This is another write from our Fearless Words group. For our prompt, we used Pat Schneider’s brief visualization, “In this one you are…” Imagine a photograph, and begin writing by describing the picture, starting with the phrase, “in this one you are…”
We had 8 minutes. This is what I wrote:
In this one you are that wild-haired girl with the square head who drapes herself over a birthday cake, sticking your tongue out, 3 or 4 years old, ready to sink your teeth into your mom’s homemade vanilla frosting and the yellow cake underneath. You were all energy and action and curiosity, such an enormous personality all through your childhood — your father could hardly recognize you when you got back in touch with him at age 21 and called yourself introverted. What? He said. You? And who knows — maybe no one could go through what you did and not land on the other side needing a lot of time a lone to sort out your own thoughts and feelings.
… well, not sick. Recovering. Mostly. Better, anyway, than I was last week. Still stuffed up, not breathing right, headachy and sore. The ick makes writing challenging — or, more accurately, makes writing wholly uninteresting. When the brain can’t get enough oxygen, I find it’s difficult to form coherent sentences while speaking, not to mention finding the right words when writing. So, yesterday I conserved my energy for November’s first Dive Deep meeting — the rest of the day I rested.
Just now, I’m listening to a sixth-grade boy talk with his tutor about subjects and predicates, adjectives and prepositions — discovering the parts of the sentences. Do you remember diagramming sentences? It was one of my favorite things. (As I’m writing this, there are different feeling-memories percolating up. I think that’s a lie — I think, actually, that I wasn’t a big fan of diagramming the parts of speech, because I was always so anxious about getting the answer wrong and having my teacher think less of me. Ah, revisionist history; it makes childhood look so rosy.) Still it’s fun to listen to this conversation about what words constitute which parts of speech — I find myself wanting to interject my thoughts about the joys of prepositional phrases, but no one asked for my input on this matter.
Today was a small day, a quiet day, a day with some anxiety and worry in it, a day with some help and new resources, and a day with some sun and some garden. I spent a bit of time moving around the new nasturtium plants that have erupted in the lucky garden out front and in the back yard; I planted some mint, salvia and aeonium from cuttings. Little by little, the garden grows, even in winter. When I was transplanting one of the nasturtium plants, I almost dug up a daffodil bulb, which is already putting out its winter green. California seasons are madness.
Happy November, everyone — 11/1 marks the start of write-your-heart-out month, no matter your genre of choice: National Novel Writing Month (or NaNoWriMo), National Blog Posting Month (aka NaBloPoMo), WNFIN (for non-fiction writers), National Playwriting Month... check out this list of November’s other timed writing challenges, find your best fit, and get going!
As in past years, I’ll be NaBloPoMo-ing from here — getting back into a daily blogging practice with you all!
I’ve been home sick for the better part of the last week, and I spent all day yesterday in bed with cough drops, hot tea, and Paula Gunn Allen’s The Woman Who Owned the Shadows (Aunt Lute Books, 1983). This feels like one of those books I’m going to return to, repeatedly — and it joins my list of books that both describe and enact healing ceremony (the others being Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony and Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters — and I suspect Toni Morrison’s Beloved belongs in this category, too; I’ll have to add that to my list of books to reread so as to try and tease that out).
(There’s some explicit talk of sexual trauma in this morning’s post — just be easy with yourselves as you read, ok? xox, -Jen)
Good morning on this Tuesday– what’s lit for you already at this early hour?
There’s something in my body that’s coming alive, enflamed–I felt like I was glowing as I walked the dark hallway to the kitchen to put the kettle on, like the office was already lit before I put the lighter to the candle.
Nous qui désirons sans faims: we who want without hungers
Good morning good morning — just enough time for a blog freewrite before getting ready for work.
This morning’s nablopomo prompt comes again from Ricki Lake: The Business of Being Born is a passion project that has been fulfilling on many levels. Are you pursuing a passion project?
Good morning good Monday morning. Here, things are just beginning — it feels like they’ve been churning for hours: thin dreams, half-waking, in all the worlds at once.
The nablopomo prompt for today is another from Ricki Lake: I was terrified to go on DWTS, but facing my fear and overcoming it has been an incredible experience. Have you faced fears and overcome them?
There’s another prompt that my friend Ellen offered me recently: What would you write on a piece of paper that you were going to burn immediately after writing?
Good morning, good morning –I’m feeling a little off-kilter this morning, not quite full. Maybe something in me is following the moon.
It’s one of those days when I don’t want to write, when I want to do anything but, when I feel overexposed in and to words, and so I want a break from them.
I’ve been up for a little while, wanted to get my blogging in early. I did a bit of journaling, jotted down a couple of dreams that I could remember, and then got distracted by looking up dog training info online.
Good morning — the puppy just woke up. We’re on a slightly shifted schedule this morning.
Here’s the nablopomo prompt for this morning: It’s 11/11/11. Make three wishes.
I don’t understand the magic around 11/11/11. I mean it’s a fun date, but it seems like there’s more going on for folks. I remember my college roommate, freshman year, lying on her back and waggling her hands and legs at 11:11am one day; she told me it was good luck. I’d never heard of that. The next time I was conscious of 11:11, I followed her lead, and felt ridiculous, but also a little bit hopeful.
Good morning! I’m here again this morning in the chilly dark — it’s time for fuzzy pajama, warm and thick socks, putting the hood up on the hoodie while I’m writing. In the mirror across from me, I look a little like a monk. A sweatshirt-hooded San Francisco monk. There’s a Ganesha batik hanging on the wall just behind me, so in the mirror, there’s Ganesha’s eyes, and then below, there’s my bent head, face lit blue by the computer screen, everything else dark.
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After yesterday’s endless post, I’m going to keep today’s shorter. This morning I finally got back to my novel, put in 1500 words, a good re-entry. It was the first time I’d opened the file since returning from the Tomales Bay workshops. I said I came back charged to do more work with my book, and that’s true — I also came back a bit overwhelmed with how much work/rewriting/going deeper there is ahead of me. It wasn’t a surprise to me, but I got to touch it while I was there, touch the time and effort that was going to be involved in returning to some of the pieces of the novel I’ve already written and opening them up, pushing further in, letting the stories and scenes fall out. The pace, the storytelling: I have to slow it all down. This scares me, too. I like to push it all out, fast, shove the words past you, whether on the page on at the mic, and then maybe you hear one or two things that really stay but there’s not a lot of time for interrogation, for a thorough inspection. What I got at Tomales, what my writing got, was a thorough inspection. These 12 smart, strong women writers told me what I needed to hear: slow down, show us more, let us be in it. (They also said: we care about these characters, we want to read more. That‘s a pretty great thing to hear.) Over the last couple of weeks since getting back, I’ve felt overly confident about my book, and then terrible about it, and I haven’t been able to get back into the story — I’ve been scared.
Good morning good morning. The wall heater has just kicked on, so I can’t hear the owl that I was about to describe to you — s/he’s out in the pine trees, maybe situated near the top, maybe watching the moon, who-who-whoing every now and again, waking up the air around me this morning.
How is it where you are? I ask this every day, and here’s why: 1) I’m curious (and if you wanted to tell me about it in the comments, I’d love it) and 2) I think it matters for our writing, to know how we’re situated, I mean the details of place, what and where we begin from.
(A note about comments: I love them and am so grateful when you write here. I’m not always able to respond right away, but the responses mean so much to me, and I want to offer a public thank you right here.)