15 Days of Writing Prompts, Day 6 ~ Morning

Thanks for joining me again for 15 Days of Writing Prompts from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. Today’s prompt is especially accessible to everyone, give it a try!

“Give me your morning. Breakfast, waking up, walking to the bus stop. Be as specific as possible. Slow down in your mind and go over the details of your morning.”

Oooh this should be a good one, enjoy! ~ ❤ wren

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Day 5: a place of health, ease & rest

There is bright sun. It is morning sun in the summer. I have arrived to the platform just in time. The platform at the nearby nature preserve, the platform that sits in the middle of the wild field. There is a mowed pathway to the wooden platform. The path is full of black eyed susans, lavender bee balm, young poplars, raspberries and, as I make my way, a red tailed hawk soars across the field near the adjoining tree line. I’ve brought my journal, a book, a yoga mat and my hat. I’ve put my sun screen on and I have an extra shirt.

It is very breezy out in the middle of this field above the plants on the platform. The sun shines through the surrounding forest creating the most lovely orange glow. Being in this space allows me to feel easily thankful and I breathe deeply as I do upward & downward dog, bend over and touch my toes and reeeeach! for the sky. I practice yogic breathing exercises and expel all the stagnant air in my body. I remember many things as I do these exercises and I am again amazed at the shifting realities of consciousness – how a change in setting, posture, stretches and deep and slow or shallow and rhythmic breathing can change thoughts, perceptions and feelings- in a term, they can change reality. The air is so fresh and I’m able to deeeeeply take it in after the breathing exercises. I feel renewed, as if I am a new person with new thoughts, a more flexible body, surround and filled by a lightness without and within.

I feel the soft yet hot morning sun glaze over my skin. I adjust my pose so my face isn’t directly in it and I continue breathing and stretching until I lay on my mat for some deep relaxation, to feel how my body has changed after all of the stretches and breathing. As I lay there in silence, the birdsong plays in my ears, along with the rustling of the cottonwood tree’s leaves. The field is a place of much activity and yet, unlike a busy city, it imparts a sense of peace. A playful rejuvenation.  This field is a tonic and I give thanks again that such places exist in the midst of cities and towns, sometimes, as in the case of this one, right off the edge of the highway.

prompt: “Write in different places – for example, in a laundromat, and pick up on the rhythm of the washing machines. Write at bus stops, in cafes. Write what is going on around you.”

 

Day 2: paper mache gorilla hand memories

From 15 Days of Writing Prompts: Day 2 ~ Memories

2. Begin with “I remember.” Write lots of small memories. If you fall into one large memory, write that. Just keep going. Don’t be concerned if the memory happened five seconds ago or five years ago. Everything that isn’t this moment is memory coming alive again as you write. If you get stuck, just repeat the phrase “I remember” again and keep going. (from Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones)

I remember… playing in the San Diego zoo as a kid. I was most amazed by the gorillas. The big silverback gorillas that sat in the grassy hill in the San Diego zoo. We were far away from them and there was a stream beyond the wall that closed us off from the gorillas. But I could see that they were huge, even from afar. This inspired awe in me. They were so big & powerful. In third grade, we had to pick an animal and do a project on it, composed of a poster with information and a “visual”. For my visual I made a life-size paper mache gorilla hand.

Last week I went to that same store that I went to to get the supplies for that project. When I walked in, I immediately felt some of the same feelings that I had felt as my small child self. I tingled in amazement as I saw all of the tools for creating. There were paints & chalks, tons of paper of all sizes to draw on, little nick knacks here and there. It is still the magical place I remember as a child.

Recently I was living in the appalachian mountains. Of course I brought my paints with me. These are acrylic paints that I bought myself last year when I was traveling through Seattle. My friend Christina drove me to the paint store for my birthday. I scoured the isles looking for the perfect medium to start my painting with. Romantically, I was hooked on the oils, as I was attracted to their essence, their history, their smooth colorful finish. The clerk there talked me out of it though. If you want to paint while traveling, he said, you’ll want to use acrylics. This destroyed me a little inside & I argued with him a bit just to make sure his point had validity. You see, I was heading to Peru soon and I wanted to “paint things as I went”- chairs, stones, table legs, signs & billboards, you name it. I have a knack for travel-painting, painting things that exist in their place and that will exist after I leave them. I like to make shapes & designs, splash colors all over the world.

