Tag Archives: love

I want more than survival for you

It’s a stunningly beautiful day outside, the first day this year I’ve been able to go out and sit in the sun and not have to dry condensation off the chair or table on the back deck, or wait for the morning light to warm up the cool that the night brought to the city. I just spent about an hour with the garden: first, reading about all the edibles/vegetables that we planted (cucumber, herbs, zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries); then I went down and examined all the new growth, hunted around the yard for sticks and tall things that could be appropriated and used as stakes for pole beans and snow peas, which need to get planted right now. I could spend all day there, but I’m pretending that I’m a writer, that writing is my work, and so I’m inside at the computer — with the door open, I can still hang out with the spring morning sounds: the bird trills and the rush of crow’s wings, hummingbird shuzhes, bees and flies and the hush of breeze through the new spring leaves (those lovely leaves that are now shading my what-was-once-full-sun garden plot).

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So, here you are, Jen, at the computer, fingers at the ready. You’ve left the deeply human work of physically tending to food that will nourish people you adore so that you can play with words. And what is it that you want to say? What was so important that you needed to bring your skin in from the sun, your ears in from the airplay of birds, your eyes in from watching the puppy watching the squirrel in those newly-leafed trees? What brought you back to the cave? What kept you from travel today?

(Who’s asking those questions anyway?)

I set my timer for twenty minutes and go. I want to write about gender and costuming, I want to think about the uses and message of this blog, I want to talk about worry for my friends who are sick and struggling, I want to write to you something exquisite about the kind of love that can blossom when you thought you had used up all your chances — body love, self love, love for another. Love from another for you. Continue reading

what do we deserve?

This morning I am all soft song and heartbeat. How do we reckon with all the love we are offered? How do we hold our bodies open into that warm and sticky possibility that not only did we always deserve love, but that we are surrounded every minute by more love than it’s possible for us to hold — we have to let it flow over and through us instead. We have to trust that the flow will continue. There’s nothing to grab onto anyway.

I know, all the poets have already said this. But today I am astonished again. Today I can’t believe that I am still worth loving — when I have forced those who love me to prove their love over and over again. Of course, that’s not what happened. I didn’t force anything. They choose to remain steadfast. Still: more than I believe I deserve.Who teaches us these things? Continue reading

putting what you love at the center of your life

blue-and-green graffiti moths painted on an orange metal bracingGood morning! I’m sorry I missed you yesterday — I was up the coast, hanging out with sea lions and redwoods, with no internet connection. It was bliss, all that sound and space: not just outside, but inside, too, how it opens and grows when you lift off the pressure a little bit.

I want to tell you about the couple of monarch butterflies, about how abalone shells fragment and turn sand iridescent, about seals making a striated rock look more beautiful (thanks, Alice Walker), about hearing sea lion talk from the bedroom, about Halloween shooting stars just when you ask for them, about a red-tailed hawk pushing through the air just when you’re walking through a once cow-pasture to the water, next to the lighthouse compound that you decided not to pay $14 to get into. About the brown-and-black fuzzy caterpillars, about a hot tub in a secluded spot on the deck, about an anniversary picnic at the living room table.

I want to tell  you all about it, more, and today I’m diving back into the very-busy that this weekend was a break from. Today, this week, I’m back to trading writing time for sleep, or, as was the case this morning, vice versa.

So, this is a short short, today: a prompt.  Take a few minutes, and make a list of all the things you love, the things that bring you the most joy and satisfaction. Then write for 10 minutes (or more!) about how your life (or your character’s life!) would look with those things at the center of your life, instead of around the edges. (Maybe what you love is already centered in your life — is there something new you’re wanting to incorporate? A new practice or habit? You could also spend this writing time visualizing that: what does your life look like with that practice or habit established?) Let yourself get into the details: what’s your daily routine like? How do you spend a day? What does your body feel like in this slightly-altered life?

Thank you for the ways you forefront what’s most important to you, and, too, for the ways you have held on gently to what you love, even tucked it away under your liver for protection, during the times when it was safer hidden than expressed. Thank you for your words: always.

not of the carnal kind, but of the cardiac

graffiti -- sacred heart: stylized heart, wrapped up and burning...

(check out more of Marshall Astor's photography by clicking on the photo!)

Good morning! It’s a Monday — how’d that get here so fast? I’ve got decaf espresso on the stovetop (and yes still the magnet on my fridge, bought long long  before I stopped drinking caffeinated coffee, that says, “Decaf Espresso? What’s the Point?”). Mmm — espresso w/ cardamom and lemon zest, and a bit of sugar.

