Creative Writing: Begin with the Body | Chelsea Hodson | Skillshare

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Creative Writing: Begin with the Body

teacher avatar Chelsea Hodson, Writer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Class Overview


    • 2.

      Class Project Overview


    • 3.

      Personal Experience - "Pity the Animal"


    • 4.

      Discussion of Poem by Camonghne Felix


    • 5.

      Discussion of Poem by Natalie Diaz


    • 6.

      Discussion of Essay by Mary Ruefle


    • 7.

      Discussion of Short Story by May-Lan Tan


    • 8.

      Discussion of Short Story by Scott McClanahan


    • 9.

      Personal Experience - "Second Row"


    • 10.

      Class Project Instructions


    • 11.

      Editing Demonstration


    • 12.

      Final Thoughts


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About This Class

Often in creative nonfiction, it’s difficult to know where to begin. Which memory do you start with? How do you make sense of the stories you want to tell? These kinds of questions can be paralyzing, but this class, led by essayist Chelsea Hodson, discusses the possibility of using the body itself as a writing tool and a place to begin. Chelsea will discuss a few of her favorite examples of writing about the physical body—everything from poems to essays to short stories. She'll also demonstrate her editing process in real time and discuss her own experiences regarding writing without expectation. 

In under 45 minutes, this class can show you new ways to think about writing memoir and the Class Project can also help you overcome any writer’s block you’re experiencing. No prior knowledge is neededthe class is designed for task-motivated beginners, but will work just as well for more advanced writers. Let's get started!

