Archive for the ‘writing’ Category

What I Know

Day 364…

Again I spend a morning velcroed to the chair.  What is going on?  I know I have two days left with this blog.  I know the first of  two intern seminars I facilitate begins tomorrow and the afternoon program I work with begins next week.  I know there is a restlessness within me.

I read more Natalie Goldberg.  Thunder and Lightning this time.  And more of the Hadley and Ernest Hemingway story, A Paris Wife.

I know I have stuffed emotions that are triggered by thoughts, experiences,conversations, or images.  I know writing practice helps me let go of them.

I know we still have 100 degree days and no rain and watching mindless conflict on the news only frustrates me.  I know writing practice helps me accept “what is.”

I know a syllabus needs to be written, a book needs to be returned to the library, a bill needs to be paid.  I know writing practice helps me focus on what I can do.

What I know…Life is full of challenges.  And writing, for me,  is a way to stay present and accounted for.

Writing topic:  What I know


Assessing the Blog

Day 363…

Yesterday I once again spend the morning…a good four hours…in my writing room.  I fill pages in my journal, I write notes to myself on a nearby pad, and I read.  One of my writing teachers, Sean Murphy, calls this velcroing myself to the chair.

This morning I want to do it again.  I’m not sure why.  I uncover at least as many questions as answers.  Enough to scare me off in the past, but for now that seems to be what I want.  Maybe it’s this new found interest in my muse,  my intuition.

I wonder why I am ready to let go of this blog.  To see what else will fill this time?  To go deeper into my own writing?  To allow possible writing projects to become clearer?  I’m not sure, and I want to find out.

Writing this blog every day for a year has been a good experience.  I know that on many levels.  But if I give the experience some distance, what else can I learn?

I have been practicing commitment…sticking to a project or idea, even when I am not sure what I hope to gain from it.   Opening to the possibilities, to something more than I can imagine.  And I want more of that.

Writing topic:  More than I can imagine

OK, Muse, You’ve Got My Attention

Day 362…

Ah, yesterday the entire morning is spent in my writing room.  Allowing my muse to have her way with me.  I’m not avoiding her with busy-ness, I offer no excuses, I just steadily write on…and on.

I only have little clues of what this is about…this abundance of ideas flowing from my pen.  I take a few breaks to read.  A little of Natalie Goldberg’s book Wild Mind and The Paris Wife by Paula McLain…a story of Hadley and Ernest Hemingway.  Even my reading is about writing.

Later when I leave the house, new ideas fire.  Ideas about the ideas I was having earlier.  I need to be with others just to get the Muse to shut up.  But the “others” I am with are writers and storytellers themselves.

And in the night, she visits again.  Why the persistence?  Is it because I am giving in to her?  Has she been like this all along?

Day 362 of this year-long blogging commitment…and school starts this week.  I’m transitioning into a new year, and I’m listening.  Wednesday will be my last blog.  For a while?  Forever?  I don’t know.  I don’t seem to be in charge.

Writing topic:  Giving in

Simple Rituals

Day 360…

I have spent weeks sorting, cleaning, organizing…deep decluttering.  I am proud to say I am no longer a candidate for “Hoarders.”  And it feels wonderful.

Last night, the writing group helps me celebrate.  Alex makes an elegant rasberry tart, Lynda brings veggies and a yummy ranch dip.  Joann comes for the first time and Katie brings her endearing, brave self.

This is more than a girls’ night out, although there is a bit of that.  We have created a safe place to be, to speak, and to listen, and for me, in this noisy, cluttered world,  it is a respite.

I write to rise above my mindless day-to-day triggers and reactions, and on Wednesday nights I practice this ritual with others.  A couple hours of sacred awareness, amid record breaking high temperatures and drought, economic instability, family concerns and personal struggles.

My writing teacher, Natalie Goldberg, says “Trust in what you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go.”

Ah yes, Natalie.  Ah, yes.

Writing topic:  Writing as a spiritual practice


Day 354…

Journaling, timed writing, morning pages, writing meditation, whatever the name… it is the practice that helps me “maintain.”  But maintaining is not enough; I want more.

How do I use this practice to continue growing?  How do I connect this practice to my life experiences?  Last night I watch the process.

Wednesday writers, a writing group I began a couple years ago, now has a name and facebook page.    What was first just my  need to continue a practice with others now offers structure… a time to check in,  a specific way of choosing topics and a closing that includes intention setting.   We come for different reasons on any given Wednesday.  It might be for community, writing practice or accountability or something we can’t even name.  Some members move on and new ones join.  Venues change.  We’ve been at the church and the neighborhood library and now we move week-to-week to different members’ homes.  It’s something more than maintenance.

Then before bed I write evening pages, three pages at the end of the day hoping to ease my restless sleep pattern.  And I wake this morning rested, with a slightly different perspective and an awareness of the positive power this practice has in my life.

Writing topic:  Reflecting on our practices

Evening Pages

Day 353…

After a series of restless nights, this morning I wake with a new idea.

I write morning pages to clear my mind at the beginning of the day, but this summer my mornings are ready to begin without the practice.  The nights are where the clutter now seems to accumulate.  Throughout the day I am constantly listening to conversations  and watching behaviors.  Then in the middle of the night, I wake, tossing and turning as I make room for and/or sense of this new information.

Being still and emptying my mind is not yet moving me past the chatter, and because writing meditation is a path I practice, I will pursue that.  Three pages of the day in words before I turn off the light.

Writing topic:  Now I lay me down to sleep

Morning Pages

Day 350…

Yes, “timed writings” has been an effective practice for me, but I was becoming too dependent on it.  It’s not easy operating in the “real” world when you have to keep running back to your notebook to check on yourself.

I needed to let go of this obsession with my own thoughts so I could focus on the children in my after school classes and my beginning teachers and their students.

I had read Julia Cameron’s The Artist Way and many of her other books, and actually “worked” her twelve week program.  It was time to take it further.

So about three years ago I made a commitment to regularly do morning pages (Three pages every morning.)  The first thing I would do every morning was head to the kitchen for a cup of coffee, stopping by the bathroom on the way.    Then I’d return to my bed with my coffee, notebook and pen and without first checking the TV, radio or computer.   For about thirty minutes I’d write…emptying the unfinished business and concerns from the day before, capturing pieces of the night’s dreams, and readying myself for the day ahead.

There were days I overslept and didn’t have time to write before I needed to be somewhere, and there were days I just didn’t have the “energy” to face the page.  But the more I honored this commitment, the better I felt.  Something was shifting.  By depositing my “self ” absorbed thoughts in my notebook, I had made room for other people.

And as I became more present to other people, I began to recognize myself in them.  I knew those fears and concerns, those passions and joys.    I had been learning to accept myself, so I could accept others.

And the journey continues.