She returned home from classes in the middle of the afternoon. Her new classes made her feel like she was drowning in reading assignments and the panic made it impossible to concentrate, so she stood in the middle of the bare wood floor with the sun streaming in and hitting her feet. Without thinking, she raised her arms while breathing in and exhaled as she bent toward the floor, and began to do yoga sun salutations.
When she felt that she couldn’t do any more, she sat down in a cross legged position, tucked her chin, lowered her shoulders and stretched through her ribs while rocking her hips back and forth on the floor to find the right balancing connection point. She was surprised to feel her groin pulsing with heat. The twinge of desire was a unexpected after long empty, echoing months without a trace of it. Now it was like a solicitor on the top step, knocking and knocking, and determined to continue until someone answered the call.
She deepened her breath and tried to return to the calm neutral place she’d dropped into earlier. As she followed her breaths, her mind drifted and her body followed her to sleep. In the dream, her puff of pubic hair became a thyme plant in the garden.
Her body was the garden, the musky sage plants were her sweat. A crow landed on her leg and scratched at her silver belly ring. Taking it into his beak, he tugged it gently before turning his attention to the thyme. He buried his beak in it and pulled against it with all his strength, as if he would take away a precious part of her, an amulet to ward off the darkness within him.
I’m a planner. Before I got my degree from Holy Names University’s graduate writing program, I developed a strategy to keep writing without the obligation (and well-planned syllabi) of my courses. My greatest fears included post-graduate inertia, the paralyzing expectations of great writing (immediate, constant, without end), the inability to allow dirty dishes to sit while the commitment to writing was honored, etc. etc. etc. Any activity that is not required to survive or or that is not achieved while slumped on the couch can be difficult to perform regularly…at least at my house! Clearly, I needed a plan.
Step 1: take a class at the Writing Salon taught by Elaine Beale (my classmate Damian Barnes told me she was wonderful & he was right!) Since I took that class, I’ve actually been writing in the notebook I carry around for that purpose. Elaine provided us with a bibliography to inspire the creative muse and from that, I’ve been working with A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves. It is wonderful. As they say, if you don’t use it, you lose it. The counterpart of that pithy adage is: the more you look, the more you see. With fresh eyes, the world is a more interesting place. Writing makes me feel engaged and reflective about the people or situations that I encounter.
Step 2: develop a nurturing, engaging, stimulating, fun writing community. I’m at the beginning of this journey. I struck up a friendship a few months ago with a fellow Alameda blogger, Alice Lewis, who is developing her writer’s confidence and voice, too. I joined the California Writers Club (check’s in the mail!), a group devoted to writing and the writer’s life, with regular events and groups to support the work. I need to add more pieces to this puzzle, but I’m uncertain what’s next.
Step 3: research literary magazines with the intention to Get Published! I realize it’s the goal of many (perhaps far more worthy) writers, but a girl’s gotta dream!
I wonder how other people pursue their dreams. What’s your strategy or process?