Good morning good morning — it’s a tired morning over here. The puppy, who has been sick, is curled up in the middle of three pillows, sighing. I’ve got Edna St. Vincent Millay’s “First Fig” churning and dancing through me this morning: My candle burns at both ends; / It will not last the night; / But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends— / It gives a lovely light. Today I am feeling these lines especially poignantly.
I would like to share with you everything that is happening around these parts, this side of the street, around Jen & writing ourselves whole both, but there aren’t words for all of it. At least not words I’ve found yet. I’m in a place of invention just now, though, so maybe new words can arrive, alliterate and at the ready.
There was something I wanted to tell you this morning, but the red lentil hummus is calling to me, wanting me to make sure it doesn’t burn, and there’s writing to offer feedback to, and a candle flame to watch dancing. In total this week I have four workshops and one performance — plus a day job and a personal life. That’s my burning at both ends. I keep breathing. I hug the puppy, do some situps, some pushups, I listen to what my body wants to eat, and try to feed it that. I can’t always manage to meet the exact craving, but I’m coming closer most days. How about that?
time to jump in!
Happy Friday, all! It’s kind of loud here in San Rafael today, comparatively at least — lots of truck or engine noise since about 5am, but can’t tell what’s going on. Why am I telling you this? I just like to share where I am.
Spent the first part of my writing time doing some journaling in the notebook, which feels good to have time for. I like the more organic, integrating kind of writing that I do in the notebook, with a pen. My horoscopes keep telling me to make time to integrate all that’s been happening (and, being a Pisces, it’s imperative that I pay attention to my horoscopes.)
Developing a voice... (click on the image to see more of Cassidy Curtis's pictures)
Thursday is a VozSutra day, talking about the practice of voice.
This morning I woke up when the alarm went off at 5.24, but then hung around in bed for another half hour, sleeping and wrangling with getting up — thinking of lines of poetry. The only one I can remember now is something about the bright eyes in our vaginas, or the bright vaginas in our eyes. I think it was the latter.
(all the images on the blog are clickable, linked to their source -- this one comes from a graffiti blog based in the UK)
Ok — so I found out yesterday that writing ourselves whole didn’t get a grant from Horizons that we applied for. Today I’m disappointed but not knocked down — could it have something to do with not feeling so isolated, not so alone in the work? I’m grateful, today, for all the folks I get to work with in building writing ourselves whole to something sustainable and stronger.
Here’s exciting news — last night we ate the first of our own tomatoes with our dinner. Deep orange like a peach but with tomato flesh, and still warm from the vine. The first my-home-grown tomato I’ve had since I lived in Maine: I mixed it in with the guacamole, and it was so good.
Good morning! Today is Friday and according to my post schedule-thinking that I did earlier this week, I should/could be talking about writing ourselves whole in general, as a business. WOW-biz or something. It’s going to be a quick post this morning, ’cause I’ve got to get in the shower and get ready for FemmeCon, though, so here’s what I want to say about the business of running a business — I can’t believe that it’s something I’m doing.
For many (many) years, my main work-related goal was to have the easiest possible taxes; my only goal was to be able to file a, what’s that called, an EZ form every April, or to not have to even file the form because I didn’t have anything new or interesting to tell the government about my financial situation. Now I’ve got this thing that I’m doing for love and for part of my livelihood, and I’m working toward having it be all of my livelihood, this writing, workshopping and talking about all of it.
I’ve been in the midst of this organic growing process (or not growing so much, often), and this year I’ve taken a number of major leaps toward having writing ourselves whole be all of what I do with my work life/time: first, applying to Intersection for the Arts’ Incubator project — as a part of the Intersection Incubator, I get to be fiscally sponsored, which means I’m sort of in this excellent inbetween land of nonprofit and not, where I can have access to grants only available to nonprofits and can accept tax-deductible donations, and also continue to do other social entrepreneurial work, grassroots work — that is, not be tied to the nonprofit model. I’m grateful to Intersection for the opportunity to participate in this amazing program, and also to my friend and colleague and role model, Peggy Simmons of Green Windows Writing Groups as well, who investigated and participated in Intersection’s Incubator program first, and shares continually of her wisdom, her learning, her ideas.
Writing Ourselves Whole needs assistants! Are you one of ’em?
Do you love the writing ourselves whole workshops but are unable to afford participating right now? Do you have online-promotions, flyering, and/or office assistant skills? Would you be interested in trading those skills for writing workshop time? If so, please email me and let’s talk!
I’m expanding the number of workshops I’m offering, and find that, finally, yes, I need some help with the admin side of things! You’d be welcome to work with me in the writing ourselves whole office space, if you have a laptop (and can help me figure out how to set up internet access in the space!) — but you’d also be more than welcome to do your work from home.
