the strange glitter of celebration

young girl's face wearing sunglasses

Good morning! It’s wet and chilly here — what about where you are? I’m learning about space heaters in houses with very little insulation, but more I’m learning about how grateful I am just for space heaters, and a house.

Yesterday was the last Write Whole workshop for 2010 — we had a gorgeous potluck (a plenitude of chocolate offerings!) and powerful writing. (Thank you!) This morning I was up at 5 without the alarm, and went ahead and let myself get up, out of bed, make tea and head out to the small space that I’m reallocating for creativity. I put my candle on and wrote my morning pages in dark and quiet and hope. A lot of my writing these days is about being in my body — what if I let myself be in my body? What if I got help as I re-find myself here? How do people do that? I have a project in mind — I want to tell you about it, but I think I better do it first, get it started, and show you along the way.

It’s important to me to have places in my home that are devoted to creative energy, to my own dreaming. Yes, I make altar space around my desk, which means i put up images and words that help me dream and remind me of what’s important to me (nature, healing, radical queer feminism, poetry, my sister, etc) and, too, there’s something to dedicating spaces to creative impulse, to creative engagement. Something about a corner or a room that begins to accrue creative energy and expectation — so that when I go to that corner or that room, over and over, in the early morning (which is my favorite creative time), I know & my creative self knows that this is a good and safe space for emergence and play. In the space that I’m settling into, I’ve covered the walls with images and phrases, color and faces and windows. I’ve put up the hangings that so often can’t find a place elsewhere in my home — suddenly, the space feels like a container.

(Once again the power goes out because we have on heaters in both the office & bedroom. and why not? why should two people be warm at once? So now I need to finish this quickly and get into the shower so I can get warm.)

So, a prompt for today, and a write.

Last night, for our second write, I offered the word ‘Thanks’ as the prompt. Just that.

(Of course, we are always welcome and invited to alter the prompts in any ways interesting to us, which sometimes includes adding a “no” or negating the prompt — so another option was to write to ‘No thanks.’)

Here’s my response to that prompt:

I want to find thanks for the ways that the workshops make it ok to hear, teach me not just to listen but to be witness, be solidarity, be not a fly on the wall but a body in the room with open eyes and breath, aching and accepting into horror and loss and also the strange glitter of celebration when a wrong thing has had words found for it.

Yesterday I did an exercise with some folks at a leadership retreat that I was only part of by marriage and in one of the exercises we were paired up and one of us was supposed to be in a strong visible emotion and the other was supposed to meet that emotion exactly and just walk with the first person in that emotion — so I paired with someone called Joe and he played the one with the strong emotion and scrunched up his face and squinted his eyes and balled his fists and he’s slender and scrub haired and goateed and muscly and he started rarr-ing and growling, so I fell into step with him and scrunched my forehead and growled and argh-ed and we paced shoulder to shoulder and then started laughing and he said, It gets so much lighter when you take half of it

and isn’t that true even so much fucking later, when suddenly there’s someone else, there’s a roomful of grace-laden warrior artists, in the room with me and her or him just bearing witness to atrocity, who can see the shape of the couch under him, the one who’s over me, those artists who can hear the tv blaring, hear my mother’s key not unlocking the door — time is unlaced this way, the pages open up around us, I am each of those girls at every age and I am here now, too, and there with the circle of fierce writers who are watching and listening and taking notes and wheat-pasting those notes to the concrete sides of buildings, who are not alone, who were never alone, or were and are and still shimmer around the edges with lacing like light through the tellings that were never meant to escape our throats

I say thanks for this sacred thing, placing word upon word after word in your presence and reclaiming a home and a hand for that young woman that girl there on that couch way back then.

Thanks to you, always.

One response to “the strange glitter of celebration

  1. How Beautiful. I sit with the words and my tears and my feeling of “yes. it’s just like that ” and then I want to give your own powerful, gorgeous words back to you- all of them.

    and I read this again…

    “time is unlaced this way, the pages open up around us, I am each of those girls at every age and I am here now, too, and there with the circle of fierce writers who are watching and listening and taking notes and wheat-pasting those notes to the concrete sides of buildings, who are not alone, who were never alone, or were and are and still shimmer around the edges with lacing like light through the tellings that were never meant to escape our throats”

    And that. Knocks me right down.
    Thank you Jen.
    For each of those words and for making these fierce and sacred spaces that have helped me to still be here, still be standing.

    I am so grateful for you today.