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Writing by Adults: The Oregon Arts Education Congress

On November 2, artists, teaching artists, writers, educators, administrators and elected officials gathered at the World Forestry Center for the 2nd Annual Oregon Arts Education Congress convened by the Oregon Arts Commission.  Mary Rechner, the Writers in the Schools Program Director for Literary Arts, had the good fortune to lead a teambuilding art experience with a teaching artist from Corvallis, two educators from Sweet Home, and two Oregon Arts Commissioners. Participants looked at surrealist art, wrote about their dreams, then used that writing to write a series of exquisite corpses– collaborative writing projects that promote what the surrealists called “mental contagion.”

Looking For The Answer

From a new, fresh perspective-noting.

The order-the lines that divide.

Things arbitrary-the colors.

The colors made all the difference.

Each color, white, arbitrary, was important.

Each color danced in the light.

A warm light dancing in partnership.

Then I took my partner’s gingham encased arm and swung her around in a circle.

The circle unraveled and vanished in the wind.


Godzilla was stalking through the downstairs.

I was hiding behind the couch.

The rest of my family was upstairs.

Godzilla was looking for me.

The stairs creaked, almost screamed, as each foot stepped down the old wood.

Gave a little, smelled wet, damp, moldy.

Like an old life jacket in a wooden rowboat.

Drifting slowly, in a vortex.

Ever more awakened by the dream.

It Goes Together

Warm and smelling of beloved friendship.

Soft silky ears.

She breathes in unison with my breaths.

And she also eats the cookies that I baked all by myself.

I bought the chocolate chips, the flour, and the two sugars.

Mixed together in my mouth-begging for a big glass of milk.

I don’t like milk,

But some people do,

Others, too timid to try, would never know what it was like.

I Like Fall

I don’t remember dreams.

So, the most recent “mini” dream was a replay of my recent fall.

I literally wake myself up when the fall repeats.

And wonder, why?

Why am I on the ground?

I pick myself up off the sidewalk and head to the nearest store.

The store sells TVs and CD players and the men who work there wear referee uniforms.

The stripes on the shirts were sideways instead of up and down.

Me And Myself

The first time,

I said “it takes two.”


With wild unbridled passion.

Unabandoned alchemy.

Free to express, free of judgment.

How good it felt to be able to express myself freely.

No one was judging my expression.

I was on my own…I was strong…I was ready.


Sense of belonging.

Living souls with history.

Protected, calm, diverse.

Enlightened, open.



Alert, but wary.

Sensing the energy in the darkness.

Curious, alert, forward cautiously.

I joined the group.

I was eager but apprehensive.

What Sustains Us

Dark metal stairs.

No one speaks.

Moving upward.

Flying higher.

Observing, ever deeper and richer.

I felt that as I observed I understood what was happening more clearly.

I am richer for the deep observations.

And feel good…happy…ready to enjoy the whatever of life.

But first I go to the grocery store to buy milk.

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