November was going to be for morning serious writing sessions for me. I was going to get right down to writing, first thing, before the household wakes up. Somehow it hasn’t quite unfolded with the grace I had hoped for. My mornings have been more frantic and last minute as I try to rearrange my brain from that deep space to the focus of the day. Easier to continue to focus my morning writing on the quick little projects that I usually work on. I don’t feel like this is a failure so much as a recognition that the work that I normally do in this time is all writing practice. It’s just not writing toward a particular end goal. I have to find a different time of day for the goal-centered writing.
And editing. This is not the first time I have been working with the goddesses who descend–with Innana/Ishtar, with Persephone–and I feel a little like I am rewriting, like what I need to to organize what I have already written before I start the new stories.
Today, I am going to set myself a little writing goal. I am going to write Skinny poems: They’re eleven lines long. Line 1 is a phrase that catches your attention. Lines 2-10 are one word each. Lines 2, 6, and 10 are the same word. Line 11 uses the exact same words as the phrase in line 1, and these can be in any order that works for you. Le Hinton introduced us to this form on Friday, and it’s captured my attention, especially since I have gone googling Le’s Skinnys.
Gratitude List: 1. Inner work that helps me to bear the walk into the darkness. 2. I received a sweet gratitude from a student yesterday, something that reminded me of who I am and what my purpose is. 3. Yellow labyrinth-spiral of leaves beneath the maple tree. 4. Reaching small goals. 5. Rice and refried beans wrapped in a tortilla with all the fixings. It’s simple comfort.
This morning, I decided to just dive into the myth that has been calling me, and I spent my writing time working on the story of Inanna/Ishtar, pondering the way her descent into the Underworld mirrors my own inward travels as the year turns cold and dark. I think this one will keep me busy for the rest of the week and beyond.
What symbols of your personal power and wisdom and authority are you prepared to relinquish as you circle downward into the deepest realm of your own inner knowing?
Gratitude List: 1. Myths and stories that frame and guide our own daily journeys 2. Small breaks 3. Seeking the fire within 4. Anticipation 5. Layers and layers of warm clothes
Here is an old poem of mine. I am not feeling knife-edgy lately, but perhaps you are:
Some days you feel as though you have been walking that knife edge forever, too afraid to look to right or left.
Then one day, you raise your gaze and there before you is the green valley with a blue glass lake and a silent island that you have been seeking in every dream since you were born. Gratitude List: 1. Sweet yesterday. The last day of summer for me. Weekends don’t count. Yesterday was a weekday, the last free day of the work week before school begins. Teachers return on Monday, and we welcome the Bright Ones back on Tuesday. I do love what I do, what we create together at school. Still, these lovely days–no matter how busy they get–of loosely planned rhythm, are sweet and wonderful.
2. Anticipating new rhythms. No matter how sweet the days of summer, something in me also longs for the formal rhythms of the school year.
3. Balance. I think this will be the theme of my school year this year. Particularly with the packs of grading that come in. I have a color-coded calendar all ready so I can visually see when the bigger papers are due.
4. Learning to know my own brain. I know that I am a visual learner, that I often have to see a word or a musical score or a fact in order to “get” it, even if seeing means visualizing it in my brain. When I meet a new person with an interesting name, I spell it out on the screen inside my head so it is easier to remember. Those color-coded calendars are part of my plan to work with the quirks of my brain this year, to give myself the necessary visual cues to get my work done more efficiently.
5. Cicadas. Yesterday, I stood and listened to the concert for a while. When I just move through it without thinking about it, it’s a confusing roar, but when I stop to listen, I can hear one band to the left starting to gear up, while the band in front of me is at full roar at a slightly different pitch. To the right is a third, reedier-sounding gang, trying to meet the roar in the middle, but fading out. What an amazing idea the cicada is–the seasonality (not just annual, but seasons of years at a time), the shells and wings and awkward flight bodies, the roaring.