Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Vamos a Ver

Edna Taylor Conservation Prairie - Hanging On - July 2013
This is a student writing. She is an older student, and someone who has wanted to write for a long time. When she heard about my classes, she realized it was time, though not everything (including her inner critic, whom she has named "Vampira") moved out of the way for her. This was an ending prompt for a session this spring - what was she going to take with her at the end of the seven weeks of class?

I love that this is also about what it takes to take time to write memoir (which is what this student is writing). So many of my students, and myself, fight with that line that Vampira gives to some of her friends:  “You’re not doing anything for anyone else, and this is so narcissistic.” Especially for a life-long activist, that's no small feat of a belief to conquer.

The writing is unedited, just as she wrote it in class.

Clearing space

A year ago I was having repeated dreams, I call them chaos dreams, waking with intense headaches in the night, in the morning.   Most nights there was a pregnancy in the dream, mine or someone else’s.   I listened, journaled and committed to connecting with Miriam to begin a writing class.

Now my dreams are less chaotic, fewer headaches or sometimes none and the repeating images are of babies and small children needing care.  My stories.

A friend commented that I seem more strong—or—not that—more deeply into my own life than she’s seen me.   I am energized, committed to this journey almost without making the commitment.  Gathering what I need for support, clearing away what distracts.

This week I let the Raging Grannies know that I’m taking a break from singing.   Vampira had used a couple of friends to speak, “You’re not doing anything for anyone else, and this is so narcissistic.”   So I took a deep breath and shared with two close friends that I’m taking the time and energy to focus on my writing.   Vampira didn’t answer.   They were very affirming and supportive.   A little part of me stands aside saying, “Yipes!   Really?  You’re sure about this?”

Finding out where to share, what to share, when.   Seeing this as an experiment.   Some things are clear, not with my sister.   Sometimes I don’t get feedback, wonder and think, “OK, that’s not where you want to share again”.   And surprises.   I shared the Ben’s Barbershop story with my son.   He like it and went on to tell me much more than I’d known about his experience there.

Belief that this matters, to me, to my kids who will have access to my life and that which we’ve shared in a new way.

And now, learning to live with a flood of memories, an intense energy that needs to be grounded, to rest.   Muddling thru organizing, keeping track of threads of stories.

For many years, I’ve joked that I hoped I’d live to be really old so I could sit in a rocking chair and make sense of it all.   Well, getting really old may or may not happen.   There’s a sense of “no time to lose” tempered with letting go of the outcome.   I’m in the river without a map being carried somewhere.   Vamos a ver.

1 comment:

  1. Three cheers for writing! Like going back to school, it makes us richer, stronger, clearer.

    I like the juxtaposition of the photo of the wee vine hanging on tight, with the writer's awareness of "letting go" at the end of her piece. It seems as though in memoir writing, the writer does both!