So many of you responded to my post yesterday with such wisdom and comfort. Thank you. I can’t tell you how much I need to be reminded that just showing up for the writing is enough, and I was very blessed by your words. So thanks again.
This morning, showing up rocked! Really it did. I decided to write from my body today (Laraine, aren’t you proud?), and I’m having some neck issues – as usual – so it started as a way to deal with where I am. . . and it turned out funny – which I needed – here’s a snippet:
Right after I got my masterâ€™s from Case Western, I was in excruciating pain â€“ this time caused, I believed, by the release of tension after two years of coursework in literature. I went to the campus doctor before my student ID expired, and he diagnosed me with a chronic cervical strain (never mine that I thought the â€œcervicalâ€ portion of my body was slightly lower on my anatomy). He put me in physical therapy at University Hospital â€“ how convenient that we have a hospital right here, I thought â€“ and I spent one morning a week for the next two months working out with red and yellow rubber bands and getting this glorious thing called ultra sound on my neck â€“ yes, they use that thing that looks a babies in utero and put it on your neck, squishy goo and all, and itâ€™s is amazing. The radio waves bounce down into the muscles and loosen everything up. That tool beat Joelle any day, and today, I wish I could afford one to set right here in my office. . . I wonder how much that gel stuff costs?
The physical therapy helped a bit, and I kept it up for, oh, say, about three weeks after my appointments were over. My family and I, weâ€™ve never been really good at the follow-through thing when it comes to medicine. We prefer easy fixes like pills â€“ my aunt after a double knee replacement didnâ€™t like to do the exercises because they hurt; my father, after he fell out of a very tall tree, refused the doctor and just dosed himself with ibuprofen in medical amounts; my mother, her neck stiff like a two by four does these little neck twists that make her look like sheâ€™s trying to NOT look around. So I was in good company when I quit my stretches with the giant rubber bands.
Sometimes I’m really morose in my writing, and sometimes I try to be humorous (did it work?)
This morning, I was reading from Goldberg again, and I came upon some great stuff that I thought people would like to read.
Here’s a question: What is it mine to do? Not actively, but in the clear sense that a rock is a rock, a bird is a bird. . . . So what are you? What are you in your very core, irrefutable, in that part that understands that what you are is what you are? (p. 247)
This section reminded me of what my yoga teacher Melissa has been talking about in classes this week – our sheaths, the layers of ourselves and how the center one is our core. We’re reading the Upanishads and the concept of the Self – big emphasis on that capital S. For me that Self is in writing.
Stop, be useless, don’t resist the states of mind you think are unproductive. In the depths of your sleepy, lazy, daydreaming self, in the parts you cut off, you can actually discover the source of your writing. This is good advice for all writers — for all human beings. Take some time to be unproductive, to let life go on without us.
This is true practice: To run in order to run. Not to get ready for a marathon or to look good in a bikini or to develop lung capacity. To write just to write is what writing practice is all about. To feel your hand move pen across the page. Pure joy — or pure sorrow — may arise but that is beside the point. To be empty or intention — even for twenty minutes — will provide much freedom and space.
This section reminds me of Laraine’s comments on my post yesterday. Check those out if you haven’t already.
There is joy (and sorrow) in writing, but it is what I am at some central level. And it’s what I need because it is who I am. Do any of you feel like that? Or is there something else in your life that makes you who you are?
I’m going to be away at an ESL conference (could you hear the deep, sad sigh I just let out?), so I may not post for the next couple of days. I leave you with two things.
1. Take a minute to listen to gorgeousity (not a word really, but it speaks so go with it) of Over the Rhine. When I get to heaven, I will sing like this woman.
2. Monty and Mia, Two Gorgeous Newborns by Superhoop.
Isn’t Flickr amazing? Search any word you want (I searched “gorgeous” above) and find amazing images to speak for that day.