Thursday, September 15, 2011

A problem in translation

I rewrite the first sentence 3, 4, 5 times.

I give myself pep talks: "don't think about them, just write."

I rewrite the first sentence 6, 7, 8 times.

"Write from your heart, write what is true - don't worry."

I rewrite the first sentence 9, 10, 11 times.

"Arghhhh, what is wrong with you?"

"I don't know, close your eyes and see."

"That seems reasonable."

And, there I am sitting on the couch in front of the window flanked by mothers. I see colors; tears run down my cheeks.

I've been trying to write a scene, but the scene isn't what is in my heart. The scene dances around my heart, just like all the words do.

I've mistaken my head for my heart. Dive deeper.

Monday, September 12, 2011


"Write your self.  Your body must be heard.  Only then will the immense resources of the unconscious spring forth."  - Helene Cixous, from "Laugh of the Medusa"
I've been thinking a lot lately about silence.  What it means, why it happens.  For me, there are two main ways in which silence presents itself.  One is quite recent.  It is the moment my brain tells me fill with chatter.  Moving chairs with someone I don't know, I'm tempted to make a joke just to fill space, but I don't, I choose silence instead.

The other type of silence in my life isn't one I choose, it is one that I am trying to not choose.  Only that seems harder to relearn.  The silence that comes of me not wanting to say something that isn't quite right, that might offend, that isn't smart enough, that might be just wrong.

The choice of silence seems easier - it is an observable habit.  When I see myself about to say something I can see what it is and why and then make a choice.  Or, if I don't catch myself beforehand, I can see it while I'm saying it or afterwards and think about it.  I am learning to make silence, in those situations the default.

The same tactic does not work with not being silent because 1) it is harder to observe or notice a non-happening, and 2) it isn't a habit like chatter is, it is a way of being in the world.  It is a variation on a phrase we are all probably familiar with - "If you don't have anything "right"/perfect, to say, do, be, then don't say, do, be anything at all."

This source of this silence of word, action, and being is found deep inside my core, and it is old - I've carried it with me my whole life.  Or, rather, my whole life has come into being through it.

And, so, softly and gently, I expose it to light to see what happens.