walking and writing

There’s something about walking that makes it a wonderful way to stimulate creativity. Going barefoot magnifies the creative potential. Maybe that’s one reason why children are so wonderfully creative — they aren’t afraid to allow themselves to be stimulated by the world in ways that adults shield themselves from.

I used to walk to work and back every day, 15 minutes in the morning and 15 minutes in the afternoon. Sometimes I let myself be a little eccentric, walking barefoot and talking to myself. I’m sure people thought I was strange. In fact, one man even told me so! But others found me more approachable this way — I made a few friends I wouldn’t have met otherwise.

I also wrote more poems than I would have otherwise, composing them in my head as I walked.

{today’s exercise}

Take a walk. Breathe in your surroundings, and breathe out all the distractions you left at home. Try not to allow the weather to be an excuse not to walk. Don’t be afraid of exposing yourself to something a little uncomfortable. The walk doesn’t have to be long; simply walking to the end of your street and back can be enough. The idea is to go outside and open yourself up to the world around you. Write a little poem inspired by your outing. Maybe you write it outside, or maybe you go back in to record your thoughts. Either way, let your poem help you to take a little of the outside with you.

{my process & my poem}

For some reason, it’s hard for me to record my ideas during a walk, whether I try to stop and write them down or use a dictation app on my phone. It works best to simply allow the ideas to percolate until I arrive at my destination and can focus on writing. Because of this, I arranged my schedule so that when I arrived at the office I had some time that I could dedicate to personal writing projects before beginning work for the day. This is one of the poems that I composed as I walked, then recorded and edited later.

I walk to work barefoot
Why?
Why not?

Why do you not walk to work?
Why not choose a home
near enough to where
you work and play
to walk?

Why do you wear shoes?
Why, when we have smooth sidewalks and soft grass
do you put plastic on your feet?
Why don’t you want to feel the earth –
the dust from which you came?

I’ve learned a lot walking to work barefoot
How being eccentric can actually make you more approachable

Which leads to meeting that grandma
who’s agreed to provide daycare for her youngest grandchildren
but only until she says a harsh word to them
because she wants the best for them

And that couple from Holland
who not only raised two children of their own
but invited in five girls pregnant with fatherless little ones
to live until they got their feet back under them

I think I know why we’re afraid to walk to work barefoot
We want to protect ourselves

We wear shoes and go from house to car to office to car to house
to avoid feeling
what might be uncomfortable

We strive to maintain a sense of control
to avoid dirty feet
or losing track of time chatting with a neighbor

But what’s so bad about a little mud and conversation?