Author Archives: Jen

AWA facilitators – join me for a conversation about writing with trauma next weekend!

Hello hello and happy autumn to you!

I just wanted to hop in here (for the first time in awhile) to invite any certified AWA facilitators who are interested to join me next weekend, October 8, for a post-certificate training about writing with trauma: Continue reading

it’s ok to feel whole in our skin

 

 

Good morning, good morning. It’s 5am  and there are candles and it’s dark and snowing and I have the old loud heater at my feet and quiet music and hot tea. This morning I feel grateful even though the whole world feels like it’s falling apart.

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What we were looking for

little brown dog looking at the viewer and white woman in pink coat and blue hat looking at the dog, with snow in the background “Someday we will find what we are looking for – or maybe we won’t. Maybe we will find something much greater than that.”

(No one seems to know who wrote that phrase — have you seen it attributed to anyone?)

Good morning, good morning. My alarm went off at 4am and now it’s quarter to 5 and I am just settling in. The candles are flickering and I have my tea and I’m pushing in. What I want is to just read for awhile and then go back to sleep. I haven’t looked at Twitter in more than a week now; maybe just a moment when Russia invaded Ukraine, to find the feed of an Iranian-Georgian woman I follow, just to see her thoughts, but she was focused closer to home.

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a different kind of fed

white stenciled graffiti: "where is the love?"

Lisbon street art

(CN: Social media frustrations and description of a graphic image of violence near the end of the post)

Social media has colonized what was once a sacred space occupied by emptiness: the space reserved for thought and creativity.  – Mahershala Ali

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can we have delight even when we’re so rightfully angry?

greybrown sandy beach and a brown dog in a red coat with her white paws pressed to a ball  - over the beach, a blue and pink sunrise sky

The puppy doesn’t care how pretty the sunrise is – she has her ball

CN: talk about rage and reasons to be enraged and also some not-rageful sex talk toward the end

Good morning, good morning. The puppy got me up, accidentally, at 2:30 or so, and I haven’t been able to fall back to sleep since — so we came out through the rain (the puppy walking close to me to stay under the umbrella) to the little house and have the candles lit and she is comfortable tucked in her chair under one of the blankets that I bought at Ikea when I was furnishing the office I had in Oakland for a little while and the tea kettle is on and the space heater is churning at my feet and we have an astonishingly perfect morning place. The ocean is so loud I could hear it from the bed, which is rare — it’s been warm the last couple of days, but windy, and there’s clearly a storm coming or influencing us from somewhere. 

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small successes and the chance to keep going

Sticker graffiti of a woman with a blank face sitting cross-legged; part of one knee has been removedThere’s a way not to be broken that takes brokenness to find it. – Naomi Shihab Nye Good morning, good morning. It’s warm outside, warmer than it ought to be in February, but I can’t complain about it because the cold has been a struggle the last week or so. It’s true that February is always when the winter blues start to hover, or just the frustration, the weariness — do I really have to put all of these clothes on just to take the dog on a walk again today? But the moon is a full brightness behind the clouds and the light changed sometime earlier this month, so I’ve begun to imagine what spring might feel like, have begun to think about the garden, can start to let myself imagine what the yard will look like when it’s not just covered with snow and ice and mud.

•§•

In just a couple of weeks, I’m going to turn 50. This fact has been filling me with dread for a few years. But not for the reasons I, as a woman, am supposed to dread aging.

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Rae Armantrout’s “Scumble”

`photo of a black antique typewriterScumble
Rae Armantrout

What if I were turned on by seemingly innocent words such as
“scumble,” “pinky,”

or “extrapolate?”

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: “Girl” and “[asking]”

Two poems for this Monday:

Girl
by Eve Alexandra
 
Be careful if you take this flower into your house. The
peony has a thousand lips. It is pink and white like the lady’s
skirt and smells sharp and sweet as cinnamon. There are a
thousand ants living inside but you will only see one or two at
a time. I am like that down there–pink and busy inside. The
dark is a bolt of cloth, crushed and blue, and I unfurl against it.
If you lie down on the floor of the closet the hems of silk will
lick you. My own gown is thin as the skin of dried grass so I
can see the ants dancing down there. The night has big paws.
I imagine the wool of the bears, the cloth of monkeys. the night
smells like vetiver and cedar. His mouth is cool with mint and
warm with rum, and I am not afraid as he rubs his wool against

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Mary Oliver’s “Starlings in Winter”

graffiti of black birds on a wire

Starlings in Winter
Mary Oliver

Chunky and noisy,
but with stars in their black feathers,
they spring from the telephone wire
and instantly
 
they are acrobats
in the freezing wind.
And now, in the theater of air,
they swing over buildings,
 
dipping and rising;
they float like one stippled star
that opens,
becomes for a moment fragmented,
 
then closes again;
and you watch
and you try
but you simply can’t imagine
 
how they do it
with no articulated instruction, no pause,
only the silent confirmation
that they are this notable thing,
 
this wheel of many parts, that can rise and spin
over and over again,
full of gorgeous life.
Ah, world, what lessons you prepare for us,
 
even in the leafless winter,
even in the ashy city.
I am thinking now
of grief, and of getting past it;
 
I feel my boots
trying to leave the ground,
I feel my heart
pumping hard, I want
 
to think again of dangerous and noble things.
I want to be light and frolicsome.
I want to be improbable beautiful and afraid of nothing,
as though I had wings.

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WriOursWhoMo – April Poems: Dorianne Laux’s “Antilamentation”

photograph of the words "Trust your struggle" graffitied in cursive on a cement wallwritingAntilamentation
Dorianne Laux           

 Regret nothing. Not the cruel novels you read
to the end just to find out who killed the cook.
Not the insipid movies that made you cry in the dark,
in spite of your intelligence, your sophistication.
Not the lover you left quivering in a hotel parking lot,
the one you beat to the punchline, the door, or the one
who left you in your red dress and shoes, the ones
that crimped your toes, don’t regret those.
Not the nights you called god names and cursed
your mother, sunk like a dog in the livingroom couch,
chewing your nails and crushed by loneliness.
You were meant to inhale those smoky nights
over a bottle of flat beer, to sweep stuck onion rings
across the dirty restaurant floor, to wear the frayed
coat with its loose buttons, its pockets full of struck matches.
You’ve walked those streets a thousand times and still
you end up here. Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering
any of it. Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

 

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