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.
What do I want to say about this? The erotic can break us open in this way, tear us out of the constraints of conformity that we accept for ourselves. The writing feels distant, not nearly close enough, I’m not all the way in it. I want to tell you about naming what we need, how even just the articulation of desire — whether sexual desire or in any other aspect of our lives — can leave us feeling like everything is breaking — because, maybe, everything is. In allowing our longing to come to voice, we are breaking; breaking open, breaking down, breaking through. The closed and clotted places in us begin to shift and tear, begin to release what they were holding back, we feel messy, exposed, raw: because we are these things.
What I experienced, and wrote about, after my first erotic writing workshop here in San Francisco in 2002, was that experience of breaking open and subsequent transformation. Because I allowed myself to write desire, and then speak it out loud (through the process of reading aloud what I’d just written, with no expectation of follow through or action in that moment of sharing), I had the experience of embodying that desire. Does this make sense? Writing is a bodily experience. Speech is a bodily experience. Whether I was writing my own desire or a fantasy character’s longing, every week I stepped into a place of deep honesty and truth-telling — and that changed me, charged me. I found myself writing, journaling, outside of the workshop, about other desires, the ways I wanted and needed to be in my life, from work and love and home, ways I needed my relationship to open and change, what I could allow myself, finally, to want from (yes) this “one wild and precious life.” I got to embody those desires, first through the writing, and then, often, through the living. I began to ask more from my life, because my writing had asked more.
I don’t have anecdotes right now. What I have is a need to begin to ask more, again. Several months ago, back when I started blogging in earnest daily, or close to daily, I stopped writing with regularity in my journal. This is a loss, I’m finding. Handwriting in my journal is an integral part of an erotic (and by this, here, I mean embodied) writing practice for me. So I need to keep finding time for regular notebook writes — maybe I can start getting up at 3am. (just kidding.)
I start with these phrases: What I really wanted to say is… or If I told you what I’m afraid to tell you… I take 15 or 20 minutes and let the words pour out onto the page, pen moving fast and fearless, even if what I’m writing scares me. Especially then. No stopping, no censoring, no blame, shame or guilt. Just write it. Transgress, transgress. Let it come all the way into my body.
Thanks for the ways you let your body into your life, your creative practice, awareness. Thanks for the ways you cross the boundaries that are meant to keep you small and silent and contained. Thanks for you deep and stunning words.