A year ago I joined a small writing group in my local community. Since writing has been a lifeline for me, this felt like a way to focus on and develop my practice. The most powerful part of being in the group for me has been reading out our writing. It’s a scary and vulnerable thing to do. Seeing how completely different each person’s style is has been fascinating too. It’s been hard not to compare and feel intimidated by the writing skills of some people in the group .. but it’s also a good process of self acceptance.
At the beginning of this year, one of our members did a week long writing course as part of Bellingen’s Camp Creative. The course, Writing Your Life Story, used archetypes as a means of delving into the layers of your life’s journey with the intention of gaining insight and self understanding.
Using the archetype prompts, we did some short (15 minute) writing stints during some of our group meetings. We looked at four of the archetypes – the innocent, the orphan, the lover, and the seeker.
Here is my response to The Innocent:
I don’t remember feeling innocent .. naive .. carefree .. vulnerable .. although I remember feeling the sense of loss as I moved into puberty and felt like I’d missed out on my childhood and wanted to do everything to stop becoming ‘grown up’. That’s when I became anorexic and sought to delay the onset of puberty indefinitely, including plucking out every pubic hair. When I left home at 18 to travel overseas I felt like I had the chance at having the childhood I felt I’d missed. Perhaps I had my innocent phase then .. and perhaps I can pluck a story from that time in my life. In fact, though I say I was never innocent .. I think also that I’ve always been innocent .. choosing to do things that defy grown-up logic and practicality. In my architecture studies I refused to design buildings with square walls. What the world needed, I believed, were more ‘organic’ forms .. forms outside of conventional construction .. forms that allowed for a different experience of the world, a more sensual and visceral experience as opposed to the mental regularity of what was expected.
Do you enjoy writing? You might like to try this exercise too.
– and send me your response if you want to. I’d love to read it!
(Prompt: The Innocent: early childhood, highly optimistic, naive, concerned with happiness more than anything else, desire to be free and happy and keep life simple, carefree …)
Set your timer for 15 minutes. Go!