So I bought acrylics, after the advice of the man in that store in Seattle. I painted wood pieces I also bought at the store that day. I painted an anniversary portrait of my friend who drove me to the store that day and her husband. I got a white vest from goodwill and I painted that while I was traveling around the city. I later left it in a bag with other clothes at a church, hoping someone would find it with glee. I didn’t take the paints with me to Peru (we already had so much stuff and we were back packing so I didn’t think an extra 8 lbs would be good!), but I did take them to the recent homesteading experiment in the appalachians.

The memory that sticks out now is painting the wooden blocks we found underneath our shacks. We lived at a homestead that had a ton of wood stashed all over the place. Some under big blue tarps, others underneath the foundation of the barn, the shack, the chicken coop. I took the little pieces that couldn’t be used for much else and that didn’t have mold, fungus or too much wear on them, and started painting. We were living off-the-grid, so, when painting in the evenings, I had to paint by kerosene-lamp light. I painted rainbows in shades of pink. Lines and colors of my choosing. Goddess symbols. And more. I like painting on random pieces of wood and on unusual canvases.

When I squatted at my lovely friend’s backyard in California last year, I made a thing we called the bedwomb. This is one of my favorite memories. I made a teardrop relief out of earthen plaster and painted it with chalks and such. The whole wall. It was an amazing time. From a kid to now, I am still letting my child self make art into the present. Here’s a picture of the womb… a space I love & cherish in my soul:

womb relief

womb at night

in the garden of freely written weeds

thanks for the inspiration, daily post 🙂

“Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.”

good thing i started this this morning in my usual pre-writing warm-up of writing whatever the fuck wants to come out!

Good, she slipped in past the gates. The guards were enamored by her shiny plaits, not even realizing what slips under their gaze. Superficial sally subterfuges willy wonky heart spirals. Tombstone groomstone hello moonstone. Sapphire giraffe fire hello backfire . hello goodbye rye stye eye fly. Hello good morn jello mold uncle horn. Jello mold uncle horn reborn true form hello goodbye 4 3 8 stye one time fly by fire fly fire fly uncle jump yellow trunk hay bale dry spell uncle wren hi then queen lace dread face xylophone instigate yellow jacket I elate relate uncle hay bale dale frail ol mail female red grail holy snail junk pail sex fire 4 trie quail egg remake 7 8 2 1 sally subterfuge has won.

okay okay okay, so the idea i want to write about is actually spoken of in this daily prompt in the words, “the rational mind doesn’t nourish you.”

when i say, slipping past the guards/gates, that is exactly what i’m talking about! i see the gates/guards as…

the rational mind …

the rational mind as a kind of trap, a filter that inhibits us from reaching full heights/depths/potentials of thought/imagination … we’re going places kid and the rational mind can only take you so far.

one time i lived with a famous writer & that’s what she told me … you get to a certain point in the creative process where the mind doesn’t help you at all. at this point, you just have to be washing the dishes or going for a walk in the woods or lighting the peace pipe for ceremony and then

WHAM!

that’s when the “good idea” “better” “best” idea comes forth… the mind can only take you so far … and then there is mystery that moves through us.

 

And isn’t that what all good writers try to do (of course good is a subjective in my own head)? to try to write the spark of life into their words? (you can quote me on that one, dear wordpressers.)

 

From time to time i have written stuff that i look back on and think, wow, that’s actually got merit … maybe i should harvest a bit from that piece. the piece could’ve been hidden for years in the antiquated folders of my computer.. such a post a came upon the other day.

