we know what in us needs to burn

drawing of a wheat stalk and a rose wrapped up in a newspaper

(click on the image to visit the NYTimes' review of a book about the Bread and Roses Strike)

So hard to get up and get going when it’s dark outside at 7am! This one needs to be quick — I’ve got to get in the shower and head to the day job.


This month’s Writing the Flood is coming up this Saturday, 12/18, 1-4:30pm! There will be baked goods for sure, interesting exercises, and great folks gathered — some spaces are still open! Let me know if you’d like to join us!


Yesterday I went for a bit to the KPFA Crafts Fair, intending to be inspired — and found myself on fire as I walked through the huge Concourse space at 8th and Brannan, past bookmakers and woodcutters and glass makers and weavers, potters, metalworkers, fabric arts workers, photographers, painters, etchers, printmakers, chocolatiers, tea sellers — past art created from reclaimed clothing, reclaimed silverware, reclaimed trash. There was artwork I never could have imagined that sent me spinning with joy, and I left, a couple hours later, further inspired to attend to my own artistic vision — why not? Why not, when so many around me, so many in the world, are making a life of artistic expression and pursuit — of both beauty and healing. We need both, don’t we? The marchers said, “We want bread and roses, too.”

We need roses, too.


A prompt for a Monday: Create a list of 6-8 words, all of which start with the same prefix (like Predict, Premature, Precipitation — or, Rehearse, Release, Rehash). Then take a piece of paper, tear it in 6-8 pieces, and write a word on each piece. (This part just lets you bring some randomness or surprise into the mix!) Turn over the pieces of paper and mix them up, then choose one and write about anything that you associate with that word. (As always, follow your writing wherever it seems to want you to go!)

When we did a prompt like this in the Write Whole workshop, this was what I wrote:

Resplendent: For me, the word holds a glowing, something precious that silvers and warms the cheeks, something observable, steady, more than beautiful: healthy, joyous, splendid. Energetically adorned.

How good it is for our words to gather, how we are resplendent in our consonants and vowels, in the glow that stumbles and flickers and throbs inside those words, the fire that steadies and burns still when we set ourselves quiet and keep the pen, the fingers, moving — stories emerge that we never intended, words catch fire to words, one thought leaps the creekbed to the next and suddenly we are raging and alight and alive. No one clears a space for this creative energizing except for we ourselves: we know what in us needs to burn.

Resplendent with words, I mean draped and cloaked and revealed, I mean how we are alight, each creative energy tips into color as when a candle flame pools bright into a single yellowed sphere in a cool darkened room, I’m saying we take that ball of warmth in our hands and swallow it every time we are making, however we make best, with paint or words or crayons or clay, we turn the light out of us as we inhale it, we burn the world brighter, this world needs this art, your creation, these words. Whether they ever emerge from notebooks or computer screens, these words have already worked wonders, these words have already loosened stone walls, shined light into gloriously cobwebbed corners, set salve to old woundings, drenched what was crusty and dry.

We dip our fingers in the the crystalline electricity in our minds and our hands come out racing — when we set them free, we chase after, rush to catch up: our resilient creative selves are lit and dancing, needing no one’s permission, our hearts pound with perfect rhythm, we weep and let our water join the pools, the streams, the rivers — what I mean is we are always already resplendent, peeled awake with our namings, making true the world’s languages every time we reach.

Thank you for your beauty, for the ways you allow beauty to emerge into the world — and for your exquisite words.

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