Thursday, March 31, 2005

Raw Emeralds...





“I saw him, like a Titan, with all the grace & faults, all the achievements, with great love, fullness.” His heart as large as the world. I feel love for us radiating from him. In his final moment he is a powerful force of goodness. He is full and vibrant with energy. “Then he shrank back into a distance; I saw him in death; and then he was gone.”

That is the vision I received when I prayed that if I might not be with him when he died, that it occur when I was in a state of meditation. Immediately upon opening my eyes the hospital called to say that my father had passed away. I drove to the hospital, parked illegally, arrived within 10 minutes of his death. He was emaciated, shrunken, like a starvation victim, and looked 30 years older than he was. “I went to the hospital. He is gone. In peace and with dignity. He is gone. My father is no longer alive. I felt at peace, too. His body---but the spirit is gone, and the moment of separation remains on his face. Will, pain, struggle, surrender, beauty, peace. And mystery. Love.”

I wrote in my journal, "My father died this afternoon, peacefully, with dignity." May 25, 1984. And today, "Theresa Marie Schiavo died, peacefully, with dignity." March 31, 2005.

The one brings back memories of the other.

It took two days for him to die. Days of numb unreality. Days in which I do not sleep; in which I drink wine to deaden myself, to cope. He died of blood poisoning, unable to expel the poisonous gases from his lungs. He died earlier, maybe 6 months earlier, but he was resuscitated in Intensive Care, where he was hooked up to a machine which breathed for him through a tube into his trachea, a machine that measured lung pressure, a heart monitor, a tube into his stomach that fed him, tubes for urine and feces collected in discreet bags, and numerous intravenous lines going into his bruised arms carrying saline, a pharmacopia of drugs, and morphine.

He was fully conscious in this hospital bed, in this place where he was tied down like Gulliver by multiple ropes. For 6 months I lip read or he wrote notes. He agreed that it was a worse experience than being a prisoner of war in North Africa, Italy, and then Poland. He fought valiantly to regain use of his emphysema-weakened lungs after the pneumonia that he caught in hospital had stopped him from breathing. In the first month in ICU he was winning. But bodies are not meant to be kept still. A blood clot moved from his leg into his lungs and a life of any independence from machines became unrecoverable.


He went through all the stages of death that Kubler Ross wrote of. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance.

One day he decided he was ready to die. It was Spring, there was a profound bliss about him; he was at peace with his final decision. The hospital called in lawyers, all the affidavits were in order. He said his goodbyes to us, refusing to let us stay and be with him as he died, asking that we go home.

Perhaps I understand that wish, perhaps I never will fully comprehend.

All the tubes were removed, save for a morphine drip. We were on a death watch while he valiantly faced his own death, consciously, his eyes were open, with such bravery it makes me weep to think of.

Beside his hospital bed he kept a rock with raw emeralds in it. This is the poem I wrote 20 years ago for him…


Earthtreasures

Earth treasures you mined
The mountains that spoke to you
Call.
Your ashes become rock and sand
Tumble with the springs.

Clear as that global sky
Purified by pain,
Your consciousness
Draws inwards
To our unconscious.

This moment
Separating from the world,
From your beloved family
Moving towards peace,
And something I must accept

Your death lives
Disintegrating, integrating

Raw emeralds emerge in the rock.

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Stone of raw emeralds that belonged to my father - photo today ©2005
For my father, D. Richard Clews, 1922-1984, and Theresa Marie Schiavo, 1964-2005, and all others who have struggled with the miracles of modern medicine and life and death in this way...
________________________
Postcript: Terri, her tragic story, her death, pulled deep recollection out of me, and I opened a journal from 1984 today that I have not touched in 21 years...nearly tore me apart, opening that book, those memories, and I didn't think I could, but I managed it. Thank you ... xo

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

What is truth...

Click here to listen to an MP3 of this post -:)

What is truth...

