Today (Sunday, May 10, 2020) marks two months of our weekly Prompts Against Anxiety series.
In keeping with Woodland Pattern's mission and goals, we've tried to offer ideas that engage not only poets and writers but also artists across all media and disciplines. So we're especially pleased today to share a prompt that exercises so many of our creative muscles while also offering a way for people who miss each other to tangibly reconnect and perhaps even get to know one another more deeply.
Sharing a meal and its story has always been an important expressive outlet and means of profound human exchange. And "breaking bread together" has taken on new meaning in the midst of a pandemic that has isolated us and led to food insecurity for so many. How better to relieve one's own and another's anxiety than through the gift of a cherished meal?
We were lucky to be among the original recipients of Ledesma's beautiful Proyecto Conbíf and hope the prompt he's developed to extend this project inspires you as much as it has inspired us. (We're also thrilled that his prompt helps support the US Postal Service!)
Finally, be sure to check out Ledesma's bonus video for parents and kids offering instruction on how to create simple paper maché masks.
Dinner kit boxes headed for the post office!
Proyecto Conbíf is a multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary, culturally specific food-based project that intersects performance, documentation, location, heritage, and ancestry—an experimental piece about HOME. Recently, I shared this project with friends, and now I invite you to try a version of it.
When I’m dealing with anxiety, I find comfort in food—especially when sharing it with others.
As I pondered this, questions arose: How can we share something as intimate as a meal in times of isolation? How can we share such an empirical experience while socially distant from one another?
Proyecto Conbíf (or Project Corned Beef) was born in pursuit of answering these and other questions, as well as intersecting ideas of HOME. Though I have a home in Milwaukee, I am currently in Puerto Rico, which I also call home. I wondered how it would be possible for me to conjure for faraway loved ones the experience of having a Puerto Rican meal here with me, in the kitchen of my grandmother’s home. She passed away last year, and now more than ever I want to preserve the meals and traditions she gave to me, and share them with others who are dear to me.
So this is what I did: I created an instructional video for making a special meal and a playlist of music that could be listened to while cooking. Then I packed up several USPS boxes with the ingredients and this letter to friends.
Dinner kits arrive!
In the spirit of Proyecto Conbíf, please share a favorite recipe with your loved ones. Handwrite or type it out, and include a letter for each person. (If you're so inclined, send them the ingredients as well!)
Then, make a playlist of songs to share, whether online or just written out for your recipients to look up. Think about what else you could send along with your recipe that will transport your loved ones to where you are—it could be as simple as a leaf, a magazine clipping, a photograph or poem, or a piece of fabric. Against isolation and across distance, make your presence felt.
Consider also documenting your process, and sharing it with us by email or mail, or by posting to social media and tagging #proyectoconbif #promptsagainstanxiety @cosechacreativespace and @woodlandpattern!
And finally, if you'd like to take this prompt a step further, you can donate below to stand in solidarity with Milwaukee families.
More from this series
TALK TO THE POETSPrompt #17—Stacy Szymaszek
Make-Do Origin Stories & Concrete FuturesPrompt #16—Ching-In Chen
The Family PhotographPrompt #15—Rosa Alcalá
Writing Advice for Your Younger SelfPrompt #14—E.J. Koh
Note(s) to SelfPrompt #13—Stacy Blint
Embracing ConfusionPrompt #12—Bryon Cherry
Writing/Playing the ArchivePrompt #11—Jay Besemer
CAPTURED & FREEDPrompt #10—Dasha Kelly Hamilton
Poetic Exit StrategiesPrompt #9—Ana Božičević
Proyecto ConbífPrompt #8—Erick "CK" Ledesma
TRILOGYPrompt #6—CA Conrad
Utopian CompromisePrompt #7—Paul Druecke
A Series of RoomsPrompt #5—Laura Solomon
Two Variations on N+7Prompt #4—Jenny Gropp
T H E A P A R T / TOGETHERPOEMPrompt #3—Margaret Rozga
An Exercise in WindowsPrompt #2—Marla Sanvick
Erasuring AnxietyPrompt #1—Peter Burzynski
We acknowledge that in Milwaukee we live and work on traditional Potawatomi, Ho-Chunk, and Menominee homelands along the southwest shores of Michigami, part of North America’s largest system of freshwater lakes, where the Milwaukee, Menominee, and Kinnickinnic rivers meet and the people of Wisconsin’s sovereign Anishinaabe, Ho-Chunk, Menominee, Oneida, and Mohican nations remain present.
We further acknowledge the grave evil colonialism introduced to these lands through genocide as well as slavery, and also via racist and xenophobic beliefs, laws, and practices that continue to inflict harm upon Black, Brown, and Indigenous lives. We honor those who have lived—and do live, now—at these intersections of identity and experience, and are committed to the active dismantling of white supremacy.
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