Tag Archives: Paula Gunn Allen

NaBloPoMo #1: It’s Write Your Heart Out Month!

Happy November, everyone — 11/1 marks the start of write-your-heart-out month, no matter your genre of choice: National Novel Writing Month (or¬†NaNoWriMo), National Blog Posting Month (aka NaBloPoMo), WNFIN¬† (for non-fiction writers), National Playwriting Month... check out this list of November’s other timed writing challenges, find your best fit, and get going!

As in past years, I’ll be NaBloPoMo-ing from here — getting back into a daily blogging practice with you all!

I’ve been home sick for the better part of the last week, and I spent all day yesterday in bed with cough drops, hot tea, and Paula Gunn Allen’s The Woman Who Owned the Shadows (Aunt Lute Books, 1983). This feels like one of those books I’m going to return to, repeatedly — and it joins my list of books that both describe and enact healing ceremony (the others being Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters — and I suspect Toni Morrison’s Beloved belongs in this category, too; I’ll have to add that to my list of books to reread so as to try and tease that out).

Just for tonight, as an opening to this month of words, I want to share a quote from The Woman Who Owned the Shadows, thinking about the struggle to find words for all that we want to be able to say:

“…she groped with her words and her thought to make whole what she could not say. She was obsessed by language, by words. She used the words she had lavishly, oblivious to their given meanings. She did not give to them what was theirs, but took from them what was hers. Ever she moved her tongue, searching for a way to mean in words what she meant in thought. For her thought was the Grandmothers’, was the people’s, even though her language was a stranger’s tongue.” (p. 70)

Here’s to the struggle and reach, the ways we delight in words even though they can never do all that we want them to, all that we need them to, all that they used to be able to do. Keep writing, all. Welcome to November.