Truth is all in our perceptions. NickyJett has a wonderful post on this today. I also recommend ydurp, lionne, and Literature_Chick who have been posting on the topic of how our perceptions shape our reality. If that's not enough reading, there are the rich and varied comments at my earlier post on thoughts.

It is a truism to say that all we have is a perception of truth, nothing else. Whatever we see of the 'truth' is only a version of the truth among other versions. Now it's not that that version is untruthful because it is only a version, it's just not the whole truth and nothing but the truth. We will get caught shortly in a semantic net. Can't you see it coming?


If there is no ultimate truth but only verions of truth via our perceptions of a situation, a happening, an event, a person, a feeling, an insight how does a court of law operate?

Maybe something leans towards real 'truth' when more people agree that it happened a certain way?

But the mob doesn't rule either. Just because masses of people believe it, it doesn't mean it's true. The stark example that comes immediately to mind is how many people panicked in 1938 believing Martians were landing during the broadcast of George Orwell's War of the Worlds. Or the ideologies of Hitler's Germany. Or that the war in Iraq is justified because George W. Bush won the American election. The list is endless.

One could say that truth, legally or politically or historically, is merely an agreement among varying and sometimes contradictory perceptions.

Moving from the societal to the personal, I agree that perception is all you have, and based my unfinished novella on this premise. In it I am creating a portrait of a man I knew and loved that could only be unique to my perceptions and not like any other portrayal, and so played with versions of "truth" in their emotional complexity.

But as complex as the layers of truth that aren't true in an absolutist sense but are only vantages, or perceptions, that I've mentioned in this post, are, I also believe the world contains indissoluble truth.

The 'world' I am imagining is not just a place we inhabit but out of which we arose as conscious beings, as the consciousness of nature or the universe conscious of itself, its own beauty, its own pain, its own existential paradoxes.

As I write this, the image of 'what is true' that comes to mind is perhaps closest to Taoism. And of epiphanic moments in our lives. A flow of truth through all things, pooling like clear light, clear lenses, in moments of profound lucidity. When we feel and understand truth, I suspect, is a mystical vision of wholeness that leaves us forever changed and affirmed.

In the midst of this musing, then, I come to rest on the incandescent moment, its ephermerality as ultimate truth.

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"Sketch for Self Portraits," coloured pencil on paper, 17"x13 1/2", 1997

Monday, March 28, 2005

A thought from today...

Experiment #1: a thought from today...

The image “http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/teenbrain/art/brain.jpg” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.The brain is a standing wave. What does that mean? When my mind feels like it's turned to deep oceanic water? I can't feel my brain. It is I who is doing the thinking. I am an electrical impulse. I am chemicals pouring from one cell to another. Who am I? Am I the memories that compose me? Am I my mannerisms? My gesture in the world? Is my voice me, its particular cadence? Or is it the way my body moves, even if I am unaware of exactly how it is that I do this? I am moving bones. How is that possible? How do I understand, after half a century of living, how this energy bundle called me is me? Being a person is often so strange that I don't understand it at all. I haven't any answers, nor do I seek answers. The point is that being a 'sentient being' is the strangest experience surely of all; we're aware of ourselves in ways that other members of the geosphere don't seem to be. Or perhaps all living creatures are aware, they just don't go around muttering about it...

And yet, each moment I create this reality that I am living by living it, or it creates me.

As I plunge through the waters of my being, the days follow the nights, I never know how I wake or sleep or love or what propels me.

Many years ago someone said when I remarked how we, everything, arose out of a point of singularity, out of the 'big bang,' not to go there, not to think too hard about it...

But why not? I don't for one moment doubt that each of us contains the secrets of the universe and knows absolutely everything there is to know.

Image source

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Green leafy mirror series...

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I have to run out shopping, can't write, but I took these just now...it was fun to post a dusty mirror image and now a green leafy series, maybe more or maybe no more on mirrors later....

Later:

Think I will write more, but have to go eat something, anything soon - haven't had an actual meal in 3 days. Not sure why I would take these photos and then paste them together and put them in my blog. Was it because I deliberately posted a wan and tired and dusty photo and how often does a woman do that? Perhaps it was to offer a daylight image in a clear mirror. Or was it only a way of speaking to myself? The oddest thing was that I actually took a photograph of myself seated on the edge of my bed and naked in a mirror a few months ago and had never done anything like when when I was young and beautiful but modest. Then I photoshopped it so you can't even tell the woman has bare breasts. Maybe I'll come back from the kitchen and write a meditation on the body... who knows.

Or I'll just snip this out of here. Ohhh, aren't private posts great?!

Later:

After my daughter and I spent a delightful hour over dinner, being silly & laughing, which is a nice change from the tempests we've been having all week, I did snip it, but then realized I was doing it again, hiding. So snipped it back in.

The perception of the self is indeed a strange and wondrous thing. When we look into mirrors are we Narcissus?

Like most people, I barely look in mirrors. To part my wet hair after a shower, brush my teeth, put on some tinted moisurizer, a little eyeshadow that I didn't wear until I turned 52 (is that possible?). Sometimes I look in the mirror to snarl at myself. Mostly it's to see what is probably the most unfamiliar face of all...to this day, I find what I 'see' in the mirror and 'me' inside what I 'see' looking at 'me' very Alice in Wonderland, very curious indeed. Maybe I missed the "mirror stage" in my early development, because that creature looking back at me isn't me, and if I stare long enough she turns into a crone or sometimes a ghostly man or sometimes the face goes blank and there aren't any features at all. Who hasn't stared without blinking at themselves in the mirror until their face contorted and did strange optical things...

You know, I started a blog so I could write, and then I wanted to stop writing, and why is this, is it because I like it too much? And so today I've given myself full permission to write, and I felt so happy!

That's the woman in the mirror. No restraining orders. No pulling back from things I enjoy or people I really like because it gets scary, all that liking gets scary and I think I'll live with the trepidation for awhile. I might get to like the liking if I let myself like it.

This is a new resolution. Be forewarned, you can expect to be hearing from me (though image #3 looks a bit sensitive, withdrawing...).

Does anyone else tangle with parts of themselves?

Resolve: Go with green leafy plants bring bounty.

The dust wiped off,
the mirror washed,
the reflection cleared.

xo hugs xo

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Free Sites I Recommend

In my right module I now have listed
these sites and will update any new
ones I use regularly.

Free Sites I recommend:
*Creative Commons: A nonprofit that
offers flexible copyright for creative work
~audio & video hosting here
*NVU: An open source website builder
*Audacity: Audio recorder/editor
*ImageShack: Hosting your photographs
*Tripod: Create a free website easily

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Friday, March 25, 2005

Looking into a mirror...

This meditation in response to a "creative writing challenge" on looking into a mirror, not the most flattering of the series of photos that I took, tired, late at night...


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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

But is it art?...

MOBA: But is it art?

Hilarious! And I've only been through 4 or 5 of the portraits. My sides are aching from laughing so hard. When I've had a rest, I'll go back and view more. I'll be back later to "comment" or maybe not!!! Bwahahaha, oh my, oh my....

I'd like to credit Heartfield for posting a link to this site.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

10 Are Dead in Minnesota After Rampage at School Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

What pain and anger can cause a child not just to fantasize darkly in desperate moments but to kill others on a calculated rampage? His grandparents. His fellow students. Himself. Perhaps revenge on a world of defeated dreams that never understood his depths of despair or the danger of his anger? The funerary dirge is of inconsolable loss, bewilderment at those who compose the school system who didn't see this dark and bloody volcano brewing, anger at the teen himself, for pelting his fury in deathly bullets extinguishing many lives in his wake, anger at our culture of anger, its endless portrayals of violent death on the news or movie screens, and sorrow, sorrow for the loss of so many young people, for the lives that they will never have.


