|Write Doe Bay :: micron pens on kraft paper|
I've been reading a book by Leonard Koren about the Japanese aesthetic of wabi-sabi. He states that wabi-sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. It is a beauty of things modest and humble. It is a beauty of things unconventional. Once I started thinking about it, I figured out that circles (like the kind I've been drawing) and people are not all that different. There is so much beauty in the perfectly imperfect.
This weekend I met a lot of circles at Write Doe Bay and slowly over the course of days, we gathered up with all of our differences, expectations, fears and stories and slowly came together like this drawing. Some had quiet voices, some hardy and loud. Others were funny, gregarious and self-deprecating. Some were really good dancers (you know who you are). The circles I gravitated towards were respectful, honest and made me feel safe enough to share the unedited version of my true story for the very first time.
All were brave.
This workshop dug up one of my earliest childhood memories of writing. It was in Mrs. Burke's 5th grade classroom back in 1980. I can still see little 10 year old me making small careful tiny loops across the page, wanting my cursive writing to be neat and readable. The little Virgo in me wanted it just so, as well as getting the Super! note from the teacher it would receive. I set about to carefully illustrate the words that sprang from my young mind and settled on a pale blue surround using a half broken crayon plucked from the stash in my desk. There was bare white space in the middle of the page shaped like an ice-skating rink where my words would rest. I'd like to share it with you here:
I'm learning to skate on the ice,
It really is quite nice
I can skate very well,
Though it is hard to dwell
I glide on the ice like a seal,
Though it is not very real
It's only a dream,
A great big dream
I'm learning to skate on the ice
Going into the weekend, I didn't really know what to expect. It started off a bit bumpy, but leveled off once we started to get to know one another and hear the storytellers in the room. My heart cracked open at the truth spilling from people's mouths, listening to lyrics written by introspective and talented songwriters and succinct, heartfelt words spoken clearly and softly from poets.
What I went to Doe Bay to do was learn how to write a little better and/or learn about people's discipline and their writing process, but what I actually learned was how to have a little more empathy for humanity. Everyone has a story. The next time someone cuts me off on the highway or says something rude to me, I'm going to pause and try and remember that they, too, have a story. The difference? I just haven't heard it yet.
Thirty-three years later and I'm attempting to write a little poetry as my new daily practice. That's what inspired me most this weekend. And here is my offering today:
a raw bundle of emotions
lay dormant in the pit of me
quite often left alone
buried deep and dark
jumbled like a ball of yarn
messy and tangled
eager for order
an unexpected kiss good night
a locked gaze with a new friend
too many cocktails
and climb out of my mouth
and leak from my eye sockets
and reach for a warm body to hold
they are wild and frenetic
unpredictable in their path
and land on people and objects around me
quietly, silently absorbed
the ones too scared to be outside of me
quickly float back
to be collected
i tuck them away carefully
back into the dark pit
with sweet acknowledgement
in knowing they have traveled