 

i think i wrote it while i was housesitting on a mountain in southern california, in a home where i could see the city of LA from the mountains in the evenings. it sure made me think… here’s an unedited, spur-of-the-moment piece from then 🙂 :

 

You are the artist

We give you space and trinkets and wine

You are the artist, after all,

And you might need it to take the edge off

From all of your midnight wandering up lake ave at night

To reach the mountains and see the city

An indeterminable call that wells up

And froths forth from your mouth

So we’ll take the froth, collect it in little jars

Bottle it and sell it, maybe even around the world

And we’ll feed you wine, you might need I to take the edge off

Tear the edge off the world, to reach center

 

 

 

 

When the world says you are a writer

Write for us and share oh please share as if your life depends on it and so does ours

And so does ours

My gender pronoun of choice is us

What do you adore

 

I cannot live without you garden

 

Oh my god I am sick with your words mary you cut right to the point and present your poems as is you are some dark cryptic grave the shell that breaks open to reveal the lifeseed sprouting

In each of us!

If I can tell you anything tonight through my words

It is that the creative spark is in each of us

Did you hear me

It is not relegated to any one other than you tied up in your very same flesh

You amid the mud and pinnings of culture and ways we do this around here

If I could give you just one glimpse of the nature within

One waft for your glorious sniffer of the scent of freedom

If I could cast a little light on your trail right night

Your trail which is your very own which is your vewy own

How can I say again what cannot be said

Only felt

A  felt sence so I bring attention to it now

I call from the top of the mountains are you listening

Bring your self forth

Bring your self forth

a fresh wind moves in: letting go of the angst

Today as i walked the loop by my parent’s house it was palpably a different experience for me. We moved into this house from a fish-bowl neighborhood, where everyone is competing with each other & can literally see into each other’s homes to know what they’re competing on. One of my friends growing up – her dad was a basketball star on our state’s NBA team & i used to play in the lake, others were my wild soccer team members (lots of stories to share about that!), and others were children with lame mothers who didn’t enjoy it when i would invite their daughters to play in the ice with me- so what if our feet got caught as we tromped around the icy stream beds? we were on an adventure! but i digress..

We moved here and it was spacious & surrounded by farm fields and the occasional farm house (which pretty soon got torn down as little box neighborhoods, as i call them, were popping up in their place). Good bye corn & soybeans, Hello plastic siding & same-looking boxes with same landscaping for people to live in! Everyone gets their little mortgaged square of bland, colorless earth around here. At the time, i was a very active young one – playing sports in every season, hanging out with friends, making out with my boyfriends in the basement. It was a time i look back on as being so outwardly-focused. But sometimes in my room, especially at night, i would feel this hungering ache. I would write poetry to my boyfriends or write in my journal to God. I read Edna St Vincent Millay. I wondered what it would be like to live an artist’s life and i hungered. It was a hungering ache i didn’t understand & it made me feel very very alone & misunderstood. While on the outside, perhaps everyone would’ve said, well, that girl had such a great, well-liked high school situation – and, in so many ways they were right – but there was so much uncharted territory, so much of myself, left unaddressed and, well, neglected. The plastic siding & homogeneity only made it worse.

They tore down the farmhouse i could see from my bedroom window – and the one across the street too, where my sister & i would dare one another to sneak into the old, falling-apart, creaky barn & where i got the then-wild asparagus & transplanted it into the garden. The neighborhood seemed to magnify this ache that i had. The homogeneity was excruciatingly painful. I saw it as a place with no character. Without soul. Filled with slaves disguised as people who take out mortgages & listen to everything the local news says. A place where people live in fear & do not think for themselves.

My inner life was relatively untapped while in high school. My inner learnings were to unleash themselves/i was to open up a few years later as i faced certain struggles like death, injury, desire & ways of life different than the ones i’d known growing up. Since this homogenous neighborhood experience & many seekings of character, art, ingenuity, individuality & ram-shackledness later, i am pleasantly surprised today as i go on an evening walk and feel peace as i look around at the surroundings, the plastic siding, the boxes, the manicured lawns.