(check this out -- 'reverse' graffiti!)
5:43am — what would I be writing about this morning if I had the time, if I could be writing about anything I wanted? Last night the bus took an hour and a half to make a 45 minute trip because traffic on Lombard was so heavy — everyone wanted to get across the Golden Gate. I was tired of words and wanted to be home. I nearly fell asleep on the bus, dozed a little, got a sleepy mouth. Sometimes I get tired of words the way I get tired of the smell of my own body, with a kind of sickening overwhelm, because I can’t get away. There’s no break for me from words. Words are my only mechanism, only medium, only practice. They’re my work and my hobby. Last night I came home and drank wine and ate the red beans and rice F! had made, then ate cheese and crackers, then ate ice cream. I watched tv. If I’d turned off the tv, I’d have been left with words. I wanted to breathe without them for a little bit. I wanted to step outside of that structuring of my brain, which I didn’t, not really, but tv drugs you and makes you think you’re free. The clouds outside look like dark smoke in the early sky. The garbage truck looks like hungry.
The Monday night Write Whole workshop is going and gorgeous, even though the registration is quite small. The Tuesday night DOE workshop I’ve had to cancel again because only a few people had any interest, only two indicated they’d register and only one followed through. What happens? I had the idea that many people would want to take an erotic writing workshop, figured that, of course, when I opened the groups up to everyone, folks of all genders, that I might lose some of the women who’d wanted to take the women-only workshop, but I’d get a lot more people who didn’t fit or feel comfortable in those groups: that hasn’t been the case. Maybe it’s because I’m not known, I’m not advertising enough, I don’t have a book or a regular (like, consistent), sexy image: I’m not out there blogging and twittering and facebooking about sex, my own sex and others, I’m not really putting out that this is what I do. And frankly, right now, it isn’t what I do: I haven’t been doing a lit of sex writing, except when I’ve got a workshop on. Otherwise, what do I write about? trauma. flowers. workshops.
This is a write from last night’s workshop — we were responding to one of the following fragments:
– back she went to her own country
– it is the thing you do
– I put my body where my words are (Luisa Valenzuela)
She wants to put her body where her words are, fully into the flavor of sex, stunned with the liquid of meaning and possibility, and the most hostile vulnerability ever. This is the skin I settle into, the girl behind the screen, the safely ensconced in pixels or pencils / and yes, writing is an embodying affair / it sloshes your stones with hopes / it asks your nerves to show up for the aching / but I can forget how to breathe today / and I would almost always rather write than fuck / because behind the skin of my page I can just be that free woman / the one with no safety dug and scabbed beneath her nails / the one whose triggers are taxidermied and mounted on the wall for all to see / to gnash teeth at / to chuckle over / but they are quiet behind glass when she is writing and cannot startle or snare anybody — not there. There, her triggers become works of art, almost admirable / almost
See, that one looks like her sister’s face cluttered over with fallen feathers, the plucked body of a girlchild / and / that one is a diorama of her high school, cardboard cutouts of her graduating class cluttering the forefront, the teenagers’ faces all stained a kind of rakish purple that meant they had eaten the fruit of tomorrow and lived / (Her face is stained only an off-shore eggshell white with what she had to swallow, and there is no tomorrow for her in that picture) / in this one, the boys are all backhanded, they each have a piece of her virginity poking out of their ragged back pockets, though the full flesh of it lives at her house, in her parents’ room / there’s its carapace, over in the far corner / there are diagrams — this one here, and that one — of the ceilings she shut her eyes to, and then studied and tried to find shapes in
All these pieces so containable when she writes, when she writes about sex, she can shut the door to this exhibition / leave it for the curator and night staff to tend to its reedy exhalations and stains of saliva / when she’s writing sex, she doesn’t feel them on her body / she puts words where her / body / ought to be able to be
(one of my writes from last Monday’s workshop: the prompt, as mentioned in the post’s title, was a reading of Minnie Bruce Pratt’s poem, “Justice, Come Down.”)
I don’t like to write this story, but this is where I wait, with the blackened ash on the back of my tongue: I’m waiting for someone to look there, for someone to see, I want you to notice what I’ve lost, I want it to be a stain, a smear by degrees on my skin. This is where we weather the battle, but I hate war metaphors — it’s inherent in the word survivor, someone who made it through alive. I want a different word, a different metaphor.
I don’t tell my story, I share the facades and shards, the shelved legalese, the patina of identity markers. Telling the story means drooping into vulnerability, means letting in the possibility that you’ll stagger aside after hearing me and let your eyes drop with pity and disappointment.