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I'm doing a little bit of writing with some adult learners (there may be some high school students in this class as well)--just ten minutes or so. I don't have any pedagogical reason to believe this is beneficial, except for believing that when people have pleasant experiences doing something, then that thing becomes less daunting. In other words, maybe, if the students enjoy this time writing, they'll feel more able to tackle the sort of writing you need to do to clear the hurdles in front of them. But even if that's not the case, I think people deserve a chance and a place to try out writing, just for its own sake and their own sake. So.

My first prompt for them was this quote from Fred Rogers: "You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind," which I recalled from this autotuned song made from that and other remarks of his.

I showed them some gardens.

A garden in Holyoke, created by "self-proclaimed plant geeks":


(Source)

Randyland, the garden created by Randy Gilson, a waiter and son of a single mom, in Pittsburgh, PA:


(Source)

The magic gardens of Isaiah Zagar in Philadelphia:


(Source)

The blooming Cadillacs at the Cadillac ranch in Amarillo, Texas:


(Source is this Google image, whose original location is given as this video.)

The famous Zen garden at Ryōanji, in Kyoto, Japan:


(Source)

And I said, even when you think a place is barren, nothing growing, life pushes through, like in this parking lot in Boston:


(Source)

And then I asked them--what's growing in the garden of your mind? Several people wrote that they felt like the parking lot and talked about worries, but one wrote about a painting she's planning, and another compared his mind to a potato (and gave me a diagram to show it growing). It was wonderful.

What's growing in the garden of *your* mind, these days?

This entry was originally posted at http://asakiyume.dreamwidth.org/863028.html. Comments are welcome at either location.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Sep. 21st, 2017 10:19 pm (UTC)
What a terrific idea!
asakiyume
Sep. 21st, 2017 10:36 pm (UTC)
It was amazing fun to plan for, and really fun to see what people wrote, too. Some people understood the metaphor and talked about stuff in their minds, and others were excited by the garden aspect and wrote about what they'd like to grow--one woman wanted to grow strawberries and raspberries because her kids like to eat them :-)
heliopausa
Sep. 22nd, 2017 01:50 am (UTC)
Absolutely, absolutely about writing, and how something being a pleasure at one time and in one context might help it be less daunting in another context. Good for you, doing such things!

And my mind? Saline intrusion in the water table, I'm afraid! But I think it can recover... and there's always the interesting possibilities of a salt-marsh garden. :)
asakiyume
Sep. 22nd, 2017 03:36 am (UTC)
But I think it can recover... and there's always the interesting possibilities of a salt-marsh garden.

I like that! Nice save! (You could grow a mangrove!)

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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