I am learning about ways to renew and reinvent myself. Although I can’t go into details, several years ago, it was imperative that I reinvent myself at work – and I did. I now have a great job and work with terrific colleagues. But this blog post is about a different kind of renewal or re-invention, a more personal one, a renewal of self, that self that wants to sink into despair every so often. We need to wake her up to life. I don’t know what it is you do — paint, draw, play music, sing, take photos — or if you’re like me — you write.
When you get really “serious” about writing, things start to happen, like you gain a following, you get invited to read in public, you start publishing some of your work, you want more and more of these kinds of affirmations of yourself as a writer. Well, I do. I like the attention. Writing has always been central to my life and part of my identity, so when I see things happening for me, I’m pretty thrilled.
It’s easy to lose oneself in the business and the (small) glories of writing, the trying to get published, the hope that someone will notice you and invite you to read somewhere (really hope this), and the feelings of inadequacy that always arrive when your actual writing life (or life in general) doesn’t live up to your (ridiculously) high expectations.
So, this is a long-winded introduction to a way I’ve found to renew myself as a writer and as a human being. Simple, and we’ve all heard of it — free writing — reminding us why we started to write in the first place – to connect, to express, to understand ourselves and ourselves in relation to the world.
Thank you to fellow Solstice MFA Alum and good friend, Hannah Goodman, owner of The Write Touch. Today, Hannah led one of her workshops (she’s fabulous, come on down to Warren, RI next Saturday) and she helped all of us to “Release the Writer Within.” Below I will post my “free write.” This ain’t literature but it’s me re-birthing myself, reinventing myself. Again.
From the prompt: What Blocks Me?
(a 7-minute free write, imagine it in messy handwriting.)
What blocks me? It feels like responsibility. What does responsibility feel like? It feels like caring for an 82-year old woman. I know what that feels like because I do. She’s at my house right now, in her bedroom. The cats are ignoring her, which is heartbraking, but that’s what you get when you shut your door on them for the first two months they came to live with us.
Of course, she’s lived her life shutting doors on everything. As I age, I worry so much that I will do the same: lie in bed with a cat rather than a lover. Grow old alone, watch cats die. First I will watch my mother die. I’m her only company at this stage in her life. That’s sad. I’m shitty company for her.
I need to feed the cats. Pick up their pee and crap from the litter boxes. Did I tell you I have a bunny, too? He’s sweet and loveable, and I spend a good portion of my evenings picking up his droppings as he hops around the kitchen floor. It’s a big floor. I like to let him out of his cage.
Cages. What blocks me? The cages I set for myself – the envy I mentioned. Everyone is a better writer than I am. Everyone is a kinder person than I am; they don’t get angry and yell at their old mothers.
Her door is shut. She was born shut. She a nice woman. But who the hell knows her?
Who the hell knows me?
Thank you again, Hannah, for freeing me to write whatever I wanted, however I wanted, without worrying about it being “good” or “publishable,” or anything but what I needed to write at that moment.
If anyone is interested in attending one of Hannah’s classes, please let me know and I will get you in touch with Hannah. Warren, RI is not that far from the Massachusetts border.
To get in touch with Hannah to find out about The Write Touch writing workshops, see http://www.hannahrgoodman.com/
To get in touch with Lynn Rosario of Art Answers to find out about the Expressive Art Workshops from Art Answers, please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.