I am at my laptop the last evening of the writing retreat. I am not far from home although others are. Distance is a funny thing–it can be geographical or mental. Eleven women trained by Mary Pierce Brosmer as teachers in Women Writing for a Change practices are here at the Transfiguration Spirituality Center in Glendale, Ohio. It is a (usually) annual retreat. I missed last year so I was happy to retreat this year.
We begin and end in a large circle, just as we do in classes. In between writing and discussion we eat, are in small groups getting and giving feedback, did I say eat?, and conclude our evenings with wine and laughter. We share stories from our lives, joke, touch on Big Questions. Some of us have known one another for years, decades even. It’s a sisterhood on many levels. We have shared in ways you can when you are intentional on a retreat.
I really just wanted to have this experience documented–until the next retreat, I hope.
I’m hungry, yes, for the quick pasta dinner I’ll be creating soon. But that’s not what I meant. I’m hungry to write, to share my memoir, my spiritual story from the 1970s until now.
Today I discovered a space. I won’t tell you where because I’m territorial. It’s a library branch way out. You’d have to want to get there. This morning was a good one: yoga class, latte, then this special space the librarian told me about when I walked in with my laptop looking for a perfect place. In the two hours I was there, I saw two people, only one of whom said hello (I knew him). It was obvious I’d made a writing appointment or date or whatever you prefer to call it so he kept it short.
I wrote out some fears. That helped. My writing was very Morning Pages although it was early afternoon. The sun was shining through a great window across from me and allowed me to enjoy the snow dripping off the trees. I didn’t write many pages but the act of writing — just for myself, just to see — freed something up. I‘ve got to write this thing for me.
I’ve been AWOL from my blog for a few weeks. I had a head cold for two weeks and realized, finally, that I needed to quit fighting it and allow myself to rest. The first thing I am grateful for is that it was just a cold and not allergies.
The second thing I’m grateful for is that I got to teach two classes this summer. One was an in person class at Women Writing for (a) Change. I taught the Wednesday morning summer class in our building in ‘the heart of Silverton.’ Of the twelve women, six were brand new to WWfaC. What a privilege to turn them on to the processes of this community. The other class was an online class through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Ten women from all over the world gathered six Saturday mornings (EST) and shared fastwrites and readbacks. Amazing! Did I mention? I got paid, too! This summer proved the saying ‘Do what you love and the money will follow.’
I am also grateful for these past few days when we’ve had a glimpse of my favorite season — Fall. I have made excuses to be outside to feel the breezes. Life just feels good! I hope it does for you as well, dear readers!
I took myself for a writing appointment at one of my favorite coffeehouses. Sidewinder’s is located on Hamilton Avenue in Northside. You can sit in the back and make a latte last as long as you need. Since I needed to finish my agenda for the class I teach the next morning, I decided I would put my mind to it and do it away from home.
It worked and was, in fact, pleasurable. Most of the conversation came from the front, from the staff and newcomers. The handful of us in the back room were serious about our writing, studying, or online searching. I found the atmosphere conducive to serious ‘agenda-ing.’
This is what I miss most about not living in Northside — living close to a coffeehouse, running into people I know, the whole urban scene. I owned a home here for fifteen years. When I retired, I moved ten miles up the road to be surrounded by nature but in so doing, am more isolated. Now, to go anywhere, I count on driving a half hour. I’ve gotten used to this and use my time to listen to music, more often than not chants — Krishna Das, Jai Uttal, or Siddha Yoga.
My parking meter is almost up so it’s time to return to my animals and other distractions of home. This afternoon appointment reminds me that I need to do this more often!
Posted in chanting, my writing life, Northside (Cincinnati)
Tagged chants, coffeehouses, Jai Uttal, Krishna Das, Northside (Cincinnati), Siddha Yoga, Sidewinder Cafe, Sidewinder coffeehouse, Sidewinders, writing
It’s hard to believe I have written 100 pieces since I started this blog. I had a blog elsewhere several years ago but bought a house, retired, and sold the old house, making me too busy to tend to a blog properly. This time I’m inspired. Part of it is my challenge of writing a three line poem a day for 108 days. I got this idea from Puerhan via Twitter (see blogroll on the right for his blog). Part of it is being in a writing class regularly at Women Writing for (a) Change. I’ve been a student in Kathy Wade’s Tuesday morning class several quarters now. I am lined up to teach the Wednesday morning summer class. I am also lined up to facilitate an online writing course through Catherine of Siena Virtual College. Even getting onto Twitter for brief 140 character conversations counts. I am definitely attracting writing opportunities into my life!
writing on a regular basis
is one way to keep in touch;
the pen or keyboard acts as a lightning rod.
I don’t remember how long this book has been on my list to read. There is something about the genuine, friendly way Ms. Lamott writes that is so encouraging. You can do it! (write, that is) But you have to . . . well, do it. Don’t get stuck in the forest, describe the scene ‘tree by tree.’ (my metaphor ala ‘bird by bird’).
I am seriously considering taking the fall quarter ‘Master Class’ where you focus on writing a longer work. What would that be, though? I have started — and stopped — my memoir (childhood and dysfunctional family life) and my memoir (spiritual evolution). I have written tons of poetry and I have written impressionistic essays about my trip to India. A certain friend who I started to fall in love with, “S,” [not in wwfac] has her share of magical renderings. I know I have a book in me! If anyone can coax it out of me, it’d be Kathy Wade (teacher of the Master Class).
But what would Anne Lamott say? She would say things like “The development of relationship creates plot.” She would give John Gardner credit for his wisdom: “The writer is creating a dream into which he or she invites the reader, and that dream must be vivid and continuous.” And “Each writer will come up with his or her own description of what love and life are all about.” Isn’t she inspiring? She makes me excited, she reminds me that I have stories to share.
So I just need to do it. Face that blank computer screen. Look inside, write it down. In some big ways, my blog is giving me a reason for be disciplined. I have committed to writing a three line poem every day for 108 days. I just wrote #67 last night. It isn’t that difficult once you set your mind to it. I am hoping that writing a longer piece, a novel, if you will, will capture all my senses and compel me to face the blank screen of my mind, engage my heart, and write as if my story depends upon it. For it does.