Meet Your Teacher

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Chelsea Hodson



Chelsea Hodson is the author of the book of essays Tonight I'm Someone Else and the chapbook Pity the Animal. She teaches at Bennington College and she co-founded the Mors Tua Vita Mea workshop in Sezze Romano, Italy. She has been awarded fellowships from MacDowell Colony and PEN Center USA Emerging Voices. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, Frieze Magazine, Hazlitt, and elsewhere. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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1. Class Overview : My name is Chelsea Hodson. I'm a writer, the author of the chap book Pity the Animal and I also teach nonfiction at Catapult in New York. I started studying journalism in college. Then I started experimenting with poetry, and now I'm at work on a book of essays, which I've been working on for a few years. What I really like about writing a specially nonfiction is the active investigation where I can begin by writing something. I don't know where it's going. It can feel aimless as I'm writing it, even. But eventually a theme begins to emerge. Or a topic or an obsession emerges and re emerges until I can't ignore it anymore. And there's really no excuse except to continue that investigation and attempt to solve a mystery, even if it's an internal one or very small or very personal. That's the kind of art I really like, and the kind of books I really like to read, something that looks so deeply within oneself to the point where some others may accuse it of being narcissistic. It's just so hyper focused on the self in this way that feels universal To me. It feels like I understand the artist. I understand that writer through that work of art through that book. One thing that I think can be really paralyzing toe a writer, especially a new writer to nonfiction and memoir, is Where do you begin? You have this lifetime of memories, obsessions, people everything. And it can be hard to narrow that, you know, to sit in front of a computer and think, How am I gonna start this? Where do I even begin? So something that I found is just by tricking yourself into just beginning, you know, it could be they could be so hard to stare at a blank page. So what if you force yourself to fill that page immediately without overthinking it? You can add it later, but for me it's really been about starting that project and figuring out a specific place to start. So this class is one way to do that. Teoh assign you a specific place to begin, but it's kind of up to you of where to go from there, and it's really designed as a structure toe work within, so it's designed for writers of any level. Really, it's a great place to begin if you've never written before, if you're interested in memoir, and it's also a great structure to work within if you've been writing for years, that's something that I continue to dio a za way. Teoh just overcome any fear I'm having within my own work. I hope that through this assignment, and you see it as a kind of freedom rather than something that's like more of a constraint , something that looks like structure can actually just be a jumping off point. So by starting with something that seems almost deceivingly simple, something that's been with you literally your entire life, you've been born with it, you've lived with it. But what have you really said about it? Or how can you explore something that seems like it given? I think that that's a great place to start, especially in memoir and nonfiction, where you were a body maneuvering through the world and by starting with something specific and grounding the speaker of the essay or the memoir. It allows the reader to have a sense of place and that allows for all kinds of freedoms as you go forth, whether that be becoming more internal for meditative or lyrics. We're experimental. I find that you can go a lot of different places by starting with something simple, straightforward and concrete. So if you're interested in the structure as a way to work within memoir and nonfiction, let's get started. 2. Class Project Overview: So, as you know, the class is called Begin with the body, and that's based on this assignment of beginning with a body part. So it's meant as a structure to work within, no matter what level of writer you are. It's just meant as a jumping off point. And the free right is meant Teoh kind of stop you from editing yourself. So as you go, you're not overthinking it. So you sit down, choose a body part that's the first step. My ring finger, my hip, my hair. Anything that you feel compelled to start with, even if you don't stick with it. Um, it's just a place to start. So even if you go very internal, very lyric, very experimental, I would encourage all of that. I think that that's all fair game for this kind of assignment, because you're gonna go back and edit later. Right now, it's just about beginning. So, ideally, you would choose something that you do have an interest in a body part that you could investigate in a way you would start there. You write that out my blank and go from there. Just see where that takes you. 15 minutes I think is all you need for this. If you want, I would encourage you to go up to 1/2 hour. The longer you do this kind of free writing, the more meditative it becomes because it's all about keeping your hand moving, so I prefer to do it longhand. But you can certainly do it on a computer as well. It's just about keeping your hands moving, either typing or writing. If you really get stuck, you write something like I don't want to write. I don't want to write. I don't know what to write that type of thing. It's just about keeping your hand moving until you're out of excuses. The only thing left to do is right. It's very straightforward. It's it's deceivingly simple. A lot of writing is just keeping your hand moving, seeing where that takes you, allowing yourself to work through that initial fear of like Oh, God, I don't know how I'm going to keep doing this. I don't know. I don't know where this is going. How am I gonna end it? All of that should not be a concern at this stage. It's just about choosing a structure to work within. So I've chosen this starting point and you go out from there. So do it for 15 minutes, see what happens and then take a few more minutes up to 15. I'd say Cut out any moments where you're just filling space. If you were one of those people that writes, I don't want to write, that's your time to cut it out and read your sentences allowed. See how they sound, see if any are no longer necessary, and at that point you can upload it to the class Project gallery and share it with the class. So next I'll talk a little bit about my personal experience in writing about the body and how I came to the structure to work within. 