Suddenly, my judgment or perspective of the place was not holding me back from enjoying my little moment in nature, my walk on the concrete loop in the subdivision’s flood plane turned into nature trail (i’m sure you’ve seen one of these places – a little forest, prairie, wetland nook in an area unbuildable for homes within a subdivision). The prevalence of non-native, “invasive” species didn’t bother me. The cotton woods were beautiful, as were the red-breasted black birds and the shrubby legumes were so prevalent & taking back that landscape, fixing nitrogen into it, so well! The sky had just rained & big grey billowing clouds were still turning above me. I felt like a witch as i harmonized with my surroundings, taking step by step, recollecting & embodying the walking meditation i had taken part in the week before at the prison meditation. Perhaps it was seeing some of the horrible natural devastation in Peru just a few months prior that gave me this perspective. The clear-cutting of the amazingly diverse amazonian rainforests into vast deserted land. The pollution near rivers & in cities. Perhaps it was this perspective which more easily allowed me to “let-go” of my previous hold on hating & judging & disdaining this young adult habitat of mine. Perhaps there’s something in this week’s astrology (I think so), which eased this transition for me. Or perhaps, this wound has finally dislodged in a deeper way within me & i have found peace here from within my earlier surroundings which beckoned so much pain, angst & aching. So many questions. So many existential crises.

And today on the walk, they felt transcendentally resolved. I felt finished with them. I was there, in this same place i have been so many times before, in so many moods and i felt … peace. simply put … peace. And that release brought happiness and gratitude.

creativity-on-the-go; creative inspiration

creativity-on-the-go; creative inspiration

i got this cute white vest jacket from the bins at a good-will outlet. that place is awesome (they’re all over- find the one near you!) and offers clothing-by-the-pound- I think it’s under $3… so, Ini and I were traveling down the coast from BC, hitchiking, stopping at friend’s, I had to get medical care, etc. Our destination was LA- to fly out of- to get to Peru. but we had a lot of fun and did creative things along the way. For example, this jacket. I got this jacket at the good will and painted this passion-flower on the back. i bought the jacket knowing I would want to paint Something on it! and as I was walking my bike through the Ballard Locks in Seattle, I spotted this Gorgeous passion flower!! I wore the jacket a few times on the trip and then in a town in Northern California, Ini and I left a bag of clothing, including this vest in a bag in front of a church. I hope someone enjoys this creative gift! I love leaving gifts places, what about you? Have you tried leaving secret gifts for people to find?

back-to-the-land history, west virginia

Exerpt from: How native West Virginians took in hippies, and passed on their art 

 

Around the same time, Seaton said, the second issue of a magazine called Mother Earth News carried an article about a man who said he paid $29 an acre for land in Lincoln County.

“Well that’s all it took,” she said. “It’s beautiful, it’s remote and it’s cheap. What else could you want?”

Seaton said the young pioneers rejuvenated West Virginia’s crafts, which had survived extinctions that killed other states’ traditions. The Industrial Revolution’s manufactured goods destroyed crafts in most of the country, she said.

“But in West Virginia, and in Appalachia, the guy with the wagon couldn’t get up those hollers,” Seaton said. She said that preservation of crafts was good for West Virginia but made residents appear backward. In the early 1900s, settlement schools sprung up to teach crafts in a way that would appeal to the outer world. But the Great Depression killed these schools.

Later the back-to-the-landers arrived and took up the artistic heritage. Since they were from outside West Virginia, they were more willing to innovate their art and travel outside the state to sell. Seaton added that the government of West Virginia, more than governments in other states, supported crafts as a way to draw tourists.

Seaton said the “hippie homesteaders” helped establish and continue to be an overwhelming part of Tamarack, a state craft show, and the public radio music program “Mountain Stage.” She suggested their story is the reverse of the usual tale of a native West Virginia leaving to find notoriety.

“These people came here; they were willing to live the West Virginia lifestyle, and a hardscrabble one at that, and they still became successful,” she said.