For seven days two weeks ago I had the pleasure of joining a community of writers for a fast and furious (& free!) online writer’s workshop.
Writing in a no holds back community is such a joy. Liberated Lines: Amplify brought me back to my fierce love of writing.
Day 1: I am…
I am fury forced into straight lines.
Wakeful before I’ve slept enough. Hungry for food, hungry for touch, seething with envy and hurt, still, again, and over again, revisiting scabs that I won’t allow to heal.
I am fumbling and forceful, as I learn new skills. Bored, but sticking around for the moments of learning that spark my longings for something different, something new, something that could perhaps, at some time in some way steady me.
Please! Let this new work be the force that channels this emotion, this turmoil, this deep impatience into alchemy.
I am mothering, accepting the role more, resisting it less, and stealing moments with my daughter as I watch her grow and glow. We are eye to eye now. She’ll be taller than me soon.
I am nostalgic, remembering the times when I hoisted her up with hands on upper arms, easy, light. She is stronger than me now.
I am gorgeousness as well as aging, melancholic and regretful. Looking at my 13 year old daughter – sometimes I shock and gasp at her glory – I see the ways in which I did not grasp and devour and love the fertile teenage beauty that I was.
I am typing, drinking wine, half here, half puzzled, talking to my daughter. She shoves paper in her mouth and speaks of magic. Rolls her eyes. I am confused. This is normal.
I am fury forced into straight lines except when I am overflowing, bubbling and frothing and red, red, red, the tail end of this menstrual cycle feeling anything but calm.
Day 2: bones
Today I smashed my right baby finger knuckle with a hammer.
It fucking hurt.
I was attempting to nail a piece of wood to another piece of wood in order to create a small set of stairs. Instead of hitting the nail I had so carefully lined up with my thumb and fingers clustered around, knee and foot holding more wooden objects in place, instead of that carefully composed target, I hit my second knuckle from the fingertip of my right baby finger with my hammer.
It fucking hurt.
Oh. The bones. Looking at my puffy and swollen knuckle, skin bruised blue, a slight crack where blood oozed out, yet even so, the bones did not buckle. They did not split, they did not knuckle (under).
You asked for a word today – one word for what is ready to be released.
I wrote down a cheating-one-word. Bone-dry-burdens.
Yes. It’s three words, but it works as one, yes-it-does.
These bone dry burdens.
They are the weight of heartbreak because the one I love won’t love me back the way I want. The one who won’t sex me the way I want. The one who wants me to be the sexless-happy-family-best-friend-wife-ish-mother and still be ok with that role while witnessing his blossoming smitten-romance-partner-lover unfold.
And be ok with it. When I’m not fucking ok with it, but I spent 4 years pretending to be.
Holding on to the heartbreak long after the blood has drained.
Holding on to the hope long after the sap is released.
Holding on to the desire long after the man himself is gone.
Because I-yes-I sent him away.
Still holding on to the bone-dry-burden of hope.
I smashed my baby finger with a hammer today, it-fucking-hurt.
The relief was in the physicality of it. It’s just a thumb. Skin-over-blood-over-muscle-over-bone.
It’s just a thumb, and it’s visceral, it’s physical, it hurts and then it starts to heal.
Day 3: dreams
Dreams have been haunting my daylife.
I wake, not rested, restless instead.
Sometimes waking is accompanied by a hunger to burrow back under blankets and return to the dream to find some resolution. Other times, I roll off the side of the bed, landing on the floor on knees and a forearm, groggy and anxious to be fully awake, wanting to find release from the dreamlife.
My dreamlife pulls me so often into journeys, searching for unknowns, unknowables, but always searching, never quite finding. Never quite stopping.
Almost there. Always not yet arrived.
Last week, my dreamtime crept into a waking daydream, and, twice in one day, I had a vision of the man I used to love, with the woman he loves, experiencing the sadness and horror of birthing a stillborn baby.
The first time this vision arrested my floating awake afternoon state I had a moment of sharp-toothed schadenfreude, feeling such pleasure and glee that they would experience deep pain.
A stillborn child. A dream no one wants to dream.
The second time this vision grifted into my consciousness, hours later, I felt stricken. Heart stopping underwater moving sadness for them. For me. For the world.
It remains to be seen whether this daymare stillborn dream was a premonition. Or a metaphor for my own alive and sometimes lonely life.
Day 4: Incantation
Hands on wooden floor I paused, watching, listening.
I was squatting, back to the wall, arms between bent knees, hands to the floor.
Not intentionally like a prayer, but somehow, accidentally, it was like a prayer anyways.
Bending forwards, pressing more weight into the floor, I noticed that along with the moving shadows from dancing bodies, there was a thrum and a vibration transmitting through my hands.
An old wood floor in an old wooden building. It had spring to it. And the springiness became a thumping incantation, rhythmic dancing feet overlaid over more dancing feet, combining to create a tiny bounce and vibrating thunder that I could feel only when I retreated, laid my back to the wall, slid down into a squatting crouch, and leaned forward to lay my hands on the floor.
Wordless incantation, ongoing tremble, hands connected to wood floor connected to dancing feet connected to music reaching out into space.
And me. Feeling it all.
Feeling it all.
Despite and yet because of my petty grievances, my daily skirmishes with dissatisfaction, I was there, to dance, to move, to breathe, to release and to share the space with others. To step outside of my thinking brain and move, and move, and move.
Incantations as blessings were my secret surprise of the evening – feeling movement and passion and presence, all through the floors.
And yes, it’s just enough, to be there, to be in my body. It’s just enough to be there as a whole, casting a spell of presence through our dancing bodies.
It’s a scary thing to get so raw and real, so honest. It’s a scary thing to share it too. But I think that’s what I do best. Not fearlessly, not at all, but certain that what I share has value, that when my words land with you, friends and readers, there will be something that can be offered, received and used to transform.
And that’s such a beautiful thing.
With love on a Sunday morning,
ps – Alisha Sommers, one of the creators of Liberated Lines, is a featured artist in my lusciously and soulfully interview series. It was such a pleasure to interview her. Visit the archives and read about her here.
pps – I enjoyed this course format so much I’ve decided to work on a couple similar offerings. 7 days to dive in and get intense. No need to worry about keeping up over-committing because it’s just a 7 day burst.
Yes, I found it so suitable to my, and many people’s busy and creative lifestyles.
What do you think? I’m inclined towards one about the body, another about personal mythmaking, and another about the erotic. Thoughts? Subject matter you’d love to dive into? Let me know…
ppps – Born of a hunger to see contemporary dance in the Cowichan Valley, and knowing there are many fantastic dancers and choreographers living their quiet lives here, I decided that the best way to draw that talent out and share it was to create a small simple offering.
It’s the bare bones.
Each dancer has about 10 minutes, in a small and simple space, and the rest is entirely up to them. Join us for two sweet little showcases of the results, on March 5th.
ALL proceeds are divided up equally between the dancers/creators. Every other part of this event is put together by donation.