3. Personal Experience - "Pity the Animal": my chopped book called Pity the Animal started as a free right exercise. I was really interested in the ways in which performance artists were using the body as art , especially the female body. So it really interested me of how a body could be art versus how ah body could be sold as an object how animals were sold. My mind started to wander as I started it. Wonder about what the human body really meant. So I started writing about this because it was just really on my mind. I was studying performance art, and I started writing without any pretense of what exactly I was writing or what the point , what the point was, what the ending would be, what my conclusion would be. I didn't know. I don't know if I was writing a poem. I just basically didn't know. So it was really just an exploration in through writing. In that way of just producing and exploring and thinking about these topics, themes began to emerge. I was able to kind of leave within them and start to make sense of things, and this took a long time. It took several months of kind of going back to this free writing and just being free to work within that, that content of just I didn't know what I was doing. It was really just permission to keep writing within that and being unafraid, and that was really scary. And so it took me a really long time to work through that. And I started with a more academic approach. So I thought to include myself in it to include my own body would be besides the point, it would be boring or seemed too obvious. I wanted. I imagined it being this kind of tireless academic approach and something just wasn't working. I found as soon as I did start including myself in it, the essay came alive and it became urgent in this way that it certainly wasn't before. You know, the memories that I was invoking and writing about no longer seemed irrelevant or random. The essay started to structure itself around my own thoughts and my own physical body of just what a body meant and one woman's exploration of that. So I realized by starting within my own body and my own physical self, I suddenly had all this extra room to work within of I could go all these different places . I could meditate and by meditate, I just mean right freely. Really, I could think about performance art include quotes from movies that I thought were relevant , and I just started to weave and closure all these things together that were grounded within my own experiences in my physical body. So I want to start by just reading the first paragraph so you can see what I mean. So this is the first paragraph from my Chap book. I was sitting on the rooftop of my apartment building in May, waiting for July's fireworks. I was cleaning high rise condos in Manhattan, teaching fourth grade in Queens, eating wheat bread and American cheese sandwiches that the government delivered to the school. I was writing everything down, as if I knew what I was seeing. I was pretending to be a neutral observer, but I kept trying to override my heartbreak with poignancy. It was almost working. You can see there. I've set up all these different settings, and I'm grounding myself, and I'm introducing the speaker of the essay myself because it's non fiction where I am in time where I am in the country, what I'm eating. Things like that are just ways to begin an investigation of the body itself. So themes began to emerge because I was allowing myself to just work through them organically and not overthinking at the beginning. What is this essay about? And indeed, I didn't even know it was an essay until months into it, and I kind of discovered how to work within that. So now that I've shown you my own personal experience with writing about the body, let's look at a few ways that other writers approach the same topic. 4. Discussion of Poem by Camonghne Felix: So I know this class is focused on memoir and nonfiction, but I really love the way that Ramon Felix takes this topic. In this grounding, I turned off the Ferguson feed. That's the line in her poem, similar to what I was mentioning before of just grounding the reader right away, she is turning off something so already that encompasses a lot of different things in it and invokes current events. And then she moves outward from there, moving on to street harassment, racism, sexism all in a very short poem, I believe that videos two minutes. So I love seeing how she maneuvers within that. It's a very physical poem. She compares the body to meet, and it's just, I think, a really great first video toe. Watch of just how far you can take this topic of something so simple. Like I turned off the Ferguson feed. Where does she go from there? You can go 100 different ways, and I love watching the way that she maneuvers within that and the way she's repetition, I think, is really interesting and something that can certainly be implemented into nonfiction as well. So she's using a lot of poetic devices here, but something that can certainly apply to the class project here. A swell because of the title of this poem. It reminds me of a naff prism by Marcus Aurelius, and it goes, the stench of decay rotting meat in a bag. Look at it clearly, if you can. It's so severe it always makes me laugh to read this, especially in the classroom setting. It's so severe, but it really does make me think what happens if you observe something that disgusts you? What if you are looking at something and observing it so closely? And I think Come on. Felix's poem has a lot to do with that of, you know, these current events and these news stories that are disgusting to her in the street harassment that she sees that disgusts her. She's absorbing with her world in this very specific way where it feels like nobody but her could write it. And I think that's really the key where it's so specific, and it becomes such a singular voice that it feels like no one else could have written it. And it feels like she's using the