Writing in Water

Posted: June 6, 2014 by writingsprint in Essay
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Bruce Lee
From the Daily Prompt “Dream Teacher“: You can choose any person from history to teach you any topic you want. Who’s your teacher, and what do they teach you?

I would ask Bruce Lee to be my writing coach. Lee was a pioneer in martial arts, developing a “style of no style” in Jeet Kune Do, which philosophically is a forerunner to today’s mixed martial arts. His approach to martial arts was holistic, emphasizing technique, physical fitness, mental and spiritual preparation, and even nutrition. His philosophy of life emphasized shedding what was unnecessary and perfecting what was important. My favorite Lee quote is, of course, the “be water” quote, one of the most profound expressions of the value of mental flexibility I’ve ever read:

“Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. 

Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

I work on letting my thoughts flow when I do yoga, so that I can do it in my everyday life. The ability to consciously unwrap your brain and let your thoughts flow has had profound benefits on my writing.

As a writing teacher, I think Lee would combine prose, poetry, song, any form of verbal expression. He would emphasize grammar and language as solid foundations, then play with them as our writing became more advanced. We would study and borrow the best from other languages, especially completely different languages like Asian and African styles, to break down the subtle barriers in our minds formed by our speech. Lee would break down barriers and shatter expectations, developing completely new styles of writing that reached out to all forms of creativity.

Photo credit: Bruce Lee by “Chris Zielecki” at Flickr
Photo is unmodified
Shared under Creative Commons license

  1. jensiper says:

    great choice. I love Bruce Lee


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