It may seem like I’m always cleaning and tossing and finding. Well, yes, I do continue to weed out the clutter. I think it’s a life long process. I’ve got to stay on top of it. And so, yes I did get rid of a few more papers and I saw a slim folder with only three sheets of writing in it. Two I tossed; one I kept. I wanted to capture it, to share it here before getting rid of the piece of paper from where it came from. It looks like I wrote it on Valentines day, February 14, 2010. At the top I wrote, “Goldberg – I Remember.” Ahh, I say to myself, it must have come from one of my favorite writing books: Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones.
Skinny dipping at different stages of life.
Watching grandma make tortillas and walking to the bus stop when her and grandpa didn’t see eye to eye—on her way to her brother’s house. Most of the time we would catch her before she got on the bus. We lived on the same block and the bus stop was right outside our house.
The peaceful look on mom's face when I told her how my brother got upset when I shaved my legs. It was the first time I felt her tenderness toward me. I was twelve. She saw before her a young lady about to embark on her life and even though she knew she wouldn't be a part of it she seemed to have made peace with that.
The difficulties of school, from the subject matter, my shyness, to the clothes that I would sometimes wear. I remember being alone for large chunks of my life and always having a sense deep down that this is how I was meant to be, almost like it was part of my calling. It makes some sense but not entirely.
Malt-meal in my hair. Getting caught smoking, frilly dresses, certain teachers—good and bad; taps on my window during the night; sitting under the stars on a moonlit night.
I appreciate how simple the exercise is and what memories will be jogged at the time of writing it. I’ve been reading a few different books lately and I will probably post about them soon. But this whole process brought me back to my closet for another writing book because it’s been a while. I have enjoyed, but have savored—taking it very slowly—Julia Cameron’s The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life. She is the author of The Artist’s Way, another wonderful book that really got me writing every day—“Morning Pages”—and making “Artist Dates” with myself. It’s been at least a year since I picked up The Right to Write. I left off on page 64, A chapter titled “The Well.” I felt filled up after reading it. A chapter about filling up our wells, not letting them run dry. She refers to “Artist Dates” as discussed in her other book—reminds us to go do something different by ourselves, whether it’s a visit to a museum, a garden, a fabric store—whatever our heart’s desire, as long as it’s a date with our self—alone.
When I come back to a book after some time, I find myself rereading the introduction. I love introductions. What Julia Cameron writes at the end of her introduction to The Right to Write, resonates with me deeply and also makes me light up with a smile inside, as I am one of those people she has convinced.
Thus, I conclude this blog with her quote from the introduction of The Right to Write: An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life:
This book will be a cheerleader for those trying the writing life, a companion for those living it, and a thank-you to my own writing for the life it has given to me. It is my hope that this book will help to heal writers who are broken, initiate writers who are afraid, and entice writers who are standing at river’s edge, wanting to put a toe in.
I have a fantasy. It’s the pearly gates. St. Peter has out his questionnaire, he asks me the Big Question, “What did you do that we should let you in?”
“I convinced people they should write,” I tell him. The great gates swing open.