Good morning. It’s a Tuesday out there. Are you ready?
I have been reading books about writers recently, having found Writers [on Writing] (a collection of essays about writing from the New York Times) and the Glimmer Train Guide to Writing Fiction, Vol. 2: Inspiration and Discipline on my sweetheart’s bookshelf. I am looking, over and over, for one thing: I want them to tell me how they do it. How do they get up and get themselves to the desk? How do they make the writing happen? How how how. I don’t want the theory — I want the practical: I get this much sleep, I get up at 6, I sit at the typewriter/keyboard/notebook and do not stop for two hours or six or forty-five minutes. Then I get up and I do something completely different. If I write a page, that’s great. If I get two new sentences, I feel successful. Eventually it all coagulates into a book.
Later, I’ll want the next part — how to get an agent, how to get it published, how to get it edited enough that someone besides my best friends will willingly read it. For now I’m still at the beginning and this is what I’m looking for: how to incorporate writer into a real life that also includes job and family and friends. Tell me how to we take care of our bodies while we do that, how to get a book finished when we have too many jobs and everyone’s telling us it’s impossible, how to write a book when we’re depressed and disappointed, how to do it anyway. Continue reading
These days hurt. These days it takes me hours to get out of bed, months to stretch enough to risk putting my right leg on the floor, years to walk the dog half a block and back home again. During our walk, I stop repeatedly to bend over double, easing the pain in my leg. I stand up again, I take deep breaths, I keep moving. I know it’s necessary for me to take this walk if I want the rest of the day to get better.
After that first walk, though, time changes, de-elasticizes, returns to something that feels more like normal. After that first walk, something shifts and opens. I have to show my body (yes, my own body; this pain body that is mine) that I’m willing to walk in on with the fire. After that first walk, I lie face-down on my bed again and let the muscles and nerves relax (such as they do). Sometimes I take the bedspread into my teeth and chew. Sometimes I cry. Sometimes I just breathe and scratch the puppy’s neck — she comes in to check on me, to be where I am. She is patient, no longer tries to wake me at 6 or 6:30 — we have a new normal now.
I don’t want this to be my normal. I’ve lost my morning writing time because it takes so long to get out of bed and get to a comfortable enough state to be able to sit at the computer or sit with the notebook. I am watching too much silly tv these days — I have (re)discovered what tv is good for: occupying the mind. When I am pushed into the bright colors and constant stream of someone else’s story, I do not feel as much pain. TV as pain medication; sometimes it’s necessary.
good morning good morning– it’s early, the tea is cooling, the sun is pearling the morning clouds, the candles flicker over everything.
How does your morning lift you so far?
I’m in the quiet writing room where I can’t see out any windows, where I don’t look out into the quiet uncommutered street, where I am only focused on the screen, on the notebook, on the words.
Above me, on the built in shelves, are the sticky notes I brought back with me from Hedgebrook (such as this one from Christian McEwen’s World Enough and Time: “Fall if you must fall / The one you will become will catch you”), a short string of Tibetan prayer flags (which can’t strictly pray, since there’s no breeze in this room — maybe sharp exhalations of frustration, though, would flutter them, would offer movement enough), the poems (Wild Geese, yes, of course, and Roberta Werdinger’s fabulous “Poem,” which opens Give me your blood your bone / your sockets your breath and closes with the lines Open my body leave in a mark / Open me river me do what you will.), and image of Artemis the moon dancer that I received from a friend many years ago back when I lived in Maine.
good morning good morning from the chilliness. I was not up nearly as early this morning as I was yesterday, and that’s all right. I did wake up with a bit more motivation and energy than I’ve had in a few days, and that feels good. I have come to trust and lean-into the sinking-down that happens for me in December; I get quiet, move more slowly, read a lot more.
A year ago, today, I wrote here in this blog:
I didn’t let you help, not then, and I’m sorry. I’m still trying to figure out how to do that, these 15 and 20 years later: how to lean, how to say, Yes, I’m not ok. Yes, I need you. Please, I need help.
