Can six writers gather together for a three-hour workshop and create a project that has no writing? Not a smidge of a word? Yes, if they are at a SoulCollage® workshop led by Penelope Starr writer, storyteller, artist, and certified SoulCollage® facilitator. https://www.penelopestarr.com
It has been almost a week since I was one of six writers at the workshop and I am still feeling the good vibes.
SoulCollage® is creative process to tap into intuition and create community. It has so many layers of possibilities from random images collaged and then seeing what the collage tells the creator, to creating a collage card or deck with a theme in mind. Think seasons, career options, family, chakras. And more. https://soulcollage.com
There was no prep, no book to read beforehand. SoulCollage® uses images to spark, invite, tweak intuition in creating a “card.” For me it called for letting go of an expected outcome, a plan, an agenda.
We were six writers in the workshop-the intimacy and safety created by our workshop facilitator. Penelope gave a good explanation about SoulCollage® and shared some of her card decks. We had intros all around, and a brief collective breathing to focus on being open to… I thought of it as being open to soul or intuition or self.
Our first creation held no particular instruction other than to see what images appealed to us and how we arranged them on our card boards. For our second card we used the theme of our writing. Suggestions- What’s happening in your writing now? Is there a character who needs developing? Are you stuck? Is life interfering with your writing?
The question I asked myself was “What’s next?” I am at a crossroads in my writing. Having focused on writing books, blogs, and articles, and speaking about writing and coaching emerging writers for 20 years, I am restless. Restless to move off somewhere with — what? Words, storytelling, another book?
Then we moved to the images tables to sift through and choose from all materials (tons of magazines and images, scissors, glue, and mat boards) to create our individual collage. No words or text used at all. I made a beautiful “card” which actually gave me the confidence to continue being open to a new direction with what I have called “my love affair with words.” My finished product wasn’t clear-cut, no Step 1, 2, 3. But there was a feeling of “it is all right.” This is relatively new for me. Not to have Plan A and fallback Plan B. As a writer, it was different to “see” what emerged.
A Satisfying Experience
After we made our writer-not-using-words card we formed dyads and verbalized what our card told us starting with “I am one who…” the card reflecting whatever needed to be expressed. Our dyad partner acted as scribe and wrote down (okay, so there was some writing, but only as an accounting) what we said. It was very positive, and an extraordinarily moving experience for me. We displayed all the cards and shared how ours “spoke” to us.
My SoulCollage® day reminded me of traveling in Tunis-being immersed in a different geography, a place with layers of history and beauty. I really had little knowledge of Tunis other than a long long time ago Tunis was Carthage. I just was there and looking around and feeling like I belonged and yet a bit in awe. SoulCollage® was like that- and an experience I know I’ll have again.
Ethel Lee-Miller blogs regularly about people, the power of words, and the writing life. She’s retired from professional writing gigs after 30 years of teaching, coaching, editing, and gathering writers to publicly share their work. She is the author of Thinking of Miller Place, and Seedlings, Stories of Relationships. In retirement she writes to inspire, to connect with folks, and for the pure enjoyment of it. Ethel enjoys sharing stories at Odyssey Storytelling, Zoom gatherings, and anywhere there’s a Zoom mic.