Sunday, April 17, 2011

Writing Is A Conversation With Life

Writing is a conversation with life. And nowhere is it more evident than in a  group of women gathered together to share life's journey through writing.

"Begin at the end," Ginger suggested yesterday at the Women's Writing Circle read-around.

Trace backwards to what got you there in the first place. As writers we are time travelers, moving freely between our past and present.

Many times women struggle with feeling they have no right to put their deepest and most profound thoughts on paper. Yet isn't that the tipping point - to go beyond and open ourselves to what writing has to teach?

Ginger shares her work as Sharon looks on.
After Trish read a poem she had written about the death of a spouse, she said she struggled, wondering  if she had "the right to write it," since her husband had beaten his cancer, whereas a friend had lost her husband. "But you have experienced it," Maureen responded. Trish experienced the desolation and grief of her husband's illness and then looked beyond to what her life would mean without him.

As I widow, I felt the truth of her poem: "But when I am lonely, Or tired, or scared, I feel you near me . . . Like a breath of fresh air."

Sharon wrote about the townhouse she bought and the memory of standing at the dining room window looking out on a "sweeping front lawn".  From the description of her new home poured the deeper meaning of divorce: loneliness, loss and new found independence. 

Good detail and description boosts our writing and frees us. 

"I am falling in love with my home again," Diane wrote. She wrote about "purging" herself of the clutter of possessions from a past life and the joy of buying an aqua glass coffee table to celebrate the new. She wrote about removing another kind of clutter .. .  "high maintenance friendships." 

As Natalie Goldberg writes in her classic Writing Down the Bones, Freeing the Writer Within, "Push yourself beyond when you think you are done with what you have to say.  Go a little further . . . touch  down into something real.  It is beyond the point when you think you are done that often something strong comes out."

Writing is a conversation with our lives - an ongoing conversation. "Ride the wave," as Goldberg says. Share your story.  Help me share mine.


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