Tag Archives: podcast

DOE: the right to be honest

painting, "From Strength to Liberty" -- figures entwined, reaching, pushing, stretching, dancing

"From Strength to Liberty," by Javier Azurdia -- click on the image above to see more of his gorgeous work.

I started to type in my motto as the title of this post, but only got as far as “lobertis…” and I had to stop and delete it all and drink more tea. Still fighting off, battling (dang it — the military metaphors are all over us!), wrangling with this cold, but I think I’m on the backside now. Got some great healing advice over on facebook — thank you! I’ve had lots of tea and veggies and rice and miso broth. I’ve got these soups I make when I’m sick that always just look awful when the sick is gone — but they do the job!

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Today’s supposed to be a Declaring Our Erotic post. With this cold here still clogging up my nasal passages, I’m not feeling like I’ve got all that much erotic to declare.

I do want to remind you about tomorrow’s podcast with Jianda Monique!

And I want to remind you, too, that the next erotic writing workshop is one that’s open to all LGBT/queer survivors of sexual trauma or sexual violence, and begins Thursday, Oct 7.

This is going to be a powerful opportunity for queer survivors of all sexes and genders to come together in one space and write our full and complicated sexualities. We get to write fantasy, we get to write other people’s fantasies, we get to write things we’ve never done and never will do but think about sometimes, we get to write whatever erotic we want. We practice releasing the self-censor, we practice releasing this idea that there’s only a small range of erotic desire that’s “ok” for us to want or think about, we practice trusting our writing voices to take us wherever we need to go, even to where we didn’t know we needed to go.

I’m telling you, it’s going to be gorgeous. Will you join us? Or, too, can you think of someone who might like to know about this workshop? Would you pass the word to them?

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I think I must have written about this before in this blog, this motto: “Liberty is the right not to lie.” Attributed to Albert Camus, but I first came across it as the epigraph to Pat (now Patrick) Califia‘s devastating book of lesbian erotica, Macho Sluts. (This  book is what made me queer.) (Well, the book, and the hands that passed it to me, and the community that contained us all. Thank goodness to these.) (Of course, if I weren’t already queer, the cover of the latest edition of Macho Sluts would do the job, without question.) (The quote is also included in Tillie Olson’s absolutely amazing book, Silences.) (I’ll stop with these now.)

As a young person under her stepfather’s control, even from over a thousand miles away, I almost never felt free. Something opened in me, though, when I read that phrase. Lying was, for me, one way to get free, to say, You don’t have control over every aspect of me — I will still have control of my words, of the intersection between my word and deed, of my honesty. You can’t force my every truth from my lips, though he tried.

This quote, this idea, liberty is the right not to lie. The right to be honest. The right to tell the truth. Not just about desire, as Califia was doing and urging — but, yes, too, about desire.

Perhaps my stumbling (or, rather, my being encouraged to stumble) across this quote was the beginning of his end. Anyway, it was a continuation of my opening. And I hold it still close to me, regularly: What am I not being honest about? Is that living into liberty, into liberation? Our liberation will be in our ability to honestly tell our lives, our truths, our experiences, our longings,  our fears, our dreams.

Lying can be a place of freedom for awhile, a survival strategy. Internalizing it, though, in my experience, is a place of death, of self-silencing.

For your write today, if you want to take 10 minutes, consider for yourself Camus’ phrase: “Liberty is the right not to lie.” What does it mean for you? What comes up when you read it? Start there, and follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go.

Thanks for being there, for reading even the sick-typed words. Thank you for the good work you’re doing today, for your powerful writing. Thank you.

Podcast Answers, Day 10 – What’s giving you hope?

Back in November, I committed to posting longer, more well-thought-out answers to the questions that Britt Bravo posed to me during our Arts and Healing Network podcast conversation. Here’s my answer for day 10!

10. What gives you hope right now?

A kuffiya 'ribbon' in solidarity with Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon; image from http://www.reziststicker.com/stickers.htm This has been a hard question for me to answer. I’ve been slipping between feeling very hopeful and deeply hopeless and heartsick – there are beautiful moments and possibilities and still horrors inflicted in every moment and how can we talk about hope except that without even the mention, the word, I think we lose everything.

Every week, the sort of writing *and* the sort of communal engagement and solidarity manifested at the writing workshops gives me hope that we can create the space we need for deep change and amazingly honest openness in our worlds/lives —

And then there are other places of hope for me:
1. Resistance to empire and other hierarchies of power.
2. Lemon squeezed into water.
3. Hot coffee in the morning.
4. The way some folks are willing to make eye contact with strangers while walking through downtown San Francisco on a weekday morning.
5. The cracking open and brilliance of emotion and voice that happens in the writing workshops; the deep open-hearted kindness of folks’ responses to one another; the joy we receive in recognizing the artists in each other, and having recognized the artists in ourselves.
6. (The very possibility of) Laughing with my lover after some difficult weeks.
7. My sister. just her.
8. The way friends can reach out across years and miles and difference and still create a net for me to fall into, even when I think I don’t deserve it.
9. The fact that our local farmer’s markets are still going strong.
10. All the folks who are writing and reading. Everyone telling their stories everywhere. I mean it.

There’s more, and less, but this is my count for now.

What’s giving you hope right now? I mean, in this minute?

Podcast with Arts and Healing Network is up!

The podcast that Britt Bravo and I recorded back in Nov is up on the Arts and Healing Network! Just before I got on the road to head down to LA for Thanksgiving, Britt and I talked transformative writing, writing as a healing practice, expressive arts, erotic writing for survivors of sexual trauma, Pat Schneider‘s Amherst Writers and Artists workshop method, and more!

Of course, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and reactions? What did I leave out? What’s true for you about these topics?

Jen Cross of Writing Ourselves Whole on the Arts and Healing Podcast http://artheals.libsyn.com/

Direct download: Jen_Cross__Writing_Ourselves_Whole.mp3

Podcast with Arts and Healing Network!

So, last Wednesday, bright and early before Fresh! & I headed down to LA for the Thanksgivingness, I had the pleasure of meeting Britt Bravo to record a podcast for the Arts and Healing Network‘s bimonthly podcast. How exciting! It was my first podcast, and only the second or third time I’ve talked to the “press” (-ish!) about what it is that Writing Ourselves Whole is all about. Great practice and a fantastic opportunity!

Britt had a list of questions that she thought we might get to, which were really useful for me! I want to get more comfortable talking (more succinctly!) about the workshops, about transformative writing, about Pat Schneider’s AWA method — so that I can help to spread the word not just about my workshops but about the uses of writing period!

The podcast comes out next month, and I’ll be sure to post a link/update here. In the meantime, though, I’d like to go about answering Britt’s questions in more detail here. Beginning Wednesday, I’ll be posting an answer to each of the following questions, two per week, for the next six weeks:

1. What are the Writing Ourselves Whole workshops?

2. On your site, you describe them as “transformative writing” workshops. How are they transformative?

3. Do you believe art can heal? Why?

4. Has it been healing for you personally? If so, how?

5. What inspired the workshops?

6. What has been the impact of the workshops for survivors of sexual abuse?

7. How has teaching the workshops changed your own writing?

8. What advice do you have for a writer who wants to use writing for their own healing, or to facilitate healing in others?

9. What inspires you the most about your workshops?

10. What gives you hope right now?

11. What are you working on right now with your own writing, or writing workshops?

12. Is there anything else you didn’t get to talk about that you would like to share with listeners?

I’m looking forward to getting to provide some more detail to the answers I gave Britt. And, as always, I’d love to hear your thoughts and feedback!