Good morning, good morning. It’s chilly here this morning, and I’m in my little
writing room with the candles lit the music very low, the dog curled up in her chair in a tight, small ball. We go walking a little in the yard under the misty moon. March is still winter in New England, but I have been finding some impossible signs of spring.
I had a very surprising experience yesterday – I felt wild joy. On Wednesday, after going for the first non-cone walk on the beach with Sophie after an operation to remove a little bit of her jaw (to remove a cancerous growth), I looked in the dry leaves and brown grass, made visible after all the snow melted over the weekend, and there, peeking up between branches and hay, were the tiny green shoots of crocus leaves. It seems altogether too early for this.
Gratitude is a funny, complicated, and sometimes difficult thing.
Thanksgiving can be a challenge for many reasons (not least of which the fact that the story many of us are told about the holiday — that it’s to honor the native peoples of the Americas, who kept the pilgrims/first colonizers from starving to death after settling here — wildly sanitizes and white-washes the true history of European peoples on this continent).
We are told this is a day to be with family– the message is everywhere around us, on television, on social media. But what happens when time with family is toxic for us, or harmful, or just leaves us feeling depressed and sad?
(Poetry is an extreme sport – Miss Tic)
Good morning, good morning.
Outside, it’s traffic and crickets. I’m waiting to hear whether the owl will be back this morning – she was here on Friday, and instead of writing a post I got distracted by her.
The birds are already awake this morning before I get to the keyboard. I had a whole plan for last night — celebration at the final meeting of this fall’s Fearless Words group, hustle home, and head out to Brothers & Sisters to dance hard enough to find my gratitude, to sweat out the toxins, to touch and grab hold of my joy. But when I made it home I was just too tired to go back out into the world; several nights of not enough sleep finally caught up with me. And how could I drive through or around the protests in downtown Oakland in order to go dancing of all things. It felt like crossing a picket line. So instead I obsessively updated my twitter feed, trying to follow what was happening, and ended up crashing on the couch. Not exactly the celebratory evening I’d had in mind, but this 42 year old body doesn’t rally the way it did when I was 22, even though I don’t like dancing any less now — it’s still one of the very small handful of healing practices that have kept me going.
Today I am thinking about the complexity of gratitude. All over America, we’re supposed to be grateful today — we have a national holiday set aside to be thankful for all that we have. It’s meant to be a time for gathering with family, connecting with our beloveds — no one is supposed to be alone on family (even if they’d prefer to be). Meanwhile, we are surrounded by advertisements for so-called Black Friday sales, enticing us into believing that we do not have enough, that we need to buy more, proving the lie of this day of gratitude practice, at least culturally. On this day when we’re supposed to be jubilantly grateful for home and hearth, kith and kin, we have a nation rising up in grief and rage. Many, many people will not be safe today with the people who are supposed to be their safest havens — many of us will grieve the families we ought to have had, the safe hands and hearts we ought to have been surrounded by. This is the beginning of the most complicated time of the year for so many of us.
There’s a poem I like to hand out every November — if you’re in a workshop with me, you’ve probably seen it. It’s W.S. Merwin’s “Thanks,” written in 1927, and it goes like this: Continue reading
Good morning, good morning. The winds have picked up everything and hidden it around the lawn — the planting containers, the seed packets, the gardening gloves, the puppy’s ball. These hot winds always confuse me — I’m still getting accustomed to the Santa Anas.
We are having a sick day today here at Writing Ourselves Whole, but before I tuck myself back onto the couch with a cup of tea, I wanted to offer you a poem:
– Diana García
Today’s post got eaten up by a need to be intensely, gloriously domestic today (drive a boy to school for the first time, take a sweetheart to the doctor, run errands, get some plants in the garden, and more) — so, in light of this rain day we’re having in Oakland, I offer you this instead. May it inspire your own soaked and lovely words this weekend…
– Kazim Ali
With thick strokes of ink the sky fills with rain.
Pretending to run for cover but secretly praying for more rain.
My hands are covered with dirt, and my laptop is dusted with flour. These are good signs, I think.
A poem I love for this second Friday of WriOursWhoMo. Consider using that last line as a prompt…
Another poem today, in honor of National Poetry Month — what do you (or your characters) know about survivor’s guilt? How do you respond to the final line of the piece? Consider using this as a prompt — take twenty minutes, and follow the words wherever they seem to want you to go.
How I’ve changed may not be apparent.
(all of the intersections in and around Boston are dangerous!)
Good morning, writers! Outside my window right now, construction workers are jackhammering pavement. The birds have all gone silent, with or some other, more difficult emotion, maybe. The city is all city sounds right now.
How is WriOursWhoMo treating you so far? How are you honoring the intersections within you: the intersections of trauma and song, the intersections of longing and loss, the intersections of aftermath and resilience?
Good morning, good morning, writers.
Today I am hectic and rushing around. I want to give you something thoughtful and deep, but the puppy is calling for my attention, and the more I try to type, the more she bumps my elbow trying to get me to get up and take her out into the rain and play ball. So what I have for this second day of WriOursWhoMo is a poem and a prompt: