persistent practices

graffiti from Pacifica, CA: a flowing green tree, over flowing brown rootsGood morning good morning — it’s late! Happy Friday: I’ve got some nettlemintanisetulsi tea here with me, and a handful of walnuts. What’s waking you up today?

I just spent close to two hours freewriting, pen to paper, down in the journal. I feel calm, grateful, energized, a little more sane — writing on the computer has become an enjoyable habit for me, and, too, the process is completely different from freewriting in a notebook– for all my practicing, I still do more editing here at the computer, I stop/pause/break more in the flow of the words — and let’s not even mention the various distractions that avail themselves to me when I’m online.

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Today’s the last day to take advantage of the early bird discount for the Summer ’11 writing workshops! Remember, this is what we’re offering:

  • Write Whole: Survivors Write — meets 8 Monday evenings, beginning June 13. Open to all women who are survivors of sexual trauma. (Almost full — but a couple of spaces are still available)
  • Declaring Our Erotic — meets 8 Thursday evenings, beginning June 16. A sex-positive writing group, open to LGBT/SGL/queer folks of all genders.

Please contact me today if you’d like to take advantage of the 30% early-bird discount — I’d love to write with you!

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Turns out I’m not going to Seattle for the SEAF. While I was very much looking forward to it, I had to make some tough financial decisions this week, and it just wasn’t feasible to go up there without a workshop to offset the travel costs. Next year I’ll get that organized sooner! I hope everyone up in Seattle has an amazing weekend — I can’t wait to read the stories.

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This is what happens when I freewrite: all of my parts can come out and play. No editing, no trying to be just one self or another. After eighteen years of freewriting practice, I’ve gotten pretty good at not editing, at letting whatever pops into my head push its way into my hand and through the pen onto the page. The journal-freewriting is not a performative practice, like blogging is. Yes, sometimes I write in my journal with the idea that I will share that writing with others, I’ll use it in a piece, I’ll post it here — but the vast majority of that writing, for the vast majority of these years, has been deeply private, even from me; so much of it I don’t go back and read. It’s a process of embodying, of resituating myself, of regathering together all the parts, of letting flow the voices that aren’t socially acceptable, that don’t fit with this or that one of my identities, of figuring out what I’m thinking. When I don’t do it for awhile (and I’ve been out of the habit recently), I start to feel all grinchy inside, trainwrecky and at the same time, too clear, not messy enough, not whole in my parts.

It’s a way I re-member myself, the way I collect myself, the way I am not on stage and still am storytelling to a perfect listener. Freewriting as a constituting practice continues to save me, and that sense of ‘being saved’ has shifted over these 18 years, but still it (the sense, the practice) persists.

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What have you (or your character!) practiced, intentionally or not, for more than a decade that brings you joy? Want to write about it? Take 10 minutes, 15 if you’ve got ’em, and tell us about it — what’s that practice? How did it feel when you started? How do you feel with it now?

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Grateful. Thanks to you, to your languaging, to your figuring out, to your patience and practice, for your words. Please keep writing.