Good morning, good morning. It’s dark and warm outside my Oakland city window this morning. We’re having a heat wave in the middle of winter, which is all fine and good until the reservoirs run out of water. My candle is lit and the coffee (decaf, but still) is brewing. This morning I woke steady and restless, ready to write and also wanting to burrow down under the covers for another several hours’ sleep. Do you get like that when there’s too much to do and you want to do all of it at one time?
I want to apologize for being absent here. These days I am doing a lot of other writing, mostly (as you may have noticed!) away from the blog. I spend my morning-pages in the notebook, and then open one of several book projects and get to work at editing. Last year I generated hundreds of pages of material for these different projects; I’m now wading through those words, reading to see what I’ve got, how much of it makes sense, and what more needs to be added.
This poem is my mantra these days. I’m working mostly offline on writing tasks that need more than a single sitting to generate, shifting myself away from the fragmented immediacy of social media, including the blog. I have created a writing schedule, and am allowing myself to focus in and deep — because, well, let me tell you a secret:
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Hello, you brilliance you. How is this still-early day of the year finding you? How is your writing today? How is your heart? What do you want to hear about? What are you afraid of or curious about or reaching for this year? What creative or healing intentions have you set for 2014?
At the first Dive Deep meeting on Sunday, we laid out our intentions for our six months’ work together — folks are wanting to complete first or final drafts, generate new stories, prepare manuscripts for submission, reengage in daily writing practices. I found it difficult to choose one project to focus on — I’ve got several asking for my attention at the moment — but decided to make my novel the project I’d bring to Dive Deep for accountability and how do I even say this? My struggle around the novel is that it’s fiction, it’s a very long work, and for me to really be in it means stepping fully outside of my other work for a couple of hours at a time at least. The prompt I brought for us to write to at the beginning of the meeting was, “Why this project, why now?” Why do you need this book or story or practice? Why are you the one to write it? Why should it happen now?
I can answer those questions easily for all of my other projects — they’re related to Writing Ourselves Whole, they’re nonficiton projects, they are aimed specifically at helping others in their own creative practices: I can justify my time on them. It’s not frivolous for me to work on the nonficiton book about writing practice as transformation for survivors of trauma, or the collection of stories from the erotic reading circle (that is so very very overdue). But working on fiction? How is that helping the revolution? And (more immediately), how is that helping to pay the rent? How is that getting food on the table?
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