On releasing expectations

On releasing expectations

I’m trying to travel light next week for Vortext, a lovely writer’s salon hosted by Hedgebrook and the Whidbey Institute on an island just outside Seattle. I drew the Hanged Man this week as I started packing in earnest, an apt reminder to approach the task with — wait for it — non-attachment. I’m always afraid I’ll forget something I need!

On a deeper level, the card is an invitation to enter this writing retreat without placing too much pressure on that time, rare as such a getaway is for me. Not that there isn’t opportunity in the everyday to do some kind of writing — I’m passionate about supporting other writers in cultivating windows, large and small, for their practice — but three days devoted solely to that work is something to be relished.

Join me on a dream dive: a tarot journey for writers

Join me on a dream dive: a tarot journey for writers

This week, to ground the roiling of my writing thoughts, I drew a tarot card to direct my focus. Of course, the image that came forward was the Nine of Swords: the card of midnight worries and the unsettled mind.

There are moments when the cards mirror my creative state so uncannily that my first response is, “Well, tell me something I don't know!” But in this case, after a second look, I remembered that this Nine is also the card of dreams.

My dreams have gotten loud as I’ve sifted through boxes of memory-triggering artifacts in recent weeks. I haven’t felt clear on how to write about the memories — where in the narrator’s awareness and understanding of her story does she speak from? I’ve asked. I suspect my dreams have been trying to show me potential answers to this question.

On finding the message in the mess

On finding the message in the mess

This month has been about looking back. Not the sort of reflection that happens on the page, but the kind that has to do with checking in and taking stock.

The process of gathering specific memories and corroborating them with family and friends for my book project has been going on since February, and now that I have quite the growing information cache, I’ve needed to step back and consider it all at once. I don’t want to lose sight of what my intentions were when I started this exploration, and at the same time, I don’t want to miss opportunities to let the material point me in directions I could not have known about at the outset.