“The artist, and particularly the poet, is always an anarchist in the best sense of the word.
He must heed only the call that arises within him from three strong voices:
the voice of death, with all its foreboding, the voice of love and the voice of art.”
~ Federico García Lorca
(poet, playwright, & theatre director executed by Franco).
I typically scan facebook for the patterns in what’s been up for me. The sum today is I slept many hours last night, starting 8pm on the sofa, moving to bed at 11:30, & with waking only once, rising late @ 7am. After weeks of scant sleep + insomnia the night before from which I rose, pulled out my courage & contacted folks for book reviews, and others with a dissatisfaction. My publisher told me launching a book is a marathon, not a sprint. But the fact is I’m sprinting to catch up from the late start in the process, and the move to Santa Fe, creating a functioning home with box-lined walls, plastic bins at the ready in the garage for re-packaging from the cardboard mousies love. Sprinting to regain a rhythm in my life.
The other day I went to a movie for the first time in a year. As I pulled from my driveway, I saw clear through the picture window of my little home to the light & view out the kitchen window at the back of the house. It rather stunned me. I thought, this is why I’m here. To do my work with a sense of space and expansiveness outside me and inside me. This does not require a sprint.
By my front door is a ceramic vase with two delicate oriental cranes on it. I bought it in Jacksonville. It’s not my style and made no sense to get it then, nor any time I’ve looked at it in the ensuing 4 years. But I was, and still am, completely drawn to it. Then this. . .
For a year before I returned to Santa Fe, I subscribed to New Mexico magazine. I’ve moved magazines before. They’re heavy & never worth the cost. But the little voice said ‘throw this one in the box.’ Sandhill cranes and the caption ‘Flocking to NM’ on the cover. I flipped through it the morning I pulled it from the box. Read ‘Preparing for Liftoff’ + an 8-pg. spread on writers and indy bookstores. This note stuck out: “. . .the National Endowment for the Humanities has ranked New Mexico first in the nation for the number of working writers per captia.” Those unseen guides, talking to me even in Jax.
A family member wrote on fb I should quit sharing my thoughts about the world and focus on selling my book. (I’m really nice in my posts, focusing on love of the planet & humanity, empowerment) Two people responded. One said she vehemently disagrees. ‘Your influence as a writer is far greater than any of us less articulate folks. Please use it as your conscience dictates.’ Another said, ‘Yes!!! Love your voice and the strength that fuels it.”
I’ve always been an artist, creativity at the heart of every job I’ve had. I asked my mother when she was dying what she remembered I loved to do most when I was a kid. ‘Draw,’ she said. ‘From the time you could hold a pencil.’ At eight, I made folders out of 2 sheets of notebook paper, the front sheet folded down. forming a flap. The sides taped or stapled. I colored pictures with themes on the front – holidays, myths, animals. I wrote stories & drew pictures to fit the themes. My first experience of writer’s block was in 3rd grade. I sat at a brown lunch table composing a poem, prompted by one I saw in a school newsletter. I thought a poem something I could do. But young as I was, I questioned myself, never submitted it. The next year I wrote stories for a book I planned, complete with Table of Contents. At 18, tho, I turned in a blank sheet of paper to my college professor every Friday in response to our single assignment for the day, Write. That failure kept me from having the GPA to continue school. Took 5 tries to get my degree and find my worldly heart. Two while in an abusive marriage. Five. Persistence.
For months I’ve come out with aspects of my past that I’d kept to myself because, well, I felt ashamed about some of it. + I didn’t want to be identified with stuff that happened years and decades ago. . .when I was a diff woman. But it’s all part of my history that informs my understanding of human-Being. Not my identity, but parts of me that’s shared with others who are battered, broke, stalked, on food stamps, dismissed, have homes that burn, lost children, husbands run down by cars, businesses lost, little income for months on end. Who’ve lived in places very different than they’ve known. Have been thought weird or different. All part of human-Being that when turned into something besides fear, opens to empathy.
I’ve not shared my book on facebook the past few days. I’ve shared this:
Let’s support writers this week. I’m all about it. Because words have power.
Writers in other countries have been executed for that power.
Nearly 20 yrs. ago I joined a circle of writers to regain a Voice I’d lost. Writing and all things authorly have been my passion since. I’ve known I was a writer thru trauma, move after move, & distractions. I know the power of the written word for my insides and our outsides. I know the ways we get waylaid. It’s why I use my Voice now. We use what we have.
Another small journey. Getting to Wise.
A Writer’s Life.
What empowers you?
I’ll tell you a secret: Today I say action with heart.
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