Tag Archives: desire

Let your hunger take its own path

The second prompt I offered to last night’s Write Whole writers was to scatter over the carpet a selection of images that were erotic, sensual, sensuous — and while the writers examined them, I shared the following two quotes:

I believe in the erotic and I believe in it as an enlightening force within our lives as women. I have become clearer about the distinctions between the erotic and other apparently similar forces. We tend to think of the erotic as an easy, tantalizing sexual arousal. I speak of the erotic as the deepest life force, a force which moves us toward living in a fundamental way. And when I say living I mean it as that force which moves us toward what will accomplish real positive change.Audre Lorde

Truly, we know that we cannot really subsist on little sips of life. The wild force in a woman’s soul demands that she have access to it all. ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estés

This was my response to the prompt:

There is a dog barking in another room. The sun is setting and the birds have abandoned the body of her longing. She feels around in the places where hunger careened through her and she hears echoes of old want like a faint and remembered percolation. She knows desire will blossom her body again, burst her forward, fill her with power. Today she is fitted with a different direction for those energies. She sits in an empty field, surrounded by cowsong, and the scent of the sea settles in her pores. She lives into the endbloom of the sun, the rustle of live oak leaves, the butterfly making its yellow way from wildflower to wildflower. Someone said, Let your hunger take its own path. She doesn’t need distance but she does need space. She unfolds her sex in a red handkerchief, lays it brown on the new grass, she examines the old scars and the places that never healed right. She touches with gentle fingers, offers this extravagant plainness up to the breeze. She is surrounded by farm animals: cow, sheep, goat — each one puffs her with the heat of its forgiveness. Each one walks away slow and indifferent, leaving her just another creature. She takes toll, she whispers and weeps, she wants more. She doesn’t see what might have been — that doesn’t live in her anymore.

Overhead, the sky is dark blue, the clouds wisp hazy into fog. Hers is a longing of emergence. Her hunger is utilitarian: scratched at the ankles and mosquito-bitten. Her desire fits folded into your back pocket, wipes sweat from your forehead, eats its fill at dinner, sits quiet with a book and candle once the supper’s been cleared. Yes, there will be eruptions, that grasping that pulls now out of a lover’s mouth — but she rests easy with patience when the urgency isn’t singeing her throat: It’s ok, the body says. Replenishment takes its own time. Need will push you to full-lipped and grunting again soon enough. For now, sit back in your rocking chair. Open up the space that will get filled up between you. Allow an absence that can tether itself to want. Practice holding Yes in your mouth again: you don’t have to say it or swallow — you can just let it rest on your tongue. This patience is an old road. The hollows are the trust where your skin begins. The old names can slough away along with your carapace of fear. You can let your soft belly be its own embrace. You can encompass a stronger beauty. You can believe in the ache that sorrows at the corners of your eyes, and you can weep for this strange dance you tango with your sex.

The body rubs itself into a ball, bears its back to the world, creates a shallow where plenty can begin to pool again. She reads poems and the oldest stories while she waits for the body’s rebuilding. She drinks tea and feeds herself slices of morning. She holds tight to the nourishing quiet within her, trusting the nebula in formation, trusting all that she’s learned about the regeneration of her own swollen stars.

(nablopomo #21) listening to the hungers

graffiti by miss tic: a slender woman standing, one hand behind head, head a bit bowed, next to the words: "Nous qui désirons sans faims"

Nous qui désirons sans faims: we who want without hungers

Good morning good morning — just enough time for a blog freewrite before getting ready for work.

This morning’s nablopomo prompt comes again from Ricki Lake: The Business of Being Born is a passion project that has been fulfilling on many levels. Are you pursuing a passion project?

A passion project. This time right here, this half hour at the computer, this getting up before the dawn breaks over the dark horizon, this is a passion project, isn’t it? Isn’t it necessary to have a deep desire in order to bring the bring the body with you into early morning, into the long call of words?

I would say that just these moments of writing are the places of much of my life’s passion right now. Then, of course, there’s the writing workshops. Those have been a labor of love for the last nine years, the opportunity to be with folks writing gorgeous and difficult story.

Every bit of writing is a passion play, work we do because we adore the moment when words hit the page, when the idea floats through the brain and we can press it down through our fingers into some semblance of living — no one tells us that this is what we have to do. We feel it in our bones, and so we sit down here and find room in our too-busy lives for this practice.

