Thursday, September 15, 2016

Six Years Later...

An amazing testimonial appeared today in my mailbox from a long-term student, with whom I am now working on - and almost done with - a book! Thank you, Jo Simons...

I was searching for something in my stack of papers and came across my first two writing assignments in your class.  It was SO amazing to read them now with the book done!  OMG Miriam!  You really launched me!!!!!

The prompt was “what’s the secret to good writing?”  Here’s what I wrote.

The secret to good writing is in the pen.  I am celebrating pens of late since we use them so rarely.  I miss handwriting!  You can tell so much about a person by how their handwriting looks.  But technology has robbed us of that — we type notes to each other that do not give a clue as to how we feel or who we really are.  To me, this is a tragic loss — part of the dehumanization of our species. 

But back to the pen.  I was checking out at Staples last week and the counter person said, “Would you like to donate to breast cancer research by buying a gel pen?”  I looked over at them — they were $3.99 each.  Normally, I would decline such a purchase because I’m a fierce alternative medicine person, however the thought of a fresh gel pen and knowing I would be writing soon in Miriam’s class was the selling point, so I said, “Ok, I’ll buy one.”
When I got home and tried out this new pink gel pen that helps fund breast cancer research, I was thrilled by the ease of using it.  My hand loved it instantly and I knew this was the secret to letting thoughts flow from my stagnant writing brain to paper.  Like a babbling brook or my recently discovered yoga breath…the words will flow.  I can see the dam that has surrounded my writing brain for so long giving way — and words gushing from up there through my arm, fingers, black ink to paper.  I have so much to say and my heart is ready to express the love I feel for the subject of my wonderful parents and what they did.  My head just needs to connect it all up and make it happen since my heart can’t do it alone.  The story I have to tell has already been “written.”  It should be easy — and it needs to be told.
Thank you pink gel pen that funds breast cancer research — you are the catalyst for a great story to unfold.

And class #2

The prompt was:  consider why you are here — why do you write?  If you run into any resistance, use your non-dominant hand or a big marker and include that resistance in what you write.

Resistance?  What’s that?  To writing?  Hah!  Armed with my pink gel pen that funds breast cancer research, I can erupt with words that copiously flow.  But what will they say?  What do they need to say?  Why am I here the teacher asks.  I’m here because I want to be amused by my own creativity or lack thereof.

Something universal pulls me to sit uncomfortably on these blue cushions on a cold linoleum floor and babble incessantly on paper once a week.  Moments ago, my imaging guide appeared to me — he’s the tall, handsome, fully-robed Native American who greeted me at the end of an imaginary ride down a giant slide for which I was reluctant to go on.  After all — I couldn’t see what was at the bottom of it so hesitated momentarily but then laughed at my silliness, saying to myself — “Jo, you’re just imagining this whole thing — go for it.”  I did — sailing down that winding thing for what seemed like an eternity — wind blowing in my hair and burning my eyes on my wild ride. I finally “landed” and he was standing there with his long staff.  I had never seen such an impressive soul before.  And he said to me, “Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your life!”  It was a profound moment that still affects the previous-to-that-moment timid me over 20 years ago.  (I didn’t explain that this was what happened when I took my first Wakeful Dreaming session in 1980.)

This time he came to use his staff to touch me where writing inspiration comes from.  I fully expected him to touch my head — but he didn’t.  He touched my heart and my hand — don’t need to think up there I guess is the meaning of his actions.  Need to feel, embrace, let go — and the words will flow through my hand.  Each time I experience this setting on Wednesday mornings at 9 am., I have this slight panic that I will have no idea what will appear before me — and each time, I’m totally amazed that something does happen — don’t understand where the words come from — only know that they come and that makes me smile.  And this time I even babbled more than usual — filling more than 2 pages.  How ‘bout that?

And that’s all I really wanted to say today but time isn’t up so I have to keep going.  The easy gel pen has more to say even though I feel like I’m done.  Pen:  what are you trying to tell me?

Well Jo — you and I came together for a reason.  Most things happen for a reason.  My message to you is take the path of least resistance.  Resistance leads to stagnation, unless you’re on a spin class bike where you turn up the resistance — then it gives you bigger thigh muscles — but generally in life, it will prevent you from experiencing good stuff.  You almost resisted buying me — and I turned out to be your best friend — bringing that heart of yours spilling its life blood onto paper.  You’ve just begun my dear. Welcome to the beginning of the rest of your writing life with me at your side.  Enough said…time’s up.

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