In a couple hours, I’ll be heading out to the airport, getting on a plane, flying East, for the Power of Words conference. First I get a day in Boston, with the Lady Miz M & her Lady, and then an early morning drive up through NH and VT to a day-long conversation about what Transformative Language Arts is and could be. Then, on Thurs, the Transformative Language Arts Network Council has its annual meeting. Then the Power of Words conference starts Friday — I get to talk about the liberatory power of our erotic story. I get to introduce Kim Rosen‘s keynote, and then, too, I get to facilitate a panel discussion about the ways that transformative language arts work can be social change work.


I will work to post at least once or twice from New England — it would have been smart to set up a few automatic posts (huh? like Jianda’s been tellin’ me. *sigh*), but I haven’t done that yet.

When I get back, we’ll have one more week before the Write Whole and Declaring Our Erotic: Reclaiming our Sexuality workshops start. We’re about half-registered for DOE, and almost full for WW. Please do let me know if you’d like to join us, and please pass the word about the workshops if you know someone who you think might be interested! Most folks who come new to the workshops heard about them from someone they know…(thanks for that!)


Oh: I did it! I went swimming! (I wrote, a week and a half ago, that I’d go swimming once last week. Then I got sick and though I probably wouldn’t do that after all. but by the end of the week I felt a lot better, and woke up on Saturday with an urge to move through water. I headed up to the Terra Linda public pool, here in San Rafael, for the adult swim. remember when the Adult Swim was the super-boring time at the pool, cause all the kids had to get out and let the adults just go back and forth across the pool, in straight lines, like that was something fun? well, that was us. And it was fun, after all. This was the last weekend that Terra Linda’s going to be open this year, so now I gotta check out the Marin Y.


I have a write I want to share with you, from this past weekend’s Writing the Flood. We did the exercise where you start writing with a phrase (In this case, it was “In the palm of your hand…”), and then after a minute, I through out a random word that you have to, right away, put into whatever it is you’re writing. I do that for the next four minutes: every minute, I say a new word, and you bring that word into your writing. Then, after the five minutes are completed, you pause a moment, and keep on writing for another 10-15 minutes, following your writing wherever it seems to want you to go. (You can do this yourself by writing the words on 3×5 cards, turning the cards over, and every minute, looking at one of the cards and using that word right away.)

It can take us to writing we’d never imagine doing, this prompt, sometimes something surreal and very different for us. Here’s what I wrote in response:

In the palm of your hand, I put the bald story of my heart, in all its plastic anguish, in all its grief, in all its weight. In the palm of your hand, teeth dig in and around the flesh, angry and swollen (the teeth or the heart?), gnawy and hopeful and hard. In the palm of your hand, I put heart’s background, prescient and timely, orange and dangerous, cactus-spined with sadness and also with wanting. Sob out all yesterday’s angries, sob out the places blue and pushy, the places still ratcheting like pulses inside your mouth. Blue out all the angries. Write what hurts, first.

This waving, this hardying, this shore, this hesitation — this is what I’m talking about. How the palm of your hand is this conductor, holding forth the light, asking for more from my heart than just grief,l asking for the weight history to bleed out–

In the palm of your hand I put the hot weight of my heart and let you fold your slim fingers around its heft, cradle it like it’s something worth tendering to, push maybe now and again against its tough meat. And it’s your job, now, this carrying, the way you have to do the work of your day while still holding on to my heart, soothing its crusts and anguishes even while you go about, one-handed, making your oatmeal for breakfast, or texting, one-thumbed, the clients who need to hear from you.

And what about how your heart is in my palm, the way we bloody ourselves for love, the way I settle myself into your gush not of the carnal kind, but of the cardiac — how I soak in what you’d come to believe no one would ever even want to see.

What am I trying to get into here? The tenacious stuff of the heart, how I let you take it in your mouth when you need both your hands for other tasks, how you set it down sometimes, how sometimes you forget where you left it., How its easy to say, sometimes love is like this — you, scrambling, searching, asking like you do, not about your glasses this time but, Babe, do you know where I left your heart? and I think, Look in your hands. There it is.

Not a magic trick. Hard labor, thick salty trust, aches of arguments and resolutions, how we, brown-skinned transbutch and paler skinned femmedyke, were never supposed to know the contours, the inner workings, the mechanics of one another’s heart beats, how much is established to keep us from listening, from holding your hand to your ear in the night and listening to the doubling up of a blood swell, your pulse the backdrop to my own, there in your hands. There in the palm of your hand.

Thanks for the gentleness you’re going to show yourself today, and for the ways you’re gentle with others as well, even in your fierce honesty. It’s a kindness, that honesty, and a generosity, too. Thanks for your writing, always.