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September 20, 2006

Gathering Resources for Writing and Healing: A Supply List

Yesterday I decided to make beef stew.  My grocery list was straightforward—stew beef, a large onion, red potatoes, one sweet potato, carrots, and a can of V-8 juice.  (I make a pretty simple stew.) There's something satisfying about such clear simple lists. 

When Harry Potter is preparing to start his first year at Hogwarts he’s handed, by Hagrid, an exceedingly straightforward list.
Pages 66 and 67.  Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  By J.K. Rowling.   

Three sets of plain work robes (black)
One plain pointed hat (black) for day wear
One pair of protective gloves (dragon hide or similar)
One winter cloak (black, silver fastenings)
7 course books, titles and authors listed, including The Standard Book of Spells (Grade I)
1 wand
1 cauldron (pewter, standard size 2)
1 set glass or crystal phials
1 telescope
1 set brass scales

And, finally--
An owl OR a cat OR a toad

I love the details—the specificity—in Rowling’s list.  And I wish I knew of such a straightforward list—such a specific list—for the process of healing.  Or for the process of writing and healing.  I don't. The problem: every person is so different. Or, to put it another way, we’re not all going to the same school.

At the same time, there are, it would seem, these common threads.  And these common threads can act as a kind of template—a jumping-off place—for a person who might want to develop—or revise—their own individualized supply list.

Here are a few common threads I’ve observed over the years in writing and healing supply lists:

Something to write with (pen, pencil, crayon, laptop computer, etc. . .)
Nourishing food
A room of one’s own—or a desk of one’s own (or maybe a chair of one’s own)
Green growing things
Healing landscapes
Time to think and daydream and walk
A time and a place to grieve what needs to be grieved
People who get it (whatever it is)
Animals who get it (dogs, cats, horses, cows, etc. . .) (owls? toads?)
A bit of a sense of humor about the whole deal
Good books
Some kind of work or activity that matters (though not necessarily one’s day job)
A connection to some larger sense of meaning

This is not meant by any means to be an exhaustive list.  These are merely some common threads—a kind of template.  And when it comes to individual supply lists—I think each one is probably different.
What might your own individualized list look like?


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Lists - so simple and so fundamental. I plan on making my list tonight to enable my writing, it should be fairly straightforward.
As I think about it I actually have the time to do this, I just never thought of it this way: after I put the kids to bed I have a couple of hours of twiddling my thumbs time (my wife died 6 months ago).
My main issue is time for most other pursuits, but writing in the evening seems like a great fit for me right now - and I need the benefits I believe it can bring - healing, reflection, resolution, creativity, solace.

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