In our culture of violence, with its readily available guns, what we most need to fear is ourselves, our neighbours, the breakdown of a fellow citizen who lives out the celluloid glory of infamy with terrifying impunity---such bullets tear through the reality of our lives.


My deepest condolences to all those of the Red Lake Indian Reservation who have lost loved ones in this tragedy.

Monday, March 21, 2005


HAPPY SPRING RAINBOW DAY!


I saw a rainbow today! And I came home and spoke for a good 5 minutes about it, recording, and you can go listen here:

Spring Rainbow: March 20/05, 5 min

It's an experiment in blathering on without writing first (ho hum de dum)! No poem, not yet....


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"The Vision of Ezekiel," German, early 16th Century, Woodcut

Friday, March 18, 2005

One of my birth paintings...

SaucyVox.com

Go check this out. It's an on-line magazine published by the one and only, inimitable, brilliant, sensual and talented Feith:

SaucyVox has featured one of my birth paintings, Lace of Light (24"x37", watercolour on paper, 1987), on the cover of the current issue.

Now that I have procured a domain name, I shall be posting the entire series of Birth Paintings (1986-89) with writing to go with them as part of my book on the maternal body. I just need to watermark them, and then embark on the process of writing a first draft in my blog. So, that's coming....

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Thursday, March 17, 2005

On the life of a temp worker...

I've only taken 2 data entry jobs out of desperation ever. And I have discovered I go a little crazy doing them, and so will not accept anymore assignments like this again.

One was for the Real Estate Board, and they treated the team of us wonderfully with fresh coffee and a large tray of breakfast goodies every day, and an insistence on regular breaks, and they chatted with us at lunch, etc. It was a humanizing experience.

The company I left yesterday was the exact opposite.

While the women who I was helping were great, our 'supervisor' left much to be desired. She ordered us not to talk to each other when another temp was telling me that the bus she had been on the previous evening caught fire. She later took us into a private room and said we were not allowed to come in or leave even 5 minutes late or early, that we were being watched. When I finished a huge proof-reading/data entry job, the one I was 'hired' to do, and I did my portion in about a third of the time of everybody else's, and spot-checking my entries I didn't find a single mistake in my work, I went to the 'supervisor' and asked if I could leave. She said no, that the woman who I was helping still needed me. Then my temp agency found a receptionist/babysitting job at UBC for a day and a half, terrible pay, but an escape. I was told I couldn't leave, however.

Now I'm not a very good 'worker bee.' And I don't take kindly to being trapped. I began complaining to the folks sitting next to me about the "slave trade" of temp workers, how temp companies are like "pimps," how much money they make off us and how little they pay us, and the like, and whoever the 'mole' was, they ran upstairs and got the 'supervisor' who marched over to my desk and said, "You can leave now," and watched me pack up like she thought I would steal something, and when I asked why, she said, "You have a bad attitude." I could hardly stop smiling.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhen am I going to write that article on temp jobs and the need for government regulation in this industry? I have discovered many of the companies that regularly use temps actually have a 'supervisor' who could be classified as an "authoritarian" personality and who takes pleasure in demeaning the women they have hired for "service." These 'supervisors' are also wasting huge amounts of their company's money with these hiring practices. But how else are they to dominate and humiliate workers without getting sued, fired or blacklisted?

Do I make it sound somewhat extreme? It isn't, believe me.

Why am I in this line of work in the first place? That's a long story. But one of my problems is that I get bored very quickly with monotonous work, and hence the variety of temp jobs suits me. I've worked all over Vancouver since I began this last September. The work I'm given, however, barely touches my skills, talents, education, ablilites, and I'm now looking at Government contract jobs that involve writing and web design, but how to break into that field?

Anyway, I must write an article on the life of the temp worker, though don't want to go about interviewing people (for obvious reasons), and wonder if I can write something very subjective - a first person account, an insider account - and sell it to a national newspaper? My main aim would be to shed light on this area of labour, and cause enough of an uproar to ultimately bring in government regulations so that people who are temping at least get a half decent cut of the salary paid for work that they do. Any thoughts anyone?

