Terry Tempest Williams

I’ve been blowing through countless mysteries in between the non-fiction I read. Books are my escape, my solace, part of my journey and healing when I am scared and uncertain. They are my self-soothing default (besides prayers) when I am struggling with what is beyond my control (essentially everything that is not myself).

When Women Were Birds has been on my must read list for some time (as are Williams’ other books). Her words and Rebecca Solnitt’s resonate profoundly with a deeper part of myself that I’ve neglected for the past several years, and it’s time for another resurrection. It’s that part of myself that recognizes a sacred path, and that I will be okay if I can trust. Trust is so scary when there is that constant fear of loss.

I start drafting blog posts, and then question how much of my monkey mind I want to share. So I will leave you with another quote today, one I discovered on Milla’s blog (I was familiar with Terry Tempest Williams from listening to NPR for so many years but have yet to read any of her books!).

Because of this quote (and a few others), I’m not feeling as resistant to the word Crone these days. Besides men at this stage of life hanging together are sometimes referred to as “cronies!” And I think of myself more and more as Crow. I love Crow.

So, a quote for you and a link for you also. Don’t know when I’ll have time to read her blog, but I do love that she practices NVC, and has some great new-to-me words (like “destuckification”) in her personal glossary.

“Once upon a time, when women were birds, there was the simple understanding that to sing at dawn, and to sing at dusk, was to heal the world through joy. The birds still remember what we have forgotten, that the world is meant to be celebrated.”

The Girl Who Married a Bear

Lately, I’ve been re-inspired to try blogging again. I’m not kidding anyone but myself to say I wouldn’t like to engage in conversation with a kindred community. I love it in the real world, but I realize it can also be enjoyable in the virtual world. However, finding bloggers who resonate with me is sometimes difficult. There’s really only a handful. And sometimes, the ones I once liked I outgrow, usually because I find the writing voice becomes hollower, echoing more and more as their popularity soars with a particular audience’s voices, until soon, they all start sounding the same. I get bored quickly (and somewhat uncomfortable) with too much of that. I love sharing the things I get excited about, be it a book, a blog, British comedy, local travel, women’s history, life. Which brings me to Milla. She’s a Finnish girl who married a Bear and lives with him out in the great northwest woods. She’s a real person, writing about all the things I like — basically just sharing the sh*t friends share without getting into marketing what is essentially the role friends once played in our lives. What I wore, what I baked, where I went, oh the stars are beautiful on this brilliant winter eve, what I believe, what I read, listened to, thought. All that was real and true before it became about a brand and money. Because, unlike what the title of the book proclaims, I do care what my friend had for lunch (but more especially, breakfast, because, you know, I like breakfast more). I might not remember it by tonight, but I do care.

Bird Tweets

“Comments on blogs are the life-blood of the medium. They tell the blogger you are looking, liking, wishing for more. They encourage and give the pat on the back that can come from a relative, but is so much more honest from someone who didn’t wipe your tears away when you fell and skinned your knee. Comments are like little presents to receive and open….after posting I can’t wait to see if someone will respond; I’ve made myself visible to you, I’ve invited you in. What do you think? Comments are the barometer of what we are sharing, and often–if not always–with art, that means our hearts.” ~ Karen Otto, February 2008 ~

One True Voice

First of all a disclaimer: I’m not sure I have only one true voice or even one life to live, but here goes.

What is your one true voice? And “what do you intend to do with your one wild, precious life?” I’m determined to scoot down to Provincetown one day this summer for the sole purpose of meeting Mary Oliver, the writer of that quote. Imagining tea and chat and hoping to get a polaroid or two. That and scattering Evelyn’s ashes. And popping in to say hello to Aimee. Just those crazy, random ways of meeting people to say hello (and goodbye).

But I understand from my favorite bookshop that Mary Oliver is very private, having turned down the New York Times for an interview. I will at least hopefully get to meet her in October when she celebrates Titcomb’s 40th anniversary with a talk. She’s on my Mondo Beyondo list though, as is a survival guide I’m starting to finally write.

** Photo From Beacon Broadside (the mention of St. Vincent Millay got me going on another post)

This entry was posted on July 27, 2009, in local, voice.

Just Ask

When I moved back to the cape 11 years ago, my sister had given me the book Simple Abundance. I read it cover to cover that year. There were some days I rolled my eyes at the trite words and other days the writing rang true. I don’t think that’s peculiar to this particular writer, I think it is something all of us writers do at one time or another, and with a book of that magnitude, how can some entries not fall short? And so it is with blogging, too.

Every once in a while, I return to Simple Abundance, as I have again lately. I still roll my eyes at some of the entries, and I still find entries that are powerful.

Yesterday’s was one of those for me. It was about asking. You know like Matthew wrote, “Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” Sarah had me there and then further on she had another fabulous quote, followed by her writing:

“‘It is a long time since I have asked heaven for anything, but still my arms will not come down,’ Spanish poet Antonio Porchia mused, giving voice to the profound paradox of asking. We want, we need, we desire, we yearn, but we don’t ask. Still our arms stay up in the air. Longings cross our mind, but we don’t really commit ourselves. We don’t lay it on the line. We don’t ask because we’re afraid somebody will say ‘no.'”
~Sarah Ban Breathnach

I’m ready to put my arms down and raise my voice instead.

This entry was posted on June 3, 2009, in voice.

Just don’t say no because you can’t

Avoiding negatives is more of a challenge than you’d think. Think about it — one of the first words we learn as we start moving independently of our parents is “No” — to protect us from harms we know nothing about — yet — but also to limit what we can and can’t do as in “don’t touch.” I have found that it continues throughout life though as a self-limiting rather than a self-protecting word. I am trying to change that for myself. I can’t grow if I hear no.

I have been trying to avoid negatives in my personal writing lately — using positives instead. It is difficult (originally I wrote “it is not easy” — takes much conscious effort on my part but I am trying). “I am not a photographer” becomes “I am a writer learning a bit of photography.” The bells and whistles intimidate me though. Technique, technical, all of that intimidates me. I am a point and shoot kind of girl so have been playing with a couple of polaroids I picked up. The learning curves always slllloooowwww me wwwaaayyy down. I have four pictures so far after trying out different exposure settings on the polaroids. I tried batteries in the flash and tested it to see if it still works (it needs some help even with new batteries — it may have finished its work for this lifetime).

Where am I going with all this? It’s a personal exercise in accentuating positive talk. “I am not an artist” becomes “I am a conceptual artist and a writer” who has yet to be discovered as I am just emerging. I would like to find my voice. What is my voice? My one true voice — I am very Renaissance in that I am all over the place with so many interests, primarily in the humanities, but also domestic arts and spirituality. Besides being a mom, mate, sister, daughter, aunt, cousin, niece, friend and so on, who am I? What defines me? Where I’m going or where I’ve been? Who am I? What do I do? How am I expressing my creative voice?

Denise does it with her camera and her blog. Starting out with jewelry and a journey. What about Em? Her voice besides her blog writing voice is sewing, scrapbooking, teaching. For Andrea, jewelry, painting and scarves led to jewelry, photography and coaching. They all write as I do. But they also have a vocation that earns them money. Ironic that I worked for almost 7 years helping others find direction and meaning in their work, however humble. I think it makes a difference when “it’s just a job though,” and you’re content with just a job.

I want more. I want to know my one (or two) creative voices amongst my many creative voices. I want to nurture that voice like the runt of a litter — grow, baby, grow. You know you can. Yes, you can.

This entry was posted on May 15, 2009, in voice.