It’s a late-sleeping good morning here, and time to head out into the world with an anxious puppy. But I am slowly (so as to make it last) reading Jeanette Winterson’s memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, and I have these lines of hers to share with you all today:
…when people say that poetry is a luxury, or an option, or for the educated middle classes, or that it shouldn’t be read at school because it is irrelevant, or any of the strange and stupid things that are said about poetry and its place in our lives, I suspect that the people doing the saying have had things pretty easy. A tough life needs a tough language — and that is what poetry is. That is what literature offers — a language powerful enough to say how it is.
It isn’t a hiding place. It is a finding place. (p. 40)
Good morning good morning — what can I give you this morning from this place of quiet and green tea?
I’m excited and nervous about today’s Conversations with Writers presentation at UC Davis — mostly looking forward to the Q&A time after the talk. We’ll talk about what’s liberatory about an erotic writing practice, about writing about sex or desire in a community, about the power of owning and naming one’s longings — especially now, at this time of struggle and revolution, the power of deep embodiment and creative practice.
And then maybe there’ll be a couple of readings, too, from the chapbooks: pink and devastating or what they didn’t teach us. That will be fun, too.
We had so much fun at this workshop back in January, we’re doing it again! Contact John Crandall (info at the end of the post) to register or for more info! -xox, Jen
Reclaiming our Erotic Story:
the Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire
Two quotes for you today from Audre Lorde, in honor of both National Poetry Month & National Sexual Assault Awareness & Prevention Month:
“Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before.”
“… poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into idea, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. The farthest horizons of our hopes and fears are cobbled by our poems, carved from the rock experiences of our daily lives.”
— Audre Lorde Continue reading
Good Monday morning! I am sleepy today — this morning, it’s hard to stay with the writing; I have to keep typing (like I would write it out in the notebook) that once I’m done here, I can go back to sleep if I really want to. Sometimes, that’s what being easy with myself means: giving in, on paper, at least, and in real life sometimes, too.
When I say, be easy with you, I mean, don’t beat yourself up in your heart. I mean, be patient with yourself and your process. I mean, send yourself a little love when you are feeling very hard and sad. I mean, trust the difficult places, the triggers, the shit that comes up. I mean, trust your own process: it’s nobody’s business but yours.
Yes, sometimes, you won’t do everything the way you thought you were supposed to be able to (this looks like my everyday, btw): Be easy with you means, That’s all right. That’s human.
Come write with me!
Reclaiming our Erotic Story:
the Liberatory Potential of Writing Desire
January 29, 2011
Can erotic writing liberate more than our libidos? Does greater comfort with sexual expression lead to greater agency in our communities? Many of us assume that the erotic is solely the province of the individual, and not the realm of social change or communal liberation – but what happens when we all have wider access to and more comfort with erotic language and sexual expression? The full breadth of our erotic power can challenge what our society teaches us about our sexuality, which is both damning and provocative when it comes to personal expression and human relationships.
Good morning! What’s happening for you today? I’m on the other side of this sick, thank goodness, still soothing a raw nose but able to breathe relatively normally again. Outside the weather’s warm like breath, and standing at my front door, I watch as a fat crow lands in the front yard and hops around, poking into the grass for something tasty. I imagine sitting on the stoop, having hir hop up over to me, getting to rest my hand on hir feathers, getting to heft hir weight. Ze goes the other way, though, through a break in the white plastic-picket fence and onto the sidewalk. I come back inside.
Here’s something I put into the grant application I sent off last night: Continue reading
(check this out -- 'reverse' graffiti!)
5:43am — what would I be writing about this morning if I had the time, if I could be writing about anything I wanted? Last night the bus took an hour and a half to make a 45 minute trip because traffic on Lombard was so heavy — everyone wanted to get across the Golden Gate. I was tired of words and wanted to be home. I nearly fell asleep on the bus, dozed a little, got a sleepy mouth. Sometimes I get tired of words the way I get tired of the smell of my own body, with a kind of sickening overwhelm, because I can’t get away. There’s no break for me from words. Words are my only mechanism, only medium, only practice. They’re my work and my hobby. Last night I came home and drank wine and ate the red beans and rice F! had made, then ate cheese and crackers, then ate ice cream. I watched tv. If I’d turned off the tv, I’d have been left with words. I wanted to breathe without them for a little bit. I wanted to step outside of that structuring of my brain, which I didn’t, not really, but tv drugs you and makes you think you’re free. The clouds outside look like dark smoke in the early sky. The garbage truck looks like hungry.
The Monday night Write Whole workshop is going and gorgeous, even though the registration is quite small. The Tuesday night DOE workshop I’ve had to cancel again because only a few people had any interest, only two indicated they’d register and only one followed through. What happens? I had the idea that many people would want to take an erotic writing workshop, figured that, of course, when I opened the groups up to everyone, folks of all genders, that I might lose some of the women who’d wanted to take the women-only workshop, but I’d get a lot more people who didn’t fit or feel comfortable in those groups: that hasn’t been the case. Maybe it’s because I’m not known, I’m not advertising enough, I don’t have a book or a regular (like, consistent), sexy image: I’m not out there blogging and twittering and facebooking about sex, my own sex and others, I’m not really putting out that this is what I do. And frankly, right now, it isn’t what I do: I haven’t been doing a lit of sex writing, except when I’ve got a workshop on. Otherwise, what do I write about? trauma. flowers. workshops.