exact right words to say it. So I find that really inspiring. And I hope you do too. So next we're gonna watch one more video, but it has a very different tone. It's by Natalie DS. So if you haven't watched that already, go ahead and watch that now. 5. Discussion of Poem by Natalie Diaz: so you can see how the Natalie Diaz poem is very different from the come own Felix poem, while also using the body part as a starting point. So it's not a poem based on discussed at all. It's a node, and it's an ode to the beloved's hips. And I really like the use of metaphor within this poem because the hips means something new each time they become a kingdom, uh, they become all kinds of different things, and it's a great example of how you can stay focused on one body part, and the poem keeps moving. It's quite long, actually, and then just keeps evolving and keeps changing while staying focused on the hips themselves. One of the bones mean, what does that area mean? So I really like looking at poetry and nonfiction and memoir, because there's so much to learn within it from word choice, where a mouth becomes not only angel but terrible Angel and the hips, you know, become dreamlike when the reader feels comfortable to dream with the speaker of this poem. Because we're grounded in the physical so again, it's when you start with something plain and straightforward. You can can't go out from there however you like. It's now that we have looked at the ways in which two different poets have approached writing about the body. Let's look at the way in which Mary Rueful writes an essay about the same topic. 6. Discussion of Essay by Mary Ruefle: So next we're gonna look at an essay by Mary Rueful, who is primarily known as a poet. That's it is called Pause. Go ahead and read it if you haven't already, but you'll see it's very short. But it moves along at this kind of forceful speed, where her skill with sentence structure and syntax just move the essay forward at this relentless pace that I really like. And here she is not beginning with a body part, necessarily. But she's beginning with a document which outlines all the time. She's cried in the month of April 1998. So it begins with her coming across this document and saying that it makes her laugh to see it now. But at the time, she was very sad and she was crying every day, and she uses that to begin this essay about menopause in which she addresses you. So that's a really interesting technique. I wanted Teoh demonstrate here of what happens when a writer addresses you and sort of me, she writes. Of course, you may be lucky, so that invites the reader in in this almost startling way, especially in something which she's writing about the horrors of menopause and her physical body aging as a woman, it's almost as if she's warning the reader. It's almost as if she's addressing a young woman. You know, here's what you're about to experience, so it takes on this level of humor in a way. But it's deeply sad, and it's deeply physical and very specific to the writers experience. And so again, that makes it feel bigger than it is. It's really one woman's description of quite an ordinary physical process, and yet it becomes extraordinary when written with such clarity and force. So I want to read from the end quickly. It's the third paragraph from the end. You are just a girl on the edge of a great forest. You should be frightened, but instead you're eating a lovely meal or you are cooking one or you are running to the florist or you are opening a box of flowers that has just arrived at your door, and none of these things are done in the great spirit that they will later be done in. You haven't even begun. You must pause first, the way one must always pause before a great endeavor. If only to take a good breath. So to me, as a reader, that's quite an unexpected place to end up at the end of the essay about menopause and about the physical body. It seems very dreamy, very lyric. And it's a great example to me of how writing about something physical can extend into something really ambiguous and almost magical, where the writer seems to go a place that even she didn't know she was going. And that's something I always strive for in my own work, of finding the unexpected and using the physical as an investigation. So I think that's something that Mary Rueful has certainly done here. And she's I kind of dropped us off at a different place than we began. And that's really the goal in an essay. So I find this quite interesting, and I hope you did, too. So next we're gonna look at an excerpt from a short story by Mei Lan Tan 7. Discussion of Short Story by May-Lan Tan: So the next thing we're gonna look at now that we've looked at two poems and an essay, I'm going to read the 1st 2 paragraphs of a short story by Mei Lan Tan from her book Things to Make and Break. The story is called legendary, and I've included this excerpt in your Google doc. It'll also read it now so we can hear it. He doesn't really talk about them. At least he never tells me anything. I want to know their hang ups or what kind of pretty they are. He tells only half a story about each of them, and he tells it three times verbatim, as if he has it written on the cuff of his sleeve. Normally, he doesn't have two words to rub together, but when he does something kind of flickers thes broken sparks and the three times telling makes his ex ISI mythical crystal lean when he tells me about Holly for the first time, were at the movies sitting too close to the screen. We're watching the trailers, and he's tracing the shapes on the sensitive part of my wrist with his thumb. Every one of his exes has a thing they've been molested or our cellist or something. Holly shattered 17 bones falling from a trap ease. She was wearing a cast and working in a library when he met her 10 weeks later, when all the bones were net. He finally saw her do her act. That's when he dumped her. He doesn't say, but I guess she must have looked to free and capable up there swinging from the ropes. A girl like that could never honestly need you. So I like reading, not excerpt allowed, because it has a lot of the same poetic qualities that the Mary rueful s I had, where you can hear how the word choices so important and crucial Teoh something even so short. The bones aren't healed there nit, and the words aren't spoken, they flicker, and that really adds another