember the story of the old man who said on his death bed that he had had a lot of trouble in his life, most of which never happened.” – Winston Churchill Tell me about your relationship with worry.

A Time I Invented My Future

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it.” – Alan Kay Tell me about a time you invented your own future.

A Material Thing I Love

“I do not believe in God. I believe in cashmere.” —Fran Lebowitz Tell us about a material thing you love. Let it rip. Write an ode—a love song—to that thing.

The Way Home

“The way home has always been there. It has stretched out in front of me but I have not had the eyes to see it. The way home is a broad, dusty road. There are curves and overgrown places. Forest pathways and granite cliffs. The way home is always lit—by sunlight, by moon light, by …

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A Mind That Is Stretched

“A mind that is stretched to a new idea never returns to its original dimension.” —Oliver Wendell Holmes Tell me about a time exposure to a new idea changed your life irrevocably.

An Unexpected Lesson

“Learn everything you can, anytime you can, from anyone you can—there will always come a time when you are grateful you did.” —Sarah Caldwell Tell me about a life lesson you learned in a completely unexpected way from a completely unexpected source.

My Many Lives

“I have walked through many lives, some of them my own, and I am not who I was, though some principle of being abides, from which I struggle not to stray.” —Stanley Kunitz, The Layers Respond to these three prompts, each for fifteen minutes. Do them in a row: Who I used to be Who …

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The First Writing Class

I just taught the first writing class of our Camino pilgrimage. I was blown away by the cohesiveness, intimacy, and presence of our group, right from the very first class. What an amazing group has gathered for this creative pilgrimage—what an amazing, as-yet-to-be-discovered journey we’re going to have together. And the tie-ins between writing and …

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A Risk I Took to Save Myself

In Wild, the author recounts her months-long hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, a journey that she took entirely alone after life as she’d known it had fallen apart. “It was a world I’d never been to and yet had known was there all along . . . one I’d staggered to in sorrow and …

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The Value of Excellence

“All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” —Martin Luther King, Jr. Tell me about something you do or have done with excellence. Describe it in detail, and with pride.

Welcoming the Editor

“I have made this letter longer than usual, because I lack the time to make it short.” —Blaise Pascal Take a first draft of something you have written, that you like, and cut it by a quarter. Then cut it by another quarter. Do four revisions, each time cutting it further. (It’s okay to add …

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Five-Minute Sprints

“I give assignments to my writing classes because it’s hard to make something up out of a clear blue sky. . . . It doesn’t have to be anything. It can contain a character who shows up out of breath. It can contain a lake and a bunch of swans. There can be conversation or …

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