Monday, March 14, 2005

Earth Treasures


A Found Poem from Page 17 of Luminous Emptiness


Earth Treasures:
texts
sacred images
ritual instruments
medicinal substances

Treasures to be found in temples, monuments, statues, mountains, rocks, trees, lakes, even the sky.

Of the texts, occasionally they were full length, but usually fragmentary --- a word or two encoded in symbolic script which may change mysteriously once it has been transcribed.


The treasures hidden in the world are triggers to reach subtle levels of mind. When a treaure is found and reveals its essence, it unlocks understanding, or the natural energies of enlightenmnet that compose the mind, where the teachings have always been concealed.

____________________________ Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Aren't artists revealers of the treasures?














Francesca Fremantle,
Luminous Emptiness (Shambhala, 2001). This story is about Padmasambhava who sought to preserve esoteric Tibetan Buddhist teachings for a safer time and so concealed them in the landscape, but perhaps we don't need an intercessory, surely the natural beauty and mystery of the world is treasure enough.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

A wish...

The job, any job, holds itself as a tension in my life around which everything else has to revolve, perhaps that's why I do temp work, inbetween there is no job to worry about, and I can, if I am able to withstand the stress of financial worry, something that I am becoming better at, though it's taken years, focus on my own work again...

On another note, I've been in too many offices to mention, let alone recall, and have some ideas about how to architecturally design the workplace so that it facilitates the needs of the people who work there, how to humanize the workplace...

So I need an architect to work with, a business plan...

Will I get this wish?

Monday, March 07, 2005

A Spring Riot...

(An MP3 recording of this post may be found at: A Spring Riot...March 7, 2005.)

It's my birthday - & I'm wishing you the best day and year ever! I know it's not Spring where many of you live, so I'm sending you all the great, exuberant, fertile, creative energy of Spring! Hugs!!

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A Spring Riot, or a walk with my dog past the flowers down to the lake today...

The blossoming crocuses, vivid purples and white to draw the admiration of bees who come humming, colour so pure it dances in my eyes, and marigold-colored stamens reaching up inside the cups of petals; the wisteria, a spray of yellow falling over the hedge, a dowry veil sewn with sun collected stitches---and perhaps the point of this photograph is the rock face with the hole that the tiny garden snail climbs out of, from the dark into the light, its yellow twirls and black dotted shell exposed on the white fieldstone, or maybe it's down at the lake where the Mallard duck, iridescent green of the male's plumes sleek against his yellow beak, who contentedly floats, sleeping or diving for fish, when he's not chasing to mate a duck who looks soft and fluffy and coos in that particular way...oh, it's a spring riot.


(An album of 5 photographs, not laid out linearly, but superimposed, perhaps a little clumsily, yet more the way I remember the walk---the colour of the flowers, such artistry, and the floating gathering of ducks in their watery home...and that snail, who perhaps thinks it's hidden!)

Sunday, March 06, 2005

On the job woes...

I thought I had found the perfect job: reception at a small construction and design firm, 24 hrs a week, and I could choose the hours, through an agency, so a temp employee for 3 months, and then on permanent staff with an accompanying raise in hourly rate. It all looked good. Nice people. Quiet location. Typical office work, sorting years worth of papers into files, updating addresses, Xeroxing, dealing with couriers, that sort of thing. Mostly mindless jo-job work that didn’t require thought only thoroughness and care. Leaving me free to explore the ideas ranging through my mind, free to consider what to write next, to think about my art, my kids, my life...

So I picked afternoons. I would go in from noon to 5 every day, except Friday, when it would be for 4 hours. Everyone seemed amenable.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usBut it was in an industrial area that is not serviced by buses except at rush hour. I hadn’t figured on the difficulty of getting there mid day into my plan. That hour and ten minute trip became more difficult as the weeks wore on. I got sick, too. There was the stress of catching a bus to get me to another bus that only ran every half hour; miss that bus on Marine Way and then I’m late getting into work.