layer and another dimensional quality to the language that keeps it moving forward. And I really like the way that information is presented here, where it's not the narrator's body. It's not even the narrator's boyfriend's body. It's the narrator's boyfriends ex's body. So there's this element of remove that the narrator describes as making the mythical and crystal lean. It's a little this visual language and physical acts of the X on the trap ease. And then this. There's room for projection and speculation in the line at the end. A girl like that could never honestly need you. It all kind of comes together so well by, I think, incorporating the physical body and kind of grounding it in that. And that allows this narrator to move within almost a dreamlike escape, where it's just lyric and unusual, and it goes in really unexpected places, and the rest of the story does that as well. So the next example will look at is another excerpt from a short story by Scott McClanahan . 8. Discussion of Short Story by Scott McClanahan: So next we're going to look at the short story called My Anger Problem by Scott McClanahan . It's quite short, so go ahead and read it if you haven't already. This is a very different writer than the ones we've looked at so far. This is not the kind of writer that's going to be writing. The bones were knit instead of healed. It's a much more gruff and Stoick voice. It's very just straightforward, and the diction is very different. And I love the first sentence. I don't know why, but right after this I started breaking shit around the house. That's like right away, we know kind of what we're in for. We know what kind of narrator this is, and we know that he's prone to tantrums. So it kind of sets it off in this really interesting way with such force that it makes it hard to stop reading because it's so physical. And it's so straightforward that as it goes on, you'll see that different themes begin to emerge and it's quite psychological and you don't realize that till the end, really, because it's so straightforward and simple. So I really like this part in particular. I say this Israel. I sit and stare at the place where I kicked a hole in the wall and I imagined myself kicking more holes in the wall holes and more holes until there is no wall. So you'll see as the essay moves, that it's grounded in these actions and the physical body and just simply, what is occurring. But it's so clear and little languages so precise, even though it's pretty much simple and straightforward, it moves along in this way. That's impossible to stop reading. So it's interesting to see in even such a different narrator It has a similar quality as that Mary Riffle s a pause where you end up somewhere very different than when you began. So through its language, it moves you forward, and through these repeated actions, it accumulates. And progress is in a way that I find really interesting. So we're gonna look at just one more example. It's my own a nest site called Second Row, in which I have begun with a body part and moved out from there 9. Personal Experience - "Second Row": So before we get to the class project itself, I wanted to show one more example. That's my own. The essay called Second Row. It's something that started out of the type of assignment I'm giving you today of. I simply started writing about my hand and what it meant to be held by someone else's hand character. I'm calling Joey. The third paragraph in this essay is where my free right began. So I started with dialogue from Joey. Come to this party on Fifth and Hardy, he said, holding my hand. You can remember that cause it rhymes the house with a big suero in front. He was drunk, and I think he must have invited everyone and held everyone's hands. But I felt like this was it. Tonight our lives would merge. He got in the passenger side of his friend's car and waved goodbye to me. Or maybe the guy next to me and I jumped in my dad's car, a boxy 1987 Isuzu Trooper my friends called the Safari Mobile. I put the key into the ignition in the stereo clock, lit up 11 15. The party was 20 minutes away. My curfew is midnight, So I floored it down the I 10 thinking any punishment, my parents and forced later would be worth it. So I remember that's where I started of just thinking about what it meant to have my hand held as a high schooler. What it meant to have this man, Joey, hold my hand and say something to me and invite me to a party and then to propel my body forward in the car of just racing to this party. So that was a memory that stuck with me, and I thought I would just start. I would just start there and write about it, and you can see now it's the third paragraph in the essay, and I've started with Joey's body. Joey was the tallest person I'd ever seen, even without the added height of the stage where I first saw him. So as I kept writing, I realized it wasn't just about that sensation of being with him. It was about my discomfort within my own body and what it meant to observe his body with affection, where he just, you know, was on stage radiating this charisma that I found so mysterious and This was a great place to start for me because it was a memory that kept recurring and I kept revisiting and I didn't really know why. So that can often be a great place to start if you just have this visceral memory and you can come and maneuver through that by the end of the essay and by the end of my free right , really, I realized it was about a lot of different things, not just the physical. So now that we've looked at all these different examples of how different writers approach writing about the body, let's try it ourselves with the class project. 