Tag Archives: write anyway

December writing retreat! Join us for a day of writing in the East Bay hills…

photo of narrow wooden deck, looking out over trees and mt tamalpais

The view from our writing room!

Meridian Writers
 an all-day writing retreat!
Saturday, December 1, 10:30am-5:30pm.
(Light breakfast from 9:45-10:30am)
Lunch provided.

Open to all writers, regardless of writing experience or previous participation in Meridian Writers.

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What I did this summer…

a line drawing of a long-haired woman with one eye closed holding closed fists in front of her face - words on her fists read "'cause if it wasn't for all of your torture, I wouldn't know how to be this way now and never back down, so I wanna say thank you"

This is a photo I took in Lisbon; part of the #shitgirlsdo project

… or “Yes, we live in patriarchy, and women have been telling you forever that they’re being assaulted by men from infancy through childhood, into adolescence, all through their working and mothering years and all the way up until they die, thanks for finally listening I suppose now you want us to give you a medal”

(This is very long. All summer I’ve been repeating to myself that I can’t write, I’m blocked, I sit down and nothing comes — but the truth is, I have been writing, getting words on paper, struggling through depression and with a feeling of complete helplessness in the face of this current cultural conversation that has been so innocuously labelled #metoo. So this morning, after waking at 12:30am, once again unable to sleep, I decided to combine the morning writes I’d already typed up, and realized they served as a kind of back-to-school essay: “What I did this summer.”)

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I can’t even — ok, well maybe I can

Picture of little white girl sitting crosslegged, looking at a bluebird, beneath the words, "If you get tired learn to rest, not to quit! -Banksy"Good morning, good morning.

Deep breath. Ready? Ok.

One more time. I’m going to try one more time to write this post. Hang on — this is a long one.

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we show up for our creative beauty

graffiti painted on a wall that of a village at night,stars and moon overhead, trees in the foreground

Homage to a Starry Night, Santa Monica (flickr)

Good morning, good morning. What’s the day opening up like where you are? Here there’s a chill in the air after a too-hot yesterday, and the birds are still recuperating, I think — I haven’t heard a single one wake up yet. Wait, there they are…

It’s been hard to write recently. I sit down at the desk in the morning and all the words evaporate from my head. I try to sneak up on them, the way you might with a skittish cat or a butterfly or a hummingbird resting at the tip of a bottlebrush tree branch, but they slip away from me as soon as I get close enough to see what they might look like. The writing just isn’t coming.

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the next phase of write it anyway




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come back

Angel breaking through the wallGood morning. The music is going, the coffee is percolating, and the rose blooms wide open, like my body. I am surrounded by the books that I love and the home I have made for myself.

I want to tell you that I never believed I could get here, to this place, of possibility and celebration. I reach back into the years of despair, if only to remember again what it felt like to wake up hopeless, if only to remember what it felt like to not ache, not believe. I hoped and longed for and wanted but did not believe I deserved. I did not ever see myself getting here, to the place I wanted: a body that was certain of and curious about itself, hands filled with words and joy, a little apartment in the city that was a haven for language and resilience. But that is what I have.

Today’s post is brought to you by this quote from a poem by Kallie Falandays:
“I want to give you your history back.
Your fingers back. I want to tell you yes.”

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what your book might do

Good morning, writers — how’s today’s creative possibility holding you? Have you already put pen to the page, fingers to keyboard? Have you released the words that built up in you in the night?
~~ ~~ ~~

Today’s post comes out a write from a recent Dive Deep meeting; the prompt was an excerpt from this post on the Ploughshares blog: “Write As If…”

Here’s what I wrote:

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letting life in around the words

~Bishal Karna
About life

I started writing a book.

Writing the book

Became my life.
About writing a book
I started writing a book.
Writing about writing the book
Became my life.
The mango plants in my garden
Bear delicious fruits.

~~ ~~ ~~

This poem fits today: I’ve spent so many years tangling with how to write the story of my life that I can get pulled right out of actually living it. This morning I spent a little time in my garden, after four or five days being away from it. I was frustrated with myself because I hadn’t gotten out of bed early to do my morning pages.

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begin again (again)

This is where we begin: at the open notebook, at the blank page. It’s morning again, and we are starting over, again. Even if we are in the middle of a longer work, even if we have characters who whisper to us in our dreams, still: every morning is a beginning again. Every morning we are afraid we might not be able to do it, or we are afraid that nothing will come. Every time we are confronted with that space of blankness that opens out behind our fingers, behind our eyes, behind the parts of our physical selves that do the writing, the places from which the writing emerges into and through us. I have written about this before, and I suspect I will return to it again, too.

This is where we begin: at the self that’s still healing, at the self that still aches for acceptance, at the parts of our own story still being written. What am I trying to say? I sit down at the notebook and want to make sense of a story that is still finding its way into words. This is a morning write. Deliver the words into the air of the page, deliver the words into the fear and the sadness anyway. Watch the sky shift from its nighttime blackness into shallow early morning shadow, and follow those shadows into the words you need to write.

This is where we begin: at the mourning places, with the voices in us that are still keening, with the small death songs that our hands have never been able to sing. We write them down. We write down what we could not mourn when we were younger: lost friendships, stolen dogs, missteps, old wantings, family that could have been but was not allowed to be.

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languaging the hopelessness

This is not a hopeful post today. Skip this one if you need to be lifted up, ok? Today I am unreasonably irritated with every noise outside. Who decides to use a gas-powered blower at 6:30 in the morning? Why do people seem to have no regard for one another?

I need help to keep from slipping into the abyss of despair and apathy, to keep from slipping into the awareness, behind the lens, that there is no changing human nature — men will always point guns into closed doors and just start firing at whatever happens to be behind the wood and metal, killing children, killing mothers and fathers, killing other men; men will continue to wield their machines on an earth that will bend to their efforts; men will continue to sever the legs and eyes of animals. This is a despairing morning. The dog is ready to go outside and the music is louder than I’d like it to be so that I can drown out the noise of a machine that is blowing leaves around so that the driveway of a fancy apartment building can look neat for the tenants as they exit the double glass doors on their way to work. It used to be that the people waited until 9 o’clock for that sort of noise — they understood that tenants, and the people who live in surrounding buildings, were still sleeping. They understood that the noise would interfere with the work of the morning: the slow wake, the tending to family, the quiet that we need in order to find ourselves again after succumbing to dreams. Who cares now about the noise we make or the way we impinge upon others? The news helicopters fly low over a downtown community, hoping to get a good shot for their 6pm broadcast — meanwhile, our teeth and windows chatter, our neighbors hide under their beds with trauma memory, and we cannot concentrate on the work of our living. The man goes by with the radio that sounds like it was meant to boom into a stadium, not stuffed into the confines of a souped-up lexus.

Can you tell I’m premenstural? And still the irritation isn’t about hormones, but about this particular instantiation of the civilization I am participating in. Every noise clacks and clangs up into my insides. I feel like pulling my ears off. That’s not even a little bit true — at this point in the hormonal surge, what I want is to remove whatever parts of your body make it possible for you to fling all your noise at me. Garbage men banging around cans at 5:30 in the morning? Give me your arms. Neighbors who need to exercise over the squeakiest part of your apartment floor right in the middle of my writing group? Let me have your legs please. I would like the lips of the smoker who lives up the hall; the voice boxes of all the barking dogs, the car engines, the helicopter blades, the rapists’ penises and hands and tongues — please hand all of it over to me right now. It would seem that you don’t know how to handle it. You can have it back when you can play nice with it.

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