Sunday, October 22, 2017

Steering for Joy: The Ship’s Wheel, Marriage, and Writing

An omen hunter and rapture reveler for life, I had to share this metaphor thread with you. This is a photo I took in early October on mini-retreat with a group of my larger-than-life writing loves (we met for four scant days to fill our hearts, and to read from Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy after 50). Running away to play with these writers keeps me sane and helps me see my world in a way in which I can thrive. I love that in this photo the mirror sits framed inside of a ship’s wheel, that I’m finally in a place in my life where I feel I can think about putting myself at the center of the steering wheel of my joy again.

Remember this post and image from September September 2, 2011: Why Every Wife Could Use Her Own Hmong Tribe (and a Thundershirt)The mirror in my room, the room of my first AROHO retreat (where I very first met the very women I met this October to write with) spoke to me of the yin-yang stress of feeling forgotten and invisible in my marriage due to a convergence of high-energy factors, including a joyful one: a wedding, and an incredibly stressful one: loss of twenty-three lives overseas, and a confusing one: trying to make sense of the impact of two-city living on my marriage.

Remember this post and image from September 14, 2013: Emerging From the Cocoon: Sisters Real and Imagined? I had the same room, two years later on AROHO summer writing retreat, and this time instead of division, I captured in the mirror an open door. Our family was living under the same roof, no longer split between two cities. And I was on the verge of seeing my first poetry book, November Butterflytake form thanks to Saddle Road Press, learning to trust my writing process and myself again, again in large part due to trusting that in order to heal and grow, I had to be willing to risk letting my family take care of themselves while I took care of my inner calling. My extended writing support network helped me believe over and over again that I needed to take time for my work.

Fast forward to fours years later, and I’m happy to be moving into the full spectrum of color again and waking up in so many ways and writing, always writing, to clear the debris of the past to be more fully awake now. I’m grateful to have a practice of writing, companions of heart, readers who care, and this blog, like a steady, familiar friend, where I’ve been able to quietly write, post, reflect, and converse with the listening hearts Feral Mom, Feral Writer has so steadily brought into my orbit.

Zoetic Press Write Like Your Alive 2017: Free Fall Poetry

Zoetic Press challenged writers during the month of August to see if we could turn in work every day for 31 days, otherwise known as the Write Like You're Alive Challenge. Many of us came close, and thanks to Lise Quintana and the Zoetic Press staff,  you can download a PDF of the WLYA anthology of selected works created during the challenge. 

The download is free; I have a poem titled, “Grand Canyon” and below you’ll find a word cloud, a word or phrase per entry, just to get your curiousity going.  I found particularly moving the works that focused on looking at various forms of mental duress—one in particular is a short story, "Out of true," by academic surgeon David Hoenig, written from the point of view of a narrator trying to keep his schizophrenia in check so he can love the woman he loves. So poignant. Here’s the world cloud from the collection as a whole:

stepford composure             marginalia      opposing moons  
custody           experiment    Mimosa           future            civil rights      

bourbon        cad

fiction gal       lifeline                        papillae                                  

target              pita dough     return-to-sender

rumpled suede of your voice           broom             fissure                        


green shoes   God     hotline            forbidden magic                    

coyote             dragonfly       Grand Canyon           coffee              

wooden teeth                       

Adam and Eve

marimba        scribe  quarantine     bullseye

Friday, October 6, 2017

Love and Spirituality: Trusting Your Inner Compass

Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty

What does a love life look like for women after fifty? Lover or no? Online dating or no? Love of friends eclipsing lover love? You’ll find fifty-three views in a new anthology, "Unmasked: Women Write About Sex and Intimacy After Fifty." I’m honored to be included, writing that I first posted here on Feral Mom, “Sex, Hammers and Self-Care in a House with Three Children.” 

Editor Marcia Meier will give a brief introduction, followed by those of us reading from the book: readers Lisa Rizzo, Barbara Rockman, Renate Golden, and yours truly. 

Editor Marcia Meier answers a few questions about Unmasked over on the SDWI blog.

Come out if you can tomorrow night (Saturday, October 7th) to San Diego Writers, Ink over at Liberty Station 5-7 p.m. for the reading and signing and refreshments.

Trusting your Healer’s Compass: Amazon Wisdom Keeper Van Tuyl

As I keep working slow and steady on writing prose about an Illinois commune I lived on as a child, I’m reading memoirs voraciously—for inspiration, for strength, for joy. I met Loraine Van Tuyl on-line last year and fell in love with her forthcoming memoir, “Amazon Wisdom Keeper: A Psychologist’s Memoir of Spiritual Awakening,” which comes out at the end of this month with She Writes Press.

In “Amazon Wisdom Keeper,” Loraine anchors us in the physical landscape of her native Suriname, the fertile green and heat a backdrop for her childhood experiences and family lineage of teachings (a quality of light and heat that prepares Loraine for later trials when her deepest visions are questioned). To escape the turmoil of the changing political power-scape in Suriname, Loraine’s family moves to the United States where adolescence’s lessons arrive through Western belief systems. Intuition’s early lessons came through love, and later, through college psychology classes with their fixed ways of approaching healing as well as spiritual groups with rigid understandings of the ways to access healing power.

The gift of Amazon Wisdom Keeper is the intimate look at the very push and pull of different ways of believing and healing and what it takes to undergo rejection and somehow find the strength to trust one’s internal compass to navigate life, to know when to stay, when to let go, when to change mentors or groups. Van Tuyl reminds us that in our deepest moments of personal and spiritual rejection lie the seeds for self–love. We learn that by confronting our obstacles and trusting the process, we have the potential to awaken beautiful parts of ourselves otherwise left untested and dormant. Thank you so much Loraine, for your beautiful book. For more information, here is a link to a short video about Amazon Wisdom Keeper and a link to Loraine's page on Goodreads.

Keep your eye out for an interview with Loraine later this month--I will post the link here when it is live. 

**October 19 update: Here is the link to the interview: Amazon Wisdom Keeper and Spiritual Awakening.