The picture my sister texted when she received her copy of Writing Ourselves Whole in the mail! It’s how I knew the book was out in the world!
Good morning, good morning!
We’ve reached that beautiful moment in the SF Bay area when the light begins to change, school gets going again, the leaves on our few deciduous trees start to change color and fall — and suddenly summer arrives in the Bay Area. I hope you are enjoying this warm weather — and staying cool and hydrated in the places where it’s been extra hot.
I have exciting news to share today: I wrote a letter to the editor of The New Yorker magazine (about this idea of some survivors’ resilience being treated as more extraordinary than that of other survivors) — and they have published the letter!
You can read the letter here (mine is the third letter down); you can also read part of the article (“Gone Girl”) that I responded to — this article inspired our extra:ordinary community story project, which you should also read!
Here’s how the letter reads: Continue reading
In my community, a lot of folks are talking about radical self care – not just self care, but radical self care. But what makes taking a vacation or a bubble bath or watching Pretty in Pink or your favorite guilty pleasure movies with a pint of chocolate Coconut Dream and a package of gluten-free chocolate chip cookies radical?
I think you have an idea why. I think your deep heart knows. Your deep heart isn’t the questioning your real need for a break. It’s the other voices questioning you– the inner critic, the internalized perpetrator, your inner radical activist wanting to know how you can possibly justify an hour for a walk around the lake at the heart of your town or – holy shit – several days’ vacation when the revolution is nowhere near at hand and people are starving and beaten and suffering while you decide you’re just gonna take a little down time. Really? Who do you think you are? ask all the voices in unison.
Writing has been the place where I learned the power of a regular self care practice. I’ve had few other consistent self-care practices, save going for long walks. Writing has been my meditation, my grounding, my chance to be more fully in my skin for at least 15-30 minutes a day. On the days I don’t write, I am a less pleasant version of myself: cranky, crotchety, crabby – still disassembled. The days I write I find I breathe more easily. I feel more human. And still I’ve had stretches of days or weeks during which I told myself I didn’t have time to write – the voices of self-denial and abnegation are strong; they’re embedded in our very flesh.
As I mentioned on Monday (here, you remember), I’m going to post longer, more well-thought-out (maybe!) answers to the questions that Britt Bravo posed to me during our Arts and Healing Network podcast conversation last week. Here’s our second installation!
The second question on the list:
2. On your site, you describe [your workshops] as “transformative writing” workshops. How are they transformative?
Transformative writing is writing that changes you in the process of its creation. A dictionary gives one definition of transform as “to change completely for the better.” Another definition: “to convert one form of energy to another.”
As I mentioned earlier in the week (in this post), I’m going to post longer, more well-thought-out (maybe!) answers to the questions that Britt Bravo posed to me during our Arts and Healing Network podcast conversation last week.
The first question on the list:
1. What are the Writing Ourselves Whole workshops?
Most basically, Writing Ourselves Whole offers transformative writing workshops, using the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method, in the service of transforming trauma and/or struggles around sexuality into art, and creating spaces in which individuals may come to recognize the artist/writer within. (whew!)