Journaling

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.

The golden hour

The golden hour

I met the photographer Sam Abell years ago when I was a summer intern at the National Geographic Society. He was giving a talk at an intern lunch that led to an invitation to dinner and a long, lovely conversation about how we make, not take, photographs. The image is absolutely in the eye of the beholder as much as the camera also allows us to capture the “truth” of a moment (it happened; here’s the proof).

After so many years, I still return to Sam’s work, a study not in golden moments but more often in the deeply saturated tones that only emerge after light fades. It feels like an apt metaphor to be looking for luminous word-images in my end-of-year reflections not just in a fiery afternoon glow but also as twilight settles. It’s not as easy to discern what’s there, but after some time, the eyes adjust. And so does the truth.