Tag Archives: joy

can we trust release?

Good morning. How do you reach for a morning when all you want to do is snuggle up into the weekend? I have books and movies I want to tell you about, a hillside to describe (one covered with cows and wild turkeys and salt air). I want to tell you about tiny new lambs hopping like rabbits through green California pastures.

Today I am back at work after a long weekend up at Tomales Bay. Something happens to my body when I go there, when I am in that landscape, a place that feels like home — there are cows and sheep (though no miles-long corn or wheat fields) and wild green pastures — and then there’s the sea and the bay. I want to tell you everything and it’s hard to settle in on one place to begin. Someone wrote about that at Dive Deep yesterday — how everything wants to get written at the same time, so many voices and characters calling for our writer’s attention. Continue reading

writing the joy

the bottom right corner of a window with a green shutter -- and just to the right of the corner are three graffitied musical notesGood morning good morning good morning — I’ve been half-awake for about an hour, dancing with the snooze on my alarm, curling in around pillows and covers. It’s hard to get up extra early these days; I wonder if my 4am writing mornings are behind me. It’s hard to believe that could be true — more likely, my body is just needing a bit more time to process all the life we’re living when we’re awake, and wanting more room to move around in dreamspace. The dark is still clinging to the city outside my windows, and candlelight makes my apartment feel both cozy and tendriled with illumination.

This morning my heart is pounding, and during the moments I was awake during my snoozy last hour, I was beginning to compose this blog post, writing liminally. My heart is racing a bit today, but with delight and pleasure and anticipation rather than with terror or panic. Continue reading

the things I can choose to live for might be very small things

graffiti, a smiling woman's face, with the text, "celebrate your joy!"

(click on the image for more of Frank H. Jump's collaborative project, documenting vintage mural ads and more)

Good morning! This is a very sleepy morning — is going to be a very sleepy day. I’ve been awake since 4 at least, earlier, I think. My morning-self was ready to write early, I guess, but my physical-self wasn’t quite ready to pull hirself out from under the warm covers and into the chill dark until about 5.


I think music is one of the reasons for living. I don’t understand it, by which I mean I don’t understand where it comes from in people, so it’s always magic to me. I mean, I don’t think in music; it’s not a way that I express myself creatively — and I’m grateful for that not-understanding. It means I can sink into the sound with wonder, without the technical eye that sometimes arises (not often, but sometimes) when I’m reading a book I like and I want to attend to how the writer did what they did.

And curiosity, possibility: these have kept me alive, too. Listening to other people’s writing, especially at an open mic, in the workshops: experiencing how much there is to our us-ness. And the way the sky looks, at almost any moment. how a candle moves on its own inside the glass. the taste of coffee. a really good kiss (thanks for that, you). laughter. how my body feels when its moving in water. the feel a of a pen moving across the page — that’s a good thing to live for. the body’s endless possibilities. I want to say the body’s endless capacity for joy; but there’s also the endless capacity for sorrow, for loss: how very much we can hold. What other reasons to live? a dog’s head under your hand, holding eye contact with an animal or a very young child: there’s communication that happens there that we don’t have language for yet.

Maybe I’m thinking about how we decide to stay alive, how I have decided to stay alive. We can always choose not to, and we can choose to die quickly or die slow. So many many of us choose to die slow. And then there are the decisions to live: every day. Moment to moment, some days.

I’m not trying to be Pollyanna-y or Follow-Your-Bliss-y here: I’ve been kept alive (kept myself alive) by inappropriately-placed lust, by drinking (because I knew when I was drinking I could flirt with the wrong people, I could be too loud, I could be the parts of me that people don’t recognize otherwise, I could cry and cry and cry), by swimming around in depression and soaking in self-pity (and by this I don’t mean to say that depression is a chosen thing; rather, that there have been times that I decide I’m going to go with the grain of it into the hollow of my sorrow and feel around for the core and curvature of that place, instead of setting myself at an angle against depression’s pull and trying to find joy even when I’m at my saddest and most grey). Guilt has kept me alive: imagining how terribly sad my sister would be if I died, how sad my love would be. And so, I’m grateful right now for those things, too, weirdly.

The things I can choose to live for might be very small things — how good it feels to walk through the city and look at all the people and places; a cup of coffee; writing time in the morning, even though it’s not as much time as I want  — those very small things are everything.


A prompt? Want to make a list of some of the reasons you have, today, for living? Making the list might be the writing exercise, or you might choose one of the items on the list and write more about that one — what is it that captivates you (or your character)? What catches you in about it?


Today, I’m grateful for every decision you’ve made toward living, even if that meant, sometimes, moving closer to death. We’re complicated in our humanness. I’m grateful for your curiosities, your joys. Thank you, too, always, for your words.