“I am this body and the leaves I see
blown from the brassy cottonwoods
Beside the road.”
-Ursula Le Guin, “The Body of the World”
In the last months, as part of an Art Education grad seminar I’m taking, I’ve been making up activities. For most of my time as a student I’ve written responses: words to help muddle through what I’m learning, to hold onto an idea or unpack it. It’s been wonderful to try this other approach, to use words as an invitation toward an experience. A place to stand.
Today I wanted to share one of these activities. This one (like lots of them) might be about coming back to my body. It might be about feeling the vibration of the sound that makes words. It’s definitely about whatever happens when you try it, if you decide to. The first time I tried this I ended up hanging words of joy on the leaves outside my classroom. I can’t tell you what the words said. You’ll see why.
Activity: In Your Hands
Find a partner. Ask yourselves, what’s one thing you need to say in this moment? Think about it, but don’t write it down. When you have it, whisper that something into your hands. Carry it outside and do something that feels right with the words you’re holding—you can throw them into the sky, or tuck them down like seeds into the ground, or eat them, or anything else. Don’t plan what you’re going to do with them: go outside and discover it. Then go back to your partner. Don’t share what you said. The words are still here, though what if instead of speaking them we let them live where they are?