Monthly Archives: June 2012

shaping a writing home

mural: fish and faces and movement and kitties and eyes and eyes and eyesgood morning good morning– it’s early, the tea is cooling, the sun is pearling the morning clouds, the candles flicker over everything.

How does your morning lift you so far?

I’m in the quiet writing room where I can’t see out any windows, where I don’t look out into the quiet uncommutered street, where I am only focused on the screen, on the notebook, on the words.

Above me, on the built in shelves, are the sticky notes I brought back with me from Hedgebrook (such as this one from Christian McEwen’s World Enough and Time: “Fall if you must fall / The one you will become will catch you”), a short string of Tibetan prayer flags (which can’t strictly pray, since there’s no breeze in this room — maybe sharp exhalations of frustration, though, would flutter them, would offer movement enough), the poems (Wild Geese, yes, of course, and Roberta Werdinger’s fabulous “Poem,” which opens Give me your blood your bone / your sockets your breath and closes with the lines Open my body leave in a mark / Open me river me do what you will.), and image of Artemis the moon dancer that I received from a friend many years ago back when I lived in Maine.

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no longer the forensic evidence

17th/18th century graffiti by the south door of St.Thomas's church, raised clay outline of a human figureGood morning good morning! It’s grey out today, the sun still tucked under fog, and I’m watching the people with their dogs: the smoker lighting his cigarette while his german shepherd runs around off leash; the young man holding a leash attached to his pale-furred barker in one hand, a cup of coffee in the other; the woman walking the little Boston Terrier that Sophie so loves to wrestle with.

This morning so far it’s quiet out, the commuter traffic not yet picked up and I’m here with freesia on the table and a cup of jasmine green tea. Today is maybe all about the smells. My body’s a little tight this morning; some yoga or stretching would be good — how do you welcome your body into a new day?

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Yesterday, my analyst said, “You don’t have to the the body of evidence anymore.” He was reflecting on this thing that I am wrangling with inside these days, this idea that perhaps my identity and self is not Incest all the way through.

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listening into the aftercare

graffiti of a face in profile over a flower, next to the words, "mil maquinas jamais podran hacker una flor"Good Monday morning to you. There’s freesia on the table next to me, yellow and purple-blue, brightly outlined against an orange wall — they’re caught up and held by a spent glass candleholder with an image of Ganesh pasted to it, Ganesh writing in a long tablet, Ganesh the scribe, the remover of obstacles. This morning it’s bright outside the window, the traffic is just picking up, bringing Monday all the way into the house. The sparrows, some with their bright red heads and chests, flit up to the bird feeders. There’s fragrance all around me — freesia, body, morning, jasmine tea. How are you holding into this Monday?

I am thinking this morning about voice and song and the body’s wisdom. I am thinking about visibility and exposure. After a month of posting every day about the most intimate workings of myself, I am in a place of replenishing — I find I don’t want to be at the blogs. I want to be writing, but I don’t want everything of me exposed for awhile; like cuddling hard into the sheets after a particularly intense orgasm with a lover (right?) — sometimes, after everything blows open, and we just want to be covered for awhile until we feel right and safe and whole and in our skin again.

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processing the process

stencil graffiti of Buddha face painted onto grey concrete sidewalkGood morning good morning — happy Monday morning to you. Happy June! I just spent about an hour and a half cuddling into my half-dreams, dancing with the snooze button on my alarm, waking up slow and easing into this day. Then, when I finally get up and get the puppy ready for her walk, we find that it has rained. In June! Just when I think I’ve gotten acclimated to Northern California weather, it all changes on me.

Monday often feels like my Sunday — most weekends, I’ve got a workshop on either Saturday or Sunday (this past weekend, it was our Dive Deep meeting on Sunday afternoon!), so the better part of the day is devoted to workshop: prep, meeting, and clean-up/aftercare. I’m grateful to have worked out the sort of schedule where I can take Monday as a down day, a sleep-in-and-move-slow day, a dream day. A sit-in-my-window-and-watch-oakland-be-grey day.

(I’m having a hard time settling into the writing today. I pop up, fix my tea, sit down and write a little, get up and go make breakfast, sit back down with the quinoa & yogurt and write some more, hop up to clean up after breakfast and then think, oh, let’s get some of this stuff off the wall in preparation for tomorrow’s painting job — then I yell at myself, you’re in the middle of something right now! Go finish your blog and then you can do whatever you want! The puppy snaps her head up, cocks it at her confused angle. Now, this yelling is maybe not the gentlest self-parenting. But my butt is back in the chair.)

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Some of what’s coming up around writing ourselves whole:

Writing the Flood meets this month on June 16; next month we meet on the fourth Saturday (rather than the usual third!) on July 28.

– the summer session of Write Whole: Survivors Write begins on July 2 — this workshop is open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma. Join us, and write yourself into your whole story.

– I get to co-present (with Alex Cafarelli) a Body Mindfulness workshop at the Femme Conference, August 17-19 in Baltimore! I’ll also be performing with Body Heat at FemmeCon. Absolutely can’t wait.

– On August 25, I will facilitate a master class entitled Embodied Words: Writing Your Body’s Narratives, offered through Memoir Journal’s Workshop series. This class is intended to help writers of memoir and fiction get more comfortable writing the body’s stories, and to bring readers into a character’s bodily experience through sensual and sensory detail. Visit for more information or to register!

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How was your May? I missed this blogging-space during my excursion into my May project of daily blogging about self-love and healing; the Coming Home project continues, but I’m ready to get back to this wider thinking about writing and healing and other forms of radical self care, too!

What do I want to say about Coming Home, this engagement with embodiment and trauma and masturbation and orgasm and fear and joy and want and sorrow and breath? When I talk about it with folks, I describe it initially, salaciously, as a masturbate-a-blog, an orgasm-a-day blog. But it wasn’t really as hot as all that, I don’t think. The writing was complicated — that is, the process of generating a blog post a day about my relationship with my orgasm was complicated, and then the writing itself was a layering of fantasy, bodily experience, explicit reference to my trauma history, and the ways that my orgasm has shifted and opened in the, maybe, twenty-five years since the first time I had an orgasm (at least, the first one I can remember), which I had after my stepfather began abusing me.

I write about this for a reason. I think this is obvious, but that’s not necessarily so, is it? I write about all of this because I don’t read about it enough, and I’ve needed to. Because when I write about something, I both know and alter how I think about it. I write about it because I never imagined myself healing into this place of embodiment — I didn’t even know it was possible. And because I’m still mourning what I’ve lost, and because I still want more. I write about it because when we tell our true stories, we allow for connection, we disallow isolation, we stretch our hands across the shadows of shame, the threats of violence, the deep space of shame — and we are met by those who needed to hear exactly what we share.

And, too, after this month of intense daily writing, I am feeling depleted; had to take the weekend off from blogging — feel over-exposed and drawn out. I want to be here in this space, all open and authentic, and also just want to curl up with my mint-jasmine tea and a good book: let someone else do the exposing for awhile. Can’t I just watch the clouds unfurl?

The answer has to be yes sometimes, doesn’t it? How do you take care of yourself after a big creative push?

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Here’s to singing in the rain on a June Monday. Be easy with you today. Thanks for your fierce tenderness with the soft and hurting places in you, in others. Thanks for your strength and bravery in vulnerability and open-mouthed honesty (whether spoken or unspoken). Thanks for your words, always.