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.
This coming Saturday, April 9, we’ll gather again for Writing the Flood! Want to join us? This time around, we should be meeting in San Francisco (getting that settled up today or tomorrow) — there are a few spaces still available!
We meet early this month because the following week I’m headed down South for the latest incarnation of the Body Heat Queer Femme Porn Tour! I get to join up with Kathleen Delaney, Alex Cafarelli, Gigi Frost, and the Lady Ms. Vagina Jenkins for their amazing performances around queer femme sexuality, identity and desire. Can’t wait!
April is both National Poetry Month and National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention month. This morning, I thought, That sounds like writing ourselves whole month.
We here reading and writing, we know that these things go together — the power and necessity of poetry to teach, to explain, to give voice to that which has not yet been spoken or listened to. We know how poetry and other forms of creative writing can heal what we didn’t even know was wounded in us, can teach lessons that don’t get learned any other way, can express what we believed there were no words to express. The delicious joy of listening to/witnessing/reading someone else’s indelible words.
Writing poetry or otherwise creatively can be, simultaneously, a tremendous form of self care and a liberatory social change practice.
And writing can be a way of knowing, a way of engaging with what we might know, or could know — and that can be especially useful for trauma survivors, for whom memory can be like a half-rotted film strip, with much of the imagery lost or fragmented, but here and there, a clear sharp sound, that bright flash that means everything.
I found this on twitter this morning: Plato said, “Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history.” What about that?
I have these two (other) delightful quotes this morning, from a handout that John Fox gave out at the Healing Art of Writing conference last summer:
“When we are not sure, we are alive.” — Graham Greene
“I have faith in all those things that are not yet said.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
I wonder about letting those be a writing prompt this morning — just be with each of these statements, and notice what begins to bubble up around them in your writer’s brain. Take out your notebook or open a new document on the screen and let yourself write for 10 minutes: what do these mean for you and/or your characters? (If you find yourself stuck, you might write about what you have faith in, or when you know you’re alive, or what happens when you’re not sure, or what hasn’t yet been said… )
Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you.