I’m thinking, though, about passion and hunger. What are you passionate about? What are you hungry for?

During the last several months, I’ve been exceptionally good at eating t00 much, too often, so that I’m overly full, so that my throat feels clogged, so that I can’t feel the places in me that are hungry for something entirely other than food (especially other than the terrible food I use for binges — I happen to be prone to safeway white cake and big bags of popcorn): hungry for writing time, hungry to publish, hungry to grow the work that I’m doing with writing ourselves whole, hungry for connection and intimacy (the scariest one), hungry for body work, hungry for embodiment. So much easier to eat than to truly feed my deepest hungers, than to sit with the vulnerability that they require of me, than to open my mouth and armor and let in the change that feeding these longings would bring about.

Well, easier in the sense of familiar and comfortable. Not easier in the sense of ongoing psychic pain. I’ve found, over the course of this life, that it’s possible to stuff and drink down and tv these hungers — the ones that press primarily at the inside of my throat, just below my collar bone, the one that live inside my chest between throat and heartbeat — for only so long. The stuffing (the eating bad food, watching bad tv, reading a book I’ve read a million times, drinking too much red wine) doesn’t make these longings go away — and goodness, don’t I imagine, every time, that my life will be easier if I can make them go away? I don’t know how many times I’ll have to learn this lesson: the hungers remain.  Old coping mechanisms won’t feed them. Listening and offering time and space, that’s what feeds these passions, that’s what eases up the lump in my throat, that’s what allows me to breathe again, to bring my life back to a (new) kind of balance.

Why so much fear? Of course, living into dreams means allowing change to come into my life, means moving out of my comfort zone — means living fully with discomfort, actually: all those voices that want to stop my growth go crazy when I’m stepping toward something I’ve longed for: the who do you think you are voices, the how are you going to make a living voices, the old ones that smell like my stepfather, the newer ones that smell like my dad, the ones that sound like teachers who just want you to make a rational decision.  But these places of longing and hunger aren’t rational. Embodiment, even, isn’t rational — it’s a completely different process, engaged to and with mind but beyond it, as well, beyond logic and 1+1=2.

I’m talking about 1+1=bird: that’s passion.

What’s so scary about following our dreams? What if we reach and can’t get there? What if we try and fail? Yes, that’s part of the terror. What if we reach and make it? Then what? What happens if we have to go on reaching for our dreams, have to go on being accountable for our lives? Whew. Talk about a sea change.

A prompt for today (I’m going to do this one on my commute in to the day job) might involve making a list of the experiences/dreams/goals you (or your character) are hungry for — what are the passions you’re living with, especially the ones you’re ignoring or running from. This list is just for you. Draw it in sand, if you’re afraid of someone else finding it. Type it up on the screen and then erase the words — but let yourself see that list. Then choose one of those items and write — what would it be like if you fed that desire, if you let yourself live into that dream? As much as possible, try not to focus on what you’re afraid of, but what’s possible — still, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go. 10 minutes today — give yourself 10 minutes for your dreams.

Thanks for the joy and passion that you nurture within others, and that you allow to flourish within yourself. Thanks for your exquisite creativity, in all its manifestations, and thanks for your words.

This March, join us for one of our weekend intensive writing days!

Announcing weekend-day workshops this March – Reserve your space now!


Want to get a feel for how the workshops run before committing to a full 8-week session? Not able to join to a full 8-week workshop session? Want the opportunity to go a little deeper into the writing that you’ve gotten started on your own, or during regular workshop meetings?

Here’s your chance!

Join us for a day of good writing, good food and great company! The March dates are:

  • Saturday, March 22: Declaring Our Erotic: open to folks of all genders and orientations!
  • Saturday, March 29: Raw Silk-Women write desire: open to all women
  • Sunday, March 30: Write Whole-Survivors Write: for women survivors of sexual trauma
  • I’ll provide breakfast and light snacks for the day. As for all the other writing groups, we will be using the Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method. You’ll leave with: a rich body of new creative writing; feedback from your peers about what’s already strong in your new writing; and some thoughts about revising your new work.

    Each retreat day runs 10:00am-4:00pm (Breakfast 9:30-10:00am). The cost will be $100; sliding scale may be available. All workshop meetings held in our convenient Flood Building office, right off the Powell Street BART stop. Contact me (jennifer (at) writingourselveswhole (dot) org) with questions or to reserve a space!

    Reminder: All identities (i.e., women, survivor) are to be self-defined!