Good morning. It’s light already by the time I’ve gotten myself situated at the computer and by the time my poor old pc gets all booted up and warm and ready. I’m tired this morning. The alarm goes off at 4.30 and I don’t even pretend to get up, just reach over, turn it off, and snuggle back down under the covers.
Last night’s Write Whole workshop was fantastic: strong, deep and engaged writing. It’s been a couple weeks of hard processing around my head and heart, lots of excavating writing, all that damn self care and the energies that it stirs up and the way I need to slow down, take some time to process it all without writing, away from the notebook.
I figured that this morning I’d just get up and do a quick blog in response to the nablopomo prompts — last week those were pretty light-hearted, writing-focused prompts, so, no problem.
Happy Sunday evening to you — it’s late-night blog time (at least for me). No prompts today, just the need to blog every day, as a part of my commitment to nablopomo, so I’m going to return to some plain old free-association for tonight.
I want to write about quite a lot tonight, about community and spirit, about radical honesty, about sorrow, about connection and form and hope. But I’m giving myself 20 minutes to pour this stream of consciousness out onto the page (which is the screen before me), so I’m not going to get into any of those. Instead I’m going to write about the pain of attending to one’s desire.
I went to google images to find the image for today’s post, like I always do; using the advanced search, I looked for “graffiti Sunday” in images that labeled for reuse, and the image above is one of the few results returned. It feels like exactly what I hope for in much of my writing, in particular, the writing I do around desire: capturing that moment of profound transgression, when we cross a deep line inside ourselves or within our community, in order to reach for what we need. The bobbies up there aren’t just violating the still-extant taboo about men desiring, embracing and kissing other men, they’re also violating the taboo around those in power showing vulnerability, softness, public displays of affection. Affection, I mean — not laciviousness — certainly, we have plenty of examples of those in positions of power taking what they desire by force and hostility. These two at the top of this post, they are melting into each other, so longing for lips against lips that they don’t care about any of the other rules and regulations. We see how even they, ultimately, are not bound by the stringent rules we place around sexuality and desire, rules they so often are supposed to enforce.
Good morning! It’s the day after Oakland’s general strike — do you feel the transformation in the air? The people are singing. That, yesterday, was real change. Real hope. Real democracy.
We were there for part of the march/action at the ports — I’m so deeply grateful to have been able to participate, to put my body in the place of the work.
It’s National Blog Posting Month over at BlogHer — since I’m already in the middle of a novel and don’t want to start another one right now, I’m going to take on this daily challenge instead. The folks at BlogHer are suggesting topics for each day’s blog, so I’m going to start out with those.
(I love how November has become the month for writing your heart out: Besides NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, there’s WNFIN and I know a few folks who are taking on 30-poems-in-30-days challenges this month as well. How are you marking this month of writing like mad?)
Edit: Dorothy commented to let me know that it’s also National Playwriting Month. Thanks, Dorothy, for passing the word!
Today I head out to the Tomales Bay Writing Workshops, head out for a five-day writing workshop with Dorothy Allison and deep writing community in a place that I love, and it’s thanks, completely, to you.
A few months ago, I applied for a fellowship to this workshop, and then didn’t receive it. I had told myself, initially, well, if I don’t get the fellowship, then fine, I just won’t go. But I got the letter informing me that I’d been placed in Dorothy Allison’s workshop and they hoped I could join them just the same, even though they had given the fellowships to other folks. Something in me said, the writer part said, we have to go anyway. I couldn’t afford it, not without help. We had sudden bills that were coming due, family business that needed dealing with, low enrollment in workshops — still: we have to go anyway, the part in me said. Just ask for help.
I wake up from layered and complicated dreams. There are things I want to tell you about, but it’s not time for them yet. The alarm goes off at 4, and I think, I could just snooze for a little bit, and then I forget to press snooze, and now it’s after 5.
~~ ~~ ~~ ~~ ~~
The Fall writing workshop series begins next week — Write Whole: Survivors Write starts on Monday, and we do still have a couple of spaces left! Friday is the last day to register — if you have been thinking about joining us and giving yourself and your stories a regular, weekly writing time, please do contact me.