10. Class Project Instructions: So now I'm gonna explain what I mean by the term free right. My free right. I simply mean writing continuously. It just means not sitting at your computer or sitting at a blank page paralyzed. What to write next? How do I start? Where do I begin? It can be really overwhelming, especially if you're reading nonfiction, I think where you can't just make up a character or see where something takes you. You have to start usually based in reality and based on something you know. But that has endless possibilities, which is exciting but can also be stifling. So for this class in particular, begin with the body. Pick a part of your body that you feel compelled to write about and if not, pick a random one. See what happens. Because inevitably, if you train your muscles to just continue writing, Teoh, not be afraid to just simply continue. You will be surprised at what you feel drawn towards and your obsessions begin to emerge. You become unafraid of the blank page because it's simply about filling it. And the editing part comes later, so it doesn't have to be this moment of Oh God, how do I start this? What do I do with it? Pick a body part and start there. So my hair, my foot, my wrist. Something that maybe has a memory linked to it. That is recurring to you, that you keep revisiting, if not certain, with something. And just see what that invokes in you, what that inspires. And even if you almost immediately turned to another body or something that's not physical at all, if you go very internal or lyric or have more flowery language that has nothing to do with the physical, I think that's all fine. It's really about starting and seeing what as a writer you are most interested in. So this has been really helpful for me in determining what my obsessions are and what my tendency. Zara's a writer. What I'm drawn towards that's really invaluable and important, and I think this is one way to get to that more quickly than if you're sitting there, overthinking it in terms of editing it. Afterwards, I find going from long hand to the computer particularly helpful. Um, it creates this element of divide where I don't feel super attached to it anymore, whereas on the computer, it can feel a little more concrete. So for this I propose 15 minutes of free writing where you sit down and you can do it longhand or on the computer with starting with a part of your body and just keep writing. So set a timer. Try to turn off all your distractions and right for 15 minutes. If you can do it for 30 that's even better, because it becomes more meditative and more about the muscles moving Instead of overthinking it, you can enter a more meditative state, a deeper level of the writing. I think the longer you do it, but 15 minutes is really all you need to kind of see what you're capable of. If you're writing for that amount of time without stopping. And even if you're writing, I don't want to write. I don't want to write. I don't know what to write. Just if you write that over and over, eventually it will get sick of writing it and you will write something else. So just simply be unafraid and know that you're about to edit it and cut out the parts that you don't like. So next I'll walk you through my process of writing from longhand and putting that onto the computer 11. Editing Demonstration : so that will demonstrate how I go about transcribing a page of free riding on to my computer as a form of editing. So I've taken this notebook with me on the subway, a zai commute and go from my job to home, and I have several pages of just raw writing. Just I've just kept my hand moving. I've been out in public, I've been very distracted, and it could be helpful In a way. It seems like you should be in a quiet room all the time. But sometimes if there's a lot going on around you, it could be helpful. It can be freeing. It doesn't have to be the sense of a serious writer, and I have to write this great work. It can just be this act of writing. And so as I read this back, I can further understand my own tendencies as a writer and things that I want to strengthen or things I want to cut out. So one thing in particular about this page is it's very voice driven. By that, I mean is not grounded and seen. So I'll I'll show you what that means, but it's I wanted to start with this page because it starts with a heartbeat. So I've written a couple of pages, but right here I begin with a pulsing, and I go out from there and there's not a lot that really is grounded in the physical or descriptive nous or a setting or a scene. Really, it's just me meditating on what it means to have a body and to have a heart beat. So I'm gonna go through it and cut it out and rearrange it a little bit to show you how even just raw material can be turned into something that I could be happy with. The first part of this is from another page, so I am just going to start with the sentence that is kind of a shift in tone from the previous pages it starts with. To me, I am pulsing, which means my body makes this pounding on Lee. I know, which means I persist. I keep going in the face of every unanswerable question, So this is a tendency. I have to do commas in order to keep my hand moving. I don't always use the right punctuation or the right punctuation that I would use in the final product. So I'm just gonna start typing this and see what happens. So I'm gonna just keep the beginning to me comment. I am pulsing, and that's already kind of strange where it's why wouldn't 90 pulsing. But to me, you know that it's it's starting with my own body. And that's all I really care about at this point to me, I am pulsing, period. So I'm just gonna choose to end it there and then switch the word witch, too. That means so I'm gonna start a new sentence. I'm gonna keep that first sentence short. That means I persist and I keep going, Period, I don't like in the face of every unanswerable question. I mean, I never show my raw material and this is why. Because it's you know, it's not. It's not all great, and some of it is very, you know, I have this tendency to go very grandiose, where it's just like, especially if I'm out and about and I've had a lot of coffee. It's like in the face of every unanswerable question that's gonna not end up in the final thing. In the final draft, I mean, we're going to cross that out and I'm not putting it in. So the next part is I seek them out. So that's referring. Teoh every unanswerable question. I don't really need that either, with some kind of sick effort with some kind of love for the world, for everything it knows. So let's was short in that. Let's get straight to the point. I seek out everything the world knows, and then in the next part, I'm referencing something I've done in the previous pages of my free right, All right. Every sentence feels like it could be the last ending. I write all over the page, They can't all be right. And I'm gonna go ahead and keep that because I find that kind of strange. And I sometimes like the referencing of the writing itself in within the essay. So it seems to be it seems to be working even with the