On not writing about illness

On not writing about illness

I don’t want to write about this, she said.

For the woman who spoke these too familiar words to me, this was illness. Insidious, consuming, chronic. I nodded because it was also my story, just with different symptoms. We spoke in the shorthand we had each become practiced at employing around our narratives, framing conditions that did not, in spite of our best efforts, abate. I don’t know how to write about this, I thought. And I wondered if that was what, deep down, she had meant.

A dream revisited

A dream revisited

During a workshop at Vortext led by Rahna Reiko Rizzuto, we used the tarot to explore questions in our individual writing projects. The cards are simply a tool to remind us of what we already know, she said.

This has been my own approach to working with the tarot. In the most literal sense, it has helped me recall memories I’d suppressed for years as I’ve continued my dive into not only what I hid but why I hid it.

On acknowledging resistance

On acknowledging resistance

During some downtime at Vortext, the writing salon I attended earlier this month, I jotted into a notepad, trying to put a tail on the thoughts I’d started to gather on the ferry ride to the retreat grounds that morning. To pin down the questions I wanted my book to ask and to illustrate why they mattered by sketching out its opening scene.

I had resisted writing those words. As I let the questions take shape, however, I realized that my resistance needed its own place on the page. That the struggle to frame the questions was an essential part of the story too.