For simplicity sake, I try to have students pick a single image, yet invariably there is more than one, and often three or four, sometimes more than you'll resonate with, each for its own unique reasons, the reasons which can, and do, shift and morph over time.
JUST as powerful is to approach the piece from the -opposite- direction, naming the images you are NOT in the piece, and why. Often, the "not" responses come laced in a lot more emotion than the "am" statements which can be quite revealing.
Here are some of my am/am not statements from the collage, "Masked Madonna."
1.) I am ... the wings without a body. I have a sense of flight, but no clear direction to go or guidance system to get me there.
2.) I am ... the lightbulb - empty now but ready for a grand idea to illuminate me.
3.) I am ... the woman in labor.
4.) I am ... the woman dancing, and offering comfort in her dance.
5.) I am also, the woman dancing, but tired from holding up this mask.
I am NOT's:
1.) I am not ... the robot, OR the mask - my eyes are wide open, not shut to the world around me.
2.) I am not ... the midwives - I have my OWN labor and birth to attend to.
3.) I am not ... the frozen, blue scene - I am alive with color and warmth.
4.) I am not ... the craggy, sharp moonscape - I am ready for friendly smoothness in my life.
5.) I am not ... the bronchial-like branches - I am bored of dead ends; I am ready to let my threads interweave. I am ready for tapestry.
Next, we would remove the "I am" and "I am not" portions of the phrases, and voila! We find ourselves with some nifty writing prompts. I would have my student pick the three that hold the most emotional impact and let those become the first sentences of their next journaling assignments. My three would be:
1.) "a guidance system to get me there."
2.) "ready for a grand idea to illuminate me."
3.) "I am ready to let my threads interweave. I am ready for tapestry."
Now, it's YOUR turn.
Who are YOU in the attached collage?
Who are you NOT?
What three journaling prompts pop up for you from this collage?