Wang Ping grew up in China during a time when there was little chance for education. When she finally took a writing class she was so amazed to discover that she “had so many stories inside” that she has spent her life ever since writing. To acknowledge the peace and joy she has found in both the Yangzte River in China and the Mississippi River in her new home in Saint Paul, she began The Kinship of Rivers project.
Listen to her description of the project. She writes poems as a gift to the rivers. Think about something in nature which brings you peace or joy. Follow the directions that Wang Ping gives to the children in the video: “visualize” your object “from inside.” In two minutes list everything you think of. Write a brief conversation you would have with your object thanking it and sending good wishes. Did you learn anything new from your dialogue?
Pick three of the images or ideas you listed. Write a paragraph about each one, but try to make the paragraphs succinct by using only 25 words in each. Circle ten words from your paragraphs which capture the essence of your object. Then, write a poem.
Now create your own prayer flag. Cut an 11×17 inch piece of fabric or paper. Write your poem on the flag and then illustrate it. Use colors and shapes to enhance what you’ve written. Hang your flag near the object if you can. Remember to use your imagination and creativity to honor the object.