Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Heart on My Sleeve

Love, NYC 2011
This week is a post by a student, Barbara Samuel. She describes so well the process of sharing, what we are looking for from others about our writing, as well as looking for from others about ourselves. I think it really fits my last post about not using writing - or anything else - to get love. She really shows the mixed bag of connection and fear. I am discussing a lot of how this relates to writing memoir in particular over at Memoir Mind, in case this piques your interest in that direction. She also begins to explore how hard it can be to depict a particular time in our lives and share it with others without them seeing us as just that at that time. What do we do when the era we are depicting is so different than who we are now?

We just read Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which she refers to in the piece.

This is a rough draft, as always is the case with my students' pieces here.Actually I prefer to call them "raw drafts" instead of rough drafts - it better depicts why I find them so powerful.


When I visit my son and daughter-in-law I take a flash drive with me that contains
everything I’ve written in the last year and a half. Every time we are together, there
or here, they ask me to read some pieces. That’s one benefit of having a close child;
there is one person in the world who actually wants to hear what I’ve been writing.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Don't Use Writing To Get Love - Or Anything Else

Heart on Fire, Austin TX
I have been haunted lately by one of Natalie Goldberg's classic mantras:

Don't use writing to get love.

A few weeks ago I got a reminder on yet another even-more-subtle level, that I can't use teaching - nay, anything - to get love, either.
I don't know about you, but I can use just about anything to try and get love.

I am not talking about consciously seeking acceptance or being wanted. I am talking deep, deep down in crevice, corner, inner-child seeking love missile. Empty whole in belly quality. I think I have taken care of it but then I get stressed out and LO! this issue is still there.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Start of the Breakdown

I haven't posted here in a month. Wow. I didn't realize how long it had been.

It's not that I am not inspired, rather, maybe too inspired. This, of course, is the inverse of being underinspired and, in fact, the same issue: not able to decide, see clearly: feeling over or underwhelmed is still feeling whelmed.

Today I canceled my classes last minute because I realized I couldn't teach them. This is the first time I officially called in mentally ill - and while it feels important to do it and be honest, there is also shame. Mostly shame about not seeing it coming (thus the last minuteness), and about "not caring enough for myself/to make this happen."

I need to let go of all of those stories - they won't help me be gentle and care for myself like I need to right now. I know I am getting better at this all the time - letting go and being with the situation. There's always another challenge for it around the corner.

The start of the breakdown is the end of something - the end of pushing too hard, of, with all the connecting with myself I've been doing, the end of not connecting enough. A day in which I don't have to speak to anyone or be anywhere is what this little breakdown needs. I broke it down: that's what I need.