Remembering

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 creative dialogue: a conversation with the tarot

On creative dialogue: a conversation with the tarot

At the beginning of the year, I wrote about the buried memories my memoir has been inviting me to reclaim — stories I was told about who I was, or should be, in childhood and adolescence that I didn’t know how to integrate or reconcile into a cohesive sense of self. I’m emerging now from three weeks in subterranean search mode with much more of the picture. But reentry has been jarring.

One reason is that I’m holding so much new information. Writer’s block isn't always about a lack of words or ideas — sometimes it’s having too many.