the heart tends to get away from us . . .

“The heart tends to get away from us, and we write from wherever we last left it.”
–    Peter Jurich, Writers Digest, 2/11

The moment I read this quote I fell in love with it!! I love its playful attitude, the image of the wandering heart so independent, leaving us bewildered or bewitched or somewhere in between. It reminds me of my daughter, my dog, so many things I’ve witnessed in my life. I guess it even reminds me of me, how I wander away from my own thoughts, my own center, when I’m not paying close attention; when I need release, a change of pace; when I want out; when things overwhelm me; when I want another solution to a complexity that demands, demands, demands and I’m tired of giving, giving, giving.

I love its truth – how beautifully and simply this single line captures the essence of the writing process. We think we’re writing one thing, but then it wiggles away, morphs into Something Utterly Other, maybe even thumbing its nose at us or challenging us to follow with reason rather than just, well, letting the heart respond.

I also love how it speaks to aging – how often Things in general get away from us, usually of course because we left them somewhere; but how often it seems Things have a mind of their own, ambulate on their own accord either to annoy and frustrate or to test us – our patience, our creativity, our memory. In this case, we tend to try to find them, of course. And in the search, follow just this course of action: retracing our steps to what we last remember in an attempt to be led to the current location. Continue reading

youth revis(it)ed

To mark the start of our fourth annual girls’ Writing Camp for (a) Change! tomorrow, I looked back over writings created and shared with previous girls’ circles.  I dedicate the following to transitions from childhood through adolescence and on to adulthood. Each at our own pace; each in our own way.

I am indeed honored to hold these young women’s words in trust; and trust that they in turn will move outward into the world with the clarity of purpose they bring to our groups with unparalleled grace, confidence and wisdom.

The following fast-write was written within a spring class of young teen women in response to our opening poem:

I remember that trembling
timorous tremor
of uncertain confusion,

the dire dysfunction
of too old for my age
yet knowing no better.

I recall the aimless
striving to get it right, be good,
enough, the ambiguous

awkward amblings
into unknown
traps tripping, trying

slipping, sliding, shrilling
to none who heard the silence
of scared, scarred,

losing and lost, left
and aloof.
I recall all that

through a shimmer of time,
an unbroken trail of trial,
distrust, so many distracted deeds

without derring-do, just trying
to manage, make it through.
Today all this comes back around

as I circle with young women,
their wide-eyed dreams
shimmering them onward

unbroken unbridled, unbeholden
to the shrieking sorrows of before
unbirthed yet blooming free.

swb