So I went early every day and sat at what has to be the world’s worst bus stop. Oh, covered, yes, at least that, but not much use on rainy days when the splash coming from the trucks' enormous tires was worse than anything falling from the sky. And polluted and smelly. Huge trucks rumbling by without emission controls. And cold. I don’t know why that spot at Victoria and Marine Way is so cold, but it is. Sunless too. When I had bronchitis I could barely breath there; I would stand on the other side of the bus shelter, away from the fumes, trying to ingest whatever oxygen the hills of shrubs and trees were emitting. After the 5 minute bus ride, there was the 2.5 kilometer walk, down roads with more huge trucks careening, across that artery of pollution, Marine Way, again, where I sometimes feared for my life, literally-- those huge trucks and their crazy drivers crashing through the red pedestrian traffic light. Continuing on through a back road leading into the lot of a warehouse where boxcars were often stationed, being loaded or unloaded, and men looking at me in ways that didn't make me feel safe, especially with the private railroad land and thick bushes behind. And no matter how fast I walked, I was always 5 minutes late for work, something one of my bosses duly noted and held against me. I tried so hard to make it work, really I did.

The break-in did me in- I felt so helplessly far from my children due to the lack of bus service mid-day. And then last Thursday the Victoria Street bus broke down. I had to take the one behind it. And, as fast as I ran down the hill from Hastings to Marine Way, hurting my knees in the process, I saw my once-every-half-hour bus fly by. Drat. I was panting in the invisible but heavy pollution of that road and breathing hurt. I sat on the cold bench and waited, misery incarnate. A taxi – oh a solution to getting to the weary job on time, ran to the next road where he pulled in, jumped in, drove for maybe 4 minutes to Boundary Road, and the meter already said nearly $8.00 – and I wouldn't even make that much in the half hour I was trying to get to work for. I told the taxi driver to stop, to let me out, that I wasn't paying any more for the ride. And then I still had a hike to get to work, where I arrived 10 minutes late, and at the end of my tether.

I told my two bosses my tale of woe. And said that I cannot do the half day jaunt anymore, that the transit doesn't service this area, that I can only come in 3 full days a week. A bus comes into the area during rush hour. It takes me 35 minutes to get home. Over the period of a week, I would save 5 ½ hours of traveling time, a whole afternoon’s worth of time.

The next day I am told that I won’t be coming back, that they have called the agency and hired another woman to work half days.

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And it was my painting, my painting that has sat for 2 months, untouched, and which I looked at that morning, wishing, wishing, and so I know it was my muse that cut this job short for me, because it just wasn’t working, I need whole days to paint, and, while I could have had that at the beginning of this job, when they were open to flex hours, they got too used to having me there every day, and wouldn’t consider any options other than the one I had originally created.

Anyway, I was just a nameless woman who was hired to make coffee, do dishes, take out the garbage, answer the phone, xerox blueprints, pack a pouch of invoices and timesheets off to head office once a week, clean up an awful filing mess, update a list with addresses 4 and 5 years old (SuperPages came to my aid), chase after tardy submissions of bids on construction projects, they even took away the little ceramic heater that kept me warm, and no-one knew that I wrote, or painted, or took photographs, or have the equivalent of 3 degrees (two BAs, but from a university that doesn't grant double BAs, an MA minus the language requirement, an A student...sigh & ho hum, plus the graduate degrees I didn't finish-withdrawing from a PhD program in my mid-20s, the fiascos with Graduate Interdisciplinary Studies in the intervening years, etc. ho hum), or that I was capable of so much more than they could ever possibly imagine.

Yes, I was bored. But we could buy groceries every week without worry.

Now I have to finish that painting. Not sleep from the stress of financial worry. And find another temp job for next week so we can eat the week after.

