Introducing: YpsiWrites Community

Posted on May 26, 2020

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Although she was my undergrad English Methods instructor, I maintain a close working relationship with Dr. Cathy Fleischer (pictured with me) through the Eastern Michigan Writing Project Teacher Research group. I was excited when she began to speak about a new project she was working on: the creation of a community-based literacy project that would be part of EMU’s Office of Campus and Community Writing and have off-campus locations. When the call came to volunteer, I was eager to be a part of the project.

YpsiWrites is a nonprofit community writing center. Their website describes the center this way:

 

Our trained writing tutors and workshop leaders are available to help teen and adult writers with any and all types of writing, including resumes, essays, stories, business plans, poetry, memoirs, and more.

I signed on to be a tutor once per month at a library in Ypsilanti, and I went a total of one times–and then it was Quarantime! And everything stopped.
Just BEFORE it all stopped, Cathy wondered if I’d be interested in using my Leopold Education Project and summer camp skills in the YpsiWrites community?
I most certainly would. It would be my great pleasure. My contribution:

 

Nature Writing

Many of us—especially during these days of isolation and social distancing—find joy and inspiration in nature. In that spirit we offer these writing prompts, designed by YpsiWrites volunteer lisa eddy, to help you slow down and appreciate the natural world. There are some for those who are able to get outside and observe, and some for those who remain indoors but appreciate nature through the window.

“Nature will bear the closest inspection. She invites us to lay our eye level with her smallest leaf, and take an insect view of its plain.”  ―Henry David Thoreau

Writing in and about the natural world can stimulate creativity, questioning, problem-solving, and increase our sense of wonder and well-being.

The topics for the prompts I’ve written so far are in the table below.

Date Topic
3/23/20 Signs of Spring
3/30/20 Water and Wind
4/6/20 The Numbers Game
4/13/20 Death & Rebirth
4/20/20 Phenology and Pollination
4/27/20 Relationships and Communities
5/4/20 Change & Consistency
5/11/20 Home & Away
5/18/20 Light & Shadow
5/25/20 Earth & Air

As a high school English teacher, I incorporated outdoor writing projects in my courses for many reasons, both academic and human, but the #1 reason is that schools often fall far short of providing the mental health and emotional support that students need, and spending time outside is the #2 most-accessible therapy available to ALL, after #1, mindfulness practices, which can be as simple as focusing on one’s breathing.

For about 15 years, my students benefited from this practice, even the one girl who told me she wanted to hate it and did hate it, but also, she did find that going outside helped her manage her stress levels. She wanted me to know, though, that she still didn’t like it. I’m okay with that, I still don’t like some of the content in classes I’ve taken–and that stuff didn’t improve my mood, no matter how much time I spent on task.

I am happy to play a small part in a great community literacy organization, and I’m excited about the future when I can work with writers–in person, and in an outdoor setting, when the virus allows such behaviors. In the meantime, slide on over to the Ypsi Writes site, and Write On!


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lisa eddy is a writer, researcher, educator, advocate,  musician, gardener, and YpsiWrites volunteer.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com