soul writing

Our ‘inside’ writers love the opportunity to write from visual images. Thanks to Deborah Koff-Chapin and her inventive Touch Drawing(TM) technique, there are a couple of decks of ‘Soul Card’ images we often use. Last night, I asked the women to allow their imaginations to describe an image through all five senses. They then posed the question ‘what if’ as in Mary Oliver’s poem, ‘how would you live then?’

I think it would be fair to say some of the women were quite surprised to find where this simple prompt led them. And Mary Oliver would be proud. The first line of her poem ‘Fox’ says just this: ‘You don’t ever know where/ a sentence will take you.’ Read on to see where you’ll be led!

credit - Deborah Koff-Chapin

credit – Deborah Koff-Chapin

WHAT IF?
What if all I could feel was loneliness?

But here I am alone; can’t I feel it?
Stuck in a dark green foggy world, state, place I call my own.
What if I was disconnected from the world?
But aren’t I?
What if I was stuck in a cold, musty room where all I could hear was the sound of my own breath? Inhale, exhale; inhale, exhale.
What if I only felt the warmth of my own skin against my own, the warmth of my breath as I was curled in a corner crying, scream-imagining my way out.
Cold but warm.
Happy but so sad.
Lonely but not alone.
Weak but strong.
Naked but fully clothed.
What if?
What if I could alone decide which path to walk, keep entering towards darker, deeper territory; OR walking into the light where I am no longer alone?
No longer scared, ashamed, scarred and bruised.
No longer alone.
What if?
– 
KA

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a spark of hope

spark of hopeThis ‘found poem,’ created from lines written by all women in the writing circle a couple of weeks back, will be our final post of 2012. We will return January 2, 2013.

Happy Holidays and safe travels to all!

After losing so much
it is important to step back
pointing to the one and only hope
to keep you moving on.
Most of us could never imagine
that hope hadn’t died,
buried in pain.

Each tear contains
a little spark of aliveness,
real possibility
for a biography in the making
dissipating the inky black light.

Your search for self
grows better with attention,
magically produces more
love no matter what,
reflected every day
in what greatness you can perceive.
There is always a glimmer
of gold even when the mirror sees gray.
It has come true for me.

Turn the corner of loneliness
carrying hope within;
watch the lights twinkle as you pray
starting your life over again.

Keep searching;
knowing you have taken every chance
will always be your hope,
an empathy antenna.

A journey started, a spark of hope.

hope during advent

Credit: marian solidarity

Credit: marian solidarity

Last night, in keeping with the first week of Advent, we wrote to the theme of hope. What made this writing challenging – and  to the amazement of the women around the circle, rewarding – was the second part. After a 20 minute free-write, each woman took an additional 10 minutes to transform her words into a poem. We used the pantoum, an accessible repeating pattern based on 8 distinct lines which women selected from the ‘strongest’ in their original writing.

The resulting poems spoke raw power, profound clarity and deep pain. Read both the original and poetic versions from TH, one of our newer writers. She sinks directly into experience, dredging up the immediacy of her pain and struggle for hope using the analogy of drug use. It took my breath away. But you decide for yourself!

‘Please try your call again later.’ Sighing, I hang the plastic black receiver up and continue staring at the numbers on the keypad. You never seem to be on the other end anymore . . .  The guard hands out stacks of cards and letters. As usual, I receive nothing.

I am here.

Alone.

Forgotten.

Buried in pain.

My mind turns the corner of loneliness, extracting hope as if with a tiny syringe, sucking it in off its home in my soul and injecting it into my current state, bright red, pungent, stinging my veins. It hurts to hope because you never come. You never answer. You never write.

And yet, I magically produce more, even now, as snow lightly decorates the ground; even as December marches on in pageantry and decoration. You are mine and I am yours. We always say we are family, and family NEVER LEAVES family!

But you’re gone. Continue reading