theme of the heartbeat of what it means to be alive. What does it mean to end? So I'm gonna go ahead and keep it for now. I don't know what I'm gonna do with it, but I'll go ahead and keep it for the most part. So right now I have to me I am pulsing. That means I persist and they keep going. I seek out everything the world knows. Maybe I'll add something here. And yet, comma every sentence feels like it could be the last. I'm gonna use quotes here because I've been writing ending question Mark. I write all over the page. They can't all be right. And I'm still not doing a paragraph break. As you can see in my free writes, I don't do a lot of punctuation, and I don't do a lot of paragraph breaks. Those all come later. But right now, this seems very much of the same thought, so I'm just gonna keep moving with it. So ending question Mark, I write all over the page. They can't all be right. And next I have something that's relating to this, So I'm just gonna I'm gonna keep it. For the most part, I can't be holy disposable combat. Or perhaps that's exactly what I am, period. So when my free right, it keeps going because I've just kept my hand moving. Perhaps that's exactly what I am. Precisely why I survive despite my own discarding. I could keep that, but I'm not. It's like as I read it back, I don't love it. And so I'm not afraid, Teoh. Keep it here and maybe go back to it. But for the most part, I never dio. It's like if something strikes you as interesting or still intriguing to you or still has some, I like to call it heat on the page where it's kind of burning to you. In a sense, it's worth keeping. But if you feel like maybe you just had to get it out on the page and there's nothing else to do with it that's equally valuable. So I'm gonna leave us precisely wiser about despite my own discarding. I don't really I don't need that. I think that's the same voice as before us, the face of every unanswerable question. It's just the words that are that I've chose to keep, I think already encompassed that same emotion, and my last sentence here is in the free right form. I exist in a quiet rebellion, another tiny war against the future against time itself. I think I'm gonna I'm gonna keep that in here for now. I can see that being the type of thing that I might cut later. But I can also see it as a voice that might work once it's paired with something more physical, something more grounded in a scene, something that demonstrates that emotion. So for right now, I'm gonna I'm gonna re type it. For the most part, I exist in a quiet rebellion. And even as I type that I realized I don't want the word quiet. So I'm not gonna I'm not gonna keep that. I exist in rebellion. Just taking out certain words. You just don't need them. The word quiet. It's like what is a quiet rebellion? I don't think that's accurate. I think that it sounded right as I was free riding. But it doesn't sound right to me. Doesn't sound true to me as I'm writing it. Now I exist in rebellion, another tiny war. I'm just gonna say another war against the future. And again here. I'm just gonna I'm gonna not type the future, you know, say another war against time, period something even as I once I start retyping it and it's become clear to me that weren't even clear to me as I'm reading it. It's the act, the physical act of retyping and really thinking about what is still resonating from the free right. So even if I had just written this the act of transcribing it is really helpful in terms of seeing what is ringing true and what's ringing falls. So from this page of raw material, I now have to me I am pulsing. That means I persist and I keep going. I seek out everything the world knows, and yet every sentence feels like it could be the last ending. I write all over the page. They can't all be right. I can't be holy disposable. Or perhaps that's exactly what I am. I exist in rebellion, another war against time. So again, I don't I don't really know where I'm going with this, but these air words and sentences that still rang true to me as I reread them. So I think there were keeping for the time being, and as I continue to transcribe it, I can notice themes that are recurring and begin to write more scenes around them to kind of ground them in time and place, and have everything that start to come together as an essay. So I recommended at least 15 minutes of free riding, and I would recommend at least another 15 minutes of editing in this form of just transcribing. Or if you've written on the computer, I think that's defined as well. Maybe retyping. It could be helpful. And if you're a really good editor, it's fine to just go within the lines you've already written. Just look for sentences that I don't need to be there in the final. The final draft don't need to be there and what you end up turning in. And words like adjectives and adverbs often come to mind as you're writing freely but don't always need to end up in the final draft and often will actually detract from the final the work itself. So don't be afraid, Thio Thio. Omit things and get rid of them and save them for later or not. So I wish you the best of luck with the editing process 12. Final Thoughts: now that we've looked at ways that different writers have approached this topic of writing about the body, and I've explained some of my personal experience, starting with something really concrete and moving outwards. From there, we've looked at the technique of free writing and ways in which you can edit that into something that you're happy with. I encourage you, Teoh, use this prompt and see how it works for you. Decide on something simple, my blank, your body part. Move out from there, really do it for 15 minutes. If that's all you feel comfortable with, you can do it for longer if you like, and then spend a few minutes editing and look it over and turning into the class Project gallery so I can see what you've written and how you've interpreted that prompt. Feel free to contact me with any questions, and I hope you can use this prompt going forward as a structure to work within. It really has endless possibilities. You can continue using the physical body as a place to start or and you can assign it two other things to documents to locations, things of that of that nature. I wish you the best of luck. And thank you so much for taking my class. Really enjoyed speaking about this with you today.