Posts Tagged ‘Alexis Pauline Gumbs’
A few weeks ago I began a series on spring cleaning for your writing life. There are three steps in the process:
1) You reassess your space, your schedule, and patterns of mind to see what is supporting or not supporting your writing life.
2) You reorganize your space, schedule, and patterns of minds to allow you to create with more ease.
3) After reassessing and reorganizing, you rededicate yourself to having a productive and joyful writing life!
I also asked writer friends for their thoughts, posing this question to them: What is one thing that you’re doing, giving away, rearranging, reassessing, reorganizing, etc., this spring, to support your writing life? I’ve organized their comments into several categories: Body, Space, Schedules and Patterns of Mind.
We only have a few more weeks before the official start of summer. Let’s continue to use the forward propulsion of spring energy to clear away anything that keeps us from our optimal writing life.
I am clearing out deadlines. Rearranging everything so poetry comes first. Dusting off hip-opening yoga mornings and rededicating my body to sleep.
Alexis Gumbs, writer and activist, http://alexispauline.com
I did a spring cleaning of what was ailing me: the (supposedly) most feel-good aspect of my life. I had a great physical therapist, but physical therapy was killing me. I spent my whole life either going to PT or recovering from pain or fatigue. I got some support from Sharan and some friends, and realized that PT isn’t healing anymore. So I quit. I feel scads better after only two days. The very same day I did it, I found an acupuncturist who knows all about my rare disease (how about that!?) and will do Medical Qi Gong on me. That’s cleaning house.
Heidi R. Moore, writer and artist, http://heidiwriting.wordpress.com
My mom’s fantasy: I am a domestic goddess who hosts grand dinner parties. My reality: I can barely cook a pizza without burning the house down. Result: A cabinet stuffed with beautiful, but unwanted table linens (gifts from my mom). Solution: I donated the entire unused collection to the Habitat for Humanity Home Store and can now open my cabinet without the constant reminder that I am NOT Martha Stewart!
Linda Johnson, writer and author of A Tangled Web, http://www.lindajohnson.us
I am purging and streamlining my physical environment to eliminate chaos and create a zen garden peace to allow my writing to flow. Today I shredded 2 bags of documents related to estate business for my parents and father-in-law.
Cathy Pelham, emerging writer and photographer
I’m prioritizing… and I found out that focus on my writing gets a higher rating than a focus on my cleaning… but not by much. Just 1 point more on a 15-point scale. So, it’s important to do both. But I write FIRST, and THEN I clean. This is the first day I’ve used my new system, and I’m liking it.
Ellen Jacobs, writer and author of “The Littlest Sparkler” (a children’s book,-in-progress) www.thelittlesparkler.wordpress.com
I am cleaning out my sleeping in so there’s more of that sacred silent space to write. DJ, emerging writer
Patterns of Mind
This spring, I’m throwing out my inner critic, the voice that tells me what I’m writing is crap! This won’t be easy. We’ve been attached at the hip (or the head) for a long time. But in order for me to move forward as a writer, it must be done. Wish me luck.
Judith Marshall, author of Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever, optioned for the big screen, www.judithmarshall.net
I was on the road, winding up the book tour for Blood Clay, when my husband did the spring cleaning. He shook out rugs, dusted, vacuumed – and painted the bedroom. When I returned, he opened the door with a flourish to show washed-out yellow walls and tired woodwork replaced with a vibrant cayenne red and creamy white. It was a daring choice, and the right one. So I’ve been trying to do the same thing in my writing. Be bold! I remind myself. Go into the dark places, yes, but I don’t need to focus only on the hidden and buried and painful. I am seeking places where joy and light suffuse the mind. I am letting go a little more, being open to that character making an unexpected move – it’s a gift from the writing gods. I’m shaking the cobwebs and accumulated dust from my thoughts and opening doors that have been closed for too long. Welcome spring!
Valerie Nieman, writer and author of Blood Clay, http://valerienieman.blogspot.com/
What needs to be reorganized to support your writing life?
(Photo credit: http://beforeyouwrite.com/page/2/)
Is letting go
a process or a price
what am i paying for
not seeing sooner?
learning at the edge?
of something precious but no longer needed?
(Audre Lorde, unpublished)
I came across this unpublished poem, by Audre Lorde, through the work of my friend Alexis Pauline Gumbs, scholar, poet and activist:
I love Audre Lorde’s work and think this is a gem of a poem and perfect for the season. It is the Winter Solstice, a time of quiet reflection and the intentional letting go of habits, ways of being and things that no longer serve us. Usually a week before the Winter Solstice, I like to do an intense cleaning of my house. I mean going through everything—from what’s been hiding at the back of the refrigerator for months to forgotten boxes piled in the garage. Although it is exhausting (I start usually at 7am and finish around 5), it feels necessary and important because it allows me to actively make peace with my physical space. The outward scrubbing and cleaning also prepares me for doing the mental and emotional work that the season invites, including asking questions: What am I still committed to? What emotional pattern am I now able to let go of at year’s end? Is this (thing, habit, experience) serving me? How have I nurtured my creative energies during this year?
This time of year can bring gifts of spaciousness and reflection if we take the time to be silent and go inward, perhaps foregoing yet another holiday party or fourth glass of champagne. I invite you to curl up with this poem and ask yourself: What is the precious thing or experience in your life that is no longer needed? If you let that go, what will it make space for in the rest of your creative life?
For more on Audre Lorde, including a new book with previously unpublished writings: