Moments

March 9, 2020 § 6 Comments

La Push, WA., March 4th, 2020.

It’s the early morning of my birthday and I’m sitting here in our camper, tremendous waves pummeling shore thinking about our beautiful earth and what if we don’t come together because we’re too weary too separate and now the corona virus and where is the point when the sky ends and the ocean begins, and maybe I write because I can’t face death.

Yesterday, I saw an eagle carrying a tiny creature so limp so still in his talons and where is the point where destruction returns to transformation.

There is something about this place where Raven is the main character where wind spirals and I could social distance here forever in this expanse of water and sky and the deeper yes of rock everything oriented toward ocean

except the internet is spotty which wouldn’t be a problem except that I like to talk to my boys on my birthday, and there’s only one place here with good reception, in a tiny room by the main office but it’s usually filled with kids not used to being without internet, which makes me think about how I’m part of the last generation who had an entire childhood without social media, I mean, can you even imagine and how ironic that with all our relentless curating of selves we might actually be losing selves

and another thing I will remember about this year is it’s the year I dreamt the tsunami dream and how I was smashed by a massive wall of water and swam way down under the wave and wasn’t afraid I was ecstatic because I could breathe under water and I kept saying go with it don’t fight it go with it don’t fight it and it was the most present I’ve ever felt with myself except when I was very young

and after a long time I crawled up onto shore and found a house full of everyone I loved except only one person saw me, an old woman holding a baby and she said Anna right now you’re a ghost and only other ghosts will see you

and what did this mean, was I in the past or present or future tense and where is the point between erotic gaze and erasure, and none of this has happened suddenly which makes it less alarming and I seem to be forever in liminal space anyway but I’m leaning towards believing it’s a new self emerging in this sixth decade of life

and there’s something terribly rebellious and sacred and more interesting in the ambiguities so happy birthday to me and let’s take good care of each other and remember to always wash our own hands before touching others.

let us soften

September 22, 2016 § 1 Comment

Fear, anger and uncertainty are escalating, and lately, I find myself caught between extremes of being scared shitless, profoundly sad, and trying to hold onto enough courage to stay present, listen, and take action.

But this I am certain of:

Abusers and misogynists and bigots count on our silence. They count on our fear. In our silence and fear lies their opening for greater intimidation and exploitation.

PLEASE do not allow yourself to be silenced. We have struggled to claim our voices and no one has the right to shame us for having found them. In telling our stories and claiming our voices we’ve had an epic impact in claiming equal rights and will continue to do so until equality holds all our names. Please let us not become divided against ourselves and retaliate with assumptions, combative words and aggressive actions. Please let us go out of our way to help each other and convince each other we are resilient and extraordinary. Please let us stay the course, however uncertain, and raise each other up with gentleness, sensitivity, and love.

PLEASE let us soften, and trust our fundamental goodness.

 

 

 

 

 

This Is Who We Are

June 13, 2016 § 8 Comments

who we are

(in response to the mass shooting in Orlando, Sunday morning, June 12th, 2016)

This is who we are:

WE are thousands lined up to give our blood to the wounded.

WE are first responders, grief counselors, doctors, nurses and friends who carried dying friends and lovers out of a bloody nightclub.

WE are millions of human beings who cried and screamed and raged and hugged and spoke up yesterday as if we’d lost our own children, friends and lovers.

We are millions who love our LGBTQ sons and daughters and friends and lovers fiercely and don’t you dare hurt them again.

WE are the president who declares WE WILL STAND TOGETHER IN SOLIDARITY, NO MATTER RACE, GENDER, RELIGION OR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

WE are millions who are profoundly sorry we didn’t’ wake up sooner, who are only now recognizing the sleep in our privilege, the blood on our own hands.

We are millions signing petitions, calling legislators, voting, protesting, writing, painting, filming, creating, and speaking up to stop the bleeding.

WE are millions who won’t stop loving each other hard, until everyone is safe and sound.

We are survivors desperately trying to find a language that might somehow bring us all a little closer together.

THIS IS WHO WE ARE.     -anna

trust your writing

March 30, 2016 § 2 Comments

girl writing

 

trust your writing.

 

even if you don’t want to go there

even if you don’t know where the beginning is

or the middle or the end

 

even if it’s hard

because there will be days

when it’s fucking hard

 

that thing you want to censor?

don’t

 

that’s where your art lives

 

writing is a a powerful thing

allow it to take you somewhere

allow it to care for you

 

trust your writing.

 

September 25, 2015 § 5 Comments

red pencil

 

dear sweet writer who recently dipped your pen back into the word waters and joined a writing group—i know you were nervous because it was your first writing group ever…i know you were worried about your grammar and that your 8th grade English teacher with her BIG FAT RED pen still loomed large on your shoulder, ready to stab your incorrect use of “its” (gasp!) and your overuse of adverbs (double gasp!)—her relentless scrutiny feeding your self-doubt—but let me tell you,

we are not her.

we heard the shooting stars in your story, we felt the sentences that sang a new perspective, we witnessed what mattered to you and we thank you for taking the chance with us. we’ll read your stories as clean or dirty as you bring them to us… and when you are ready, (and there’s no rush) we can help you refine them too…but only you can tell your story and you did it today, beautifully.

 

 

Naked

July 21, 2015 § 22 Comments

pupae

When I first laid bare my personal writing in workshops, I puked before and after each meeting. I’m not talking about exposing my nature poems or opinions on the current state of education—I’m talking about writing with a truth stake driven through its heart.

I puked before the meeting, because I had no idea how the other writers would respond, no idea if they’d appreciate, reject, ridicule or judge. I puked afterward, (even if the critique was good, maybe even more so) because in some weird way, I felt I’d betrayed self, stopped protecting self—I’d allowed the dangerous, naive part of me to dance naked in the streets, arms open, face lit with desire and possibility—I’d unlocked the door of the safe house, knowing she’d run out, knowing she’d get hurt.

And when I signed with an agent to sell my novel?—the story of disrupted identity and power imbalances that might cause people to speculate about who the main character really was, I puked for three days straight.

My therapist told me puking was to be expected. Apparently, I was tearing apart some pretty hard-ass wiring. Apparently, it wasn’t the dangerous, naive part of me dancing naked, it was inner warrior woman, and like pupae ripping from industrial strength thread and bursting through membrane, discomfort was inescapable.

“You’re creating a new person,” he’d say. “You’re acting as if you are worthy. That’s no small thing.” He’d pass me Kleenex, shake his head and say things like, “The dangerous part of you isn’t naked woman or warrior woman. The dangerous part of you is underground veiled woman.”

Okay, then.

He encouraged me to continue putting my voice out there—to say what I felt like saying, in the way I felt like saying it. To consider vulnerability as strength. To trust more. To say “fuck it” to anyone who thrived on tearing down, rather than firing up. To tell myself, “Your voice is beautiful.”

And so. With each new page of writing I exposed for review in groups, with each essay and social media post I didn’t delete, each time I said, “Fuck it,” and “Your voice is beautiful,” I felt less susceptible to harm. I began to taste, feel and smell the intoxication of a sturdier more resilient infrastructure. And as corny as it sounds, I felt different, in a sacred kind of way.

There are still plenty of days I worry about what people think, and my sentences crumple to dust and blow away before I can grab them and hide them under the bed. And there are nights I fail to believe I’m more than a story, rating or ‘like’, and lay awake in a hot sweat, cheeks wet with doubt and shame.

And yet!

I will never again underestimate the power of saying fuck it and your words are beautiful—because it feels like something wrong is slowly being righted.

 

 

 

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