Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Free-writing with Jen: Knots

Getting inside the mystical experience that occurs when I get to the end of my rope:

Knot components


I am at cliff’s edge and God catches me. I think I am going to fall but float instead. I think I am going into the dark but it’s bright with light. I think I’ll cry until I die but smile instead.  I feel my back too bent over but it straightens and lets me take a few dance steps.  I find I can wash the dishes and don’t have to throw them out. And I am glad no one calls because I want this time for myself alone.   

[I stop writing to check the cat because she is too quiet. I take off my pants because they are too tight. And my knees hurt. I have to learn other ways of doing things so I can sit and write without excess discomfort.]

Today is not a mystical day.  I am plodding along with words and breath and sips of water.  My hand, a fist around a pen, produces small scratchy handwriting and not my third grade all-American classic slant.    

One of my performance characters, Alice—who is now the main character in the novel I am writing—has all my ailments and more, but she wouldn't write about them.  Prude and loner that she is, she'd rather talk about lust.  She remembers audience reactions when she said that Helen of Troy had told her she would rather sleep with books than with a man.  While performing Alice performing Helen, I lay down in a pile of broken books and rubbed my body with them. The audience found this titillating, strange, even disgusting.  But was it?  Neither Alice nor I think so, though we may agree that the truth of it is nobody's business.

So what is the knot you are writing about today?  The moment when you realize that you ran out of paper and you are writing on the table instead. [I remember doing this when typing on a manual typewriter.]  Oh!  The moment when you realize you are seeing the sunset but the sunset isn’t seeing you.  The moment you realize, I mean, that the sunset has shown itself but I have hidden.  That moment of bewilderment followed by its opposite: I’m not falling apart.  I’m falling UP! 

[The phone rang, but I was too UP to answer it.  I hear construction sounds from outside, but the soft smells of winter don’t match its thud and mud.]

What is the knot I am writing about?  Passion.  Do I ever write about anything else? 

Do I ever write about anything but the absorption in the wait-a-minute, as in Wait a minutesomething’s moving and alive out there.  Is it a squirrel or a seed? a sibling? a lion?


Bring it on, God!  Plant something alive in the expiring light so it’ll be there when I am ready to see it; when we are ready to see each other.

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Sunday, December 7, 2014

Susan's Poetry: Self-Reliance


Susan's Poetry: Self-Reliance: Girl on a Swing by Winslow Homer (1879)

           My poem grew as a result of an evening weeping and sobbing like I have never had before.  My friend Helene suggests my experience might be explained by the Hebrew lament tradition--for which she has resources and she has run workshops with a wise friend.  This interests me.  Yet, I fear that taking it into lament tradition will intellectualize it before I have learned all that I can from it.  So here, before I pursue that direction, I will try to put the experience itself into words as raw and true as the moments in which I lived it.
          This writing is a step forward, a capture, from which will most likely come a death and a scientific dissection of the body.   Let us call this phase getting to know the live animal in the wild, finding out where it will lead me or if it will eat out of my hand.  Is there another option between me going wild or me taming it?  If so, I hope I will discover it.
          This poem was my reaction on the next day:

File:WLA hmaa Winslow Homer Girl on a Swing.jpg
Girl on a Swing by Winslow Homer (1879)

Self-Reliance 

Crying for hours with no
hope of rescue created
the river I needed 
to swim out to sea.

Who knew what blessings
your absence would bring? 

Now that I have descended cliffs,
leapt into currents, breasted waves
and tasted the sea, your little 
rope swing and your caution
have no more appeal for me.


These are the parts as I see them prior to writing.  This means I am trusting first instincts to have meaning in the narration of an event.  I don't know how I would approach this if I hadn't written this poem which suggests form or structure: 

  1. Situation of the crying
  2. Hope of rescue
  3. River  (a) cliffs, (b) currents, (c) waves
  4. Sea

I will write out each of these sections.  
Until I do, here are the notes I have on each:


1.  Situation of the crying:  Pain.  Spasms with follow up burning and inability to escape into sleep
2.  Calling Nancy and asking for her company.  Being turned down.
3.  Crying actual wet tears.  Not being able to stop. Calling out "O God!" and realizing I wanted God's help--a God I tried to visualize but could not.  Perhaps that is the cliff that needed ascending/scaling descending, but what are the currents andthe waves?  What is the experience of letting go and riding naked?  Of trying not to?
4.  Going there anyway.  Crying in that place.  A vast sea of Godness expanding me-ness, removing the boundaries of me-ness, absorbing me, rocking me to sleep.  My cat was present.
 And there is a 5: Waking refreshed and changed with the sensation of love and possibility.  Spending the day working on my body lovingly with each exercise.  Writing this poem.  Creating my notebook and calendar gifts.  Talking on the phone to Avis.  Talking in person to Nancy.  Rounding the day with sleep.
 And there is a 6:  In a phone call Helene asking me to talk about "going to that place"--literaly and figuratively her call was a wake-up call.  This is something to spend more time with.

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