I won’t miss that truck heavy highway one bit.

______________________________

Dear Readers, I am usually not like this: Was I really pushed to my edge with this situation and was there there anything I could have done to make it work? Or am I simply PMSing?

Friday, March 04, 2005

On the evening of...

I'm travelling down a road that is travelling down a mountain. I think I'm flying because I'm not aware of a car around me. Yet I fly with the same slow care as if I were driving. It is night-time. The moon is embedded in the sky beyond the trees, a brilliant white light surrounded by misty clouds. I should be scared, but I'm not. There is an unearthly stillness everywhere, silent, empty, the trees appear almost painted in dark purple and blue colours with black bark. I fly quickly through the forest near the base of the mountain, and into a private roadway. It is too still; there are no animals. And a house, like any suburban house, wide and flat and large. I go right through the walls. Into a vacant sunken living room with beige couches and chairs that look soft and comfortable before a large brick fireplace that is unlit. Quickly down the hallway. And I fall into bed with you, you in your pajamas, striped white and blue soft cotton, dreaming of my visit, wrapping yourself around me contentedly.

SoundClick MP3 of this entry: March 4, 2004, 1:32 min

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The cherry trees earlier this evening while walking my dog...


Thursday, March 03, 2005

The Art of the Writerly Nap...

Many thanks to those who left pure poetry behind in my last post on creative process at Xanga and here. I have read, and re-read your comments, each one like a jewel that opens out the entire universe of each of you.

My own comment in response to Toni Morrison's process has also grown, and I wonder if your articulations of your creative processes hasn't also wanted to become more detailed too...?

I am a napper. My idea of heaven on earth is an afternoon nap. Nothing could be finer. I cultivate nap time: have honed and honoured it. Oh, how I love that afternoon rest! Now that I work afternoons, well, there's after work, and there are still weekends! A napper not to be undone, I have turned the nap into an art.

It was a year or two back when I discovered the trick of writing while 'napping.'

What is a 'nap'? I rarely sleep. Usually I meditate first, this produces a much deeper and more satisfying nap. I sit against a small meditation chair that I place right on my bed facing the window. I recite a mantra over and over. This stills my mind. I fall into bliss emotionally.

As I go more deeply, I lie down, cover myself with a blanket, and let go. Everything spins and collides inward. I am acutely aware of the world around me. My body hums in stillness. There are no particular thoughts; the meditation has cleared them. I rest deeply, healingly. I fall in love again and again with the world. I forget that I have worries.

After 20 or 30 minutes, I re-emerge into the phenomenal world, my room, my dog perhaps lying nearby, thinking of what sort of treat I should have, usually it's cappuccino and chocolate.

When I am writing I 'nap,' but never disappear so fully, always being cognizant of the notebook on my lap. I drift in and out, scrawling words as quickly as I can write.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

How Do You Write Best...

Toni Morrison says: "I always get up and make a cup of coffee while it is still dark-it must be dark—and then I drink the coffee and watch the light come... Writers all devise ways to approach that place where they expect to make the contact, where they become the conduit, or where they engage in this mysterious process. For me, light is the signal in the transition. It's not being in the light, it's being there before it arrives. It enables me, in some sense." From The Writer's Almanac, February 18, 2005.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usMy best writing occurs when I am just coming out of a meditative nap. A place where I let go of everything---discovered this being lulled in a hammock strung across my tiny studio. I like to be lying down, with a notebook and a pencil on my lap, or my tiny pocket pc, something private, that only I can see, and drifting dreamily in and out of stillness. It is in this deeply relaxed state that images begin adding their vitality to what I am writing about... It is in this quiet state of mind that my imagination has most freedom... And I have learnt to trust the flow of words, even if they don't 'pull together'; when I come back later, I find nuggets in the tumble of jewels that I can take out, polish and wear...


How about you...? What state of mind do you find best for your creativity and how do you evoke that...?

What's your ritual as a writer?