Good morning good morning good morning — the summer morning outside my window is grey and sounds like the whistle of a train passing through Jack London Square. What is rising for you this morning? What is falling away?
I am entering into a couple-day writing retreat: two days focused on a couple of book projects, two days of stealing away from my regular life, two days in which I give myself permission not to feel guilty if I spend time writing rather than doing other work. This is a stay-at-home writing retreat, and will be interrupted by a trip to the vet and a few other tasks (mostly involving prep for writing groups); still, my primary focus for these next two days will be on moving these books forward.
How often do you give yourself permission for a day to focus on writing? How often do you give yourself permission for thirty minutes, or ten? How often do you feel as though you are stealing time from something, or someone, else in order to write?
Good morning good Monday to you — this morning there’s a good weightiness all around me; the world feels solid and maybe not entirely clear but present and necessary and open. The birds are a dawn chorus (thank you for that, Lucretia!), and the candle flickers over the words “Run your finger down the blackness behind my ribcage / make a puzzle of my womb / an alphabet of my fingers” (from the poem, taped to my wall, “Poem,” by Roberta Werdinger). How are you feeling your way into this Monday? What does the week hold in store for you? What are you carrying forward with you from this weekend?
A poem for today:
The Poems I Have Not Written
I’m so wildly unprolific, the poems
I have not written would reach
from here to the California coast
if you laid them end to end.
(click on the image to view the full photo, which gives a different context from the close-up here. A whole different prompt, the full view, I think.)
Hello and good morning — happy Wednesday (if it is indeed Wednesday where you are) to you. There is tea here, where I’m writing you from, and candlelight, and a little quiet music. No foghorns that I can hear, just a car now and again, early commuters, or maybe the paper-delivery guy.
What’s it like where you are this morning? What’s it like in you this morning?
she's going in to break it up
This morning I spent an hour writing in the notebook. It’s chilly here in the little apartment, but I got to wrap up in a bright red wrap that was knitted by my mother, so that helps.
What to say on a Wednesday morning? This is the slow time, the molasses time, the bundling time. Why does it, why do I feel, some need to go faster? Faster isn’t possible right now? All the gears are grinding to a halt. It’s not just Winter, the Winter Holidays, or Mercury Retrograde — it’s all of these plus deep inner-work that brings me into contact with my old stories, the ones I haven’t told, the ones I haven’t wanted even to look at, or let my throat and mouth shape.
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. 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.)
Ah — there’s the blue morning sky!
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What I meant, yesterday, by it adds up, is that I’ve got at least 100 pages of usable material — and I’m not even through all the backlog yet. 100 pages of writing that will work for these couple of book projects; that doesn’t include the writing that could be worked for creative submissions, poems or short fictions.
Time for a 15 minute write — the dog is rolling around a toy that releases food when she turns it. this is helping her slow down when she eats. I could have used one of those at several different times in my life. We are working on sit-stay, working on heel, working on walking with a loose leash. We are testing and pushing each other. Yesterday was her first bath at a pet store up in Strawberry Village. Is this what I want to be writing about? Yesterday, on my self care day, everything was all about Sophie. Even the time that I took away from her, letting myself go to the cafe for some writing after her lunch (the first time I’d left her alone when I was by myself — the Mr and I together had left her alone, walked out of the house together, but this was the first time she and I said goodbye just the two of us, and the first time I walked back in to let her know I’d always come back), I spent writing about her or listening to a podcast about training your dog to walk on a loose leash. I guess that’s what new furry-baby-parenthood is like.
We had a couple of frustrating walks yesterday, she and I; she was too excited (how I hate using that phrase for a puppy — isn’t it her job to be excited?) and I wasn’t doing a good job of calming my own self down. I thought about how dogs can read and respond to emotions, and how, when I’m tense and anxious, she’s going to sense and react to that. And that stressed me out, too, given that I have spent the last 30 years feeling tense and anxious a good percentage of my everydays. So here’s another thing she’s going to get to help me work on — my quality of presence, being actually all the way here, being solidly in this moment with her — calm and focused, clearly in charge. Since these are all things I’ve actively avoided being for a number of years, it makes sense, I guess, that I’m frustrated and in the midst of a serious learning curve.
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Yesterday we hiked up a mountain — a small mountain, Tiburon mountain, sure, but when we came to the top, we could see the full body of that orange Golden Gate Bridge, hugged thick by fog, nearly weighted down. We could see the whole fog-heavy morning laid out in front of us.
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This week, the workshops begin again — tonight I’ll be meeting with a full Write Whole workshop, and throughout the day, I’ll be communicating with folks who’ve signed up for the online Reclaiming Our Erotic Story class. I’m making my first videos ever for the online workshop — I feel like we get closer to the ‘in person’ experience if folks can hear the prompt, rather than read it. We’ll see how that goes.
This is what this morning looks like: deer on the road, a puppy learning heel and gentle, jays at the new bird feeder. Nettle-mint-skullcap tea. A Jen learning to run up and down long flights of stairs, in order to exercise puppy.
We all have puppy energy sometimes.
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