Ottertail writer releases thought-provoking book
For Heidi Kratzke, writing isn't reserved for English majors who spend their weekends writing novels - it's for everyone.
That's a philosophy that Kratzke has held for quite some time, and it's one of the reasons she began a journey to write and publish the book, "Unveiled: Writing Prompts that Reveal the Heart of God."
The book, officially released Dec. 1, is a compilation of writing prompts intended to stir people's curiosity, thoughts and feelings.
Divided into chapters, the book provides small questions, points of observation, art and quotes as catalysts of inspiration for those interested in writing - or those who simply just like to have their brains and hearts stimulated.
Kratzke, who has led Christian and secular writing workshops, said people commonly ask where they should start in their writing quests.
"Unveiled" provides many opportunities for places to do just that - start.
In the chapter, "A Challenge," Kratzke provides the reader/writer with a simple prompt capable of evoking a host of thoughts and feelings - all of which can be expressed through pen and paper (or keyboard, depending on preference). That prompt includes the simple question, "What is the scent of integrity?," a prompt that isn't necessarily cut and dry.
In the chapter, "All in an Image," a photograph of an elderly woman is followed up with the question asking what the woman's eyes reveal about her life.
It is questions like that that provide the starting points.
Kratzke said the book was created with chapters that could be followed, but there is no "right" way to use the book. Someone could turn to any given page and start from there.
With nearly 240 pages included, there are plenty of places to start, and plenty of thoughts to ponder.
Not all of the writing prompts are intended to evoke long essays or poems. Kratzke said some of the most meaningful pieces of 'writing' she's received have been in simple 'thank you' or 'thinking of you' notes - they were practical. In the chapter, "Encouragement," one prompt challenges the reader/writer to "mail a greeting card to someone you know who is sick and let that person know you are praying for his or her recovery."
While Kratzke intentionally began writing the book a year ago, she said the process began three years ago, without her even realizing it. While creating structures for writing workshops, she's come up with writing prompts and has gathered observation and lessons through those experiences. She made the conscious decision to create the book after spending time searching for a Christian writing prompts book - her searches revealed no resource like it.
"In a sense, I created the resource I was looking for," she said.
Throughout her year of creation, she kept a notebook for the different prompts that came to her at different times. Organizing them into chapters, her husband, Jonathan, actively took part in the design of the book, which includes plenty of white space and a piece of cover art that represents what the book is all about. A painting wrapped in a white covering is visible only through one small tear, leaving the reader wondering what the entire painting would look like if it were unveiled.
Kratzke's book is available at local shops and through her website at ww.unveiledthebook.com. She lives and works in Ottertail.