This is from the Art for Recovery/Healing through Writing workshop last Thursday — the prompt was a poem from Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way, (“Words For It”), and then we started with the phrases, “I wish I could take language and…” or “This is what I want my stories to do…”
This is what I want my stories to do: I want the stories to do the work for me, I want them to go back in time and change what happened, I want us to be able to breathe again.
What I want is for my stories to open me to you — I want you to see what I hide. I want you to look under the metaphors and sentences for the scraps and facts of me. I want you to see what’s left of my childhood behind that poem. I want you to welcome my badness with open arms, the way you welcome the sing-song of my lines.
I want my stories to explain things you didn’t understand about me, to straighten out your confusion and misperceptions, to unlock the doors I hide behind, keeping myself from you. The stories are a false front and yet they are everything — I’m nothing that’s not exposed there, all my facts are there, my neuroses and nurseries. I want you to quit examining me and look in my writing instead for answers, for clarification.
I’m clouded today, and drifting; as much as I want to write for other people, deep and true who I write for is me. That one audience, to explain self to self. How blissful when someone else looks in to this locked cage and seeks out a separate score of answers. We can’t find any history here, no index to this body of words, and I know I’m more than the printing on the page but this scout of expression is all I truly have time for these days.
(This isn’t making sense — I’m just trusting the process, scooping up and laying out what words my consciousness offers me, always and especially when they don’t make sense. Too much attention paid to sense-making, not enough settling the score with nonsense.)
What you don’t want to hear is how I’m not ok, how I want someone else to write this me-story, even though I know it’s only in the process of doing it that I can ever hope to discover who I actually was, and am. “I wish I could take language and” have it do its job, just one time clean and honest, convey to you what I’m really thinking. But we have to keep dancing, you and me, words and Jen. It’s all I’ll ever do.