Navigate / search

Heart leaps: Quest 2015 and a question

Winter laundry dries slowly

 

Today’s post continues with the Quest2015 project. It is a set of 12 days with 12 visionaries to imagine my best next 12 months as a business artist.  You can learn more about #Quest2015 here and join the free offering by Jeffrey Davis.

Or you can follow along my quest here on Laundry Line Divine. I will post the prompts and my responses here all month. I really enjoy your comments, emails and notes on social media.

Yes, it might be messy. Yes, it might be personal and vulnerable, and yes, I am brave enough to show you my work here on Laundry Line Divine.

 

Today’s prompt comes from Pam Houston, who is the beloved author of four books including novel Contents May Have Shifted (have you read this yet? please do!)  and the interconnected short stories Cowboys Are My Weakness. She is Professor of English at UC Davis, directs the literary nonprofit Writing By Writers, and teaches in The Pacific University low residency MFA program.

 

Sit quietly and ask yourself, what in the last day or week or month has made your heart leap up? Not what should, or might or always had, but what did. Make that list. Be honest, even if it surprises you. Keep the list with you this month. Add to it when it happens. Train yourself to notice. Then ask your self today, how can I arrange my life to get more of those heart leaps in it?

My Moon Girl

• When she calls my name
• When there is laughter
• When the popcorn I thought was for me alone, became three batches, one for the two teenaged girls and another my husband’s dinner
• Laundry gusting on the line
• Simple neat stitchings in wool, on silk, in old linen, on the dress I made for myself 21 years ago that I put on today
• The ice
• The owl
• The eagle
• The titmice
• The way he studies them now
• The way she wiped her nose on stage, as a man, in a Shakespearean coat
• The way he calls me just to hear my voice
• That would be me, connected to and in connection with people I love
• Being lost and found in this love, retrieval and permission
• Knowing that I should read page 140 today in three different books and finding a synchronicity, call it serendipity, of learning and insight.
• The promise of ice skating
• Remembering how much I love to ski, even though I am a terrible skier
• Falling asleep holding hands with my beloved
• Knitting, knitting, knitting and then seeing something more than the string, sticks and a plan take place
• Feeling a through line in my work, noticing, perhaps what others see but I am only just discovering and beginning, leapingly beginning to trust that this is my work, not something that will soon arrive when I am ready…. I am ready.
• Seeing my best friend for just a few minutes, but he has grown in to a man from the 18-year-old I met 33 years ago. Such a nice boy.
• Doing yoga…. rotated triangle, crow, plank, watching my palm open up above my head, watching my feet, yielding my heart, bowing to my beloved in class because he, after all these years, has started doing yoga


• Seeing my friend’s pottery, knowing him since he was 5, now, an artist.
• Candles
• Pine boughs
• Taking her to my red oak and sitting there with her
• Texts from my German kids, love notes, postcards, photos from Meine lieben Kinder.
• Old pages of handwriting
• Photographs of my mother
• Fervent comments from my readers on Laundry Line Divine
• My anthology in the hands of other readers
• All my journals lined up in a bag, ready for an exhibit
• Painting and packaging my Powder Keg Sessions painted prompt cards and preparing them to post and then going to the post office. Happy dances in the lobby of the post office.
• Terry Tempest Williams, John O’Donohue, Jeffrey Davis, Danielle LaPorte, Hafiz, Rumi, Debi Millman, Marilynne Robinson, Mary Gaitskill, Jane Hirschfield, Mandy Steward, Hilary Rain, Brené Brown, Tami Lynn Kent, Alice Orr, Tania Pryputniewicz, Alice Munro, Ruth Krauss, Sarah Ruhl, Adrienne Rich, P.K. Page, Natalie Goldberg, Flora Bowley…reading makes my heart leap because things happen between me and the page and the reality of my life. I gain understanding. This makes me leap all over the room, a gazelle of enthusiasm.
• Listening to my Powder Keg Sessions women read their work aloud.
• New women coming to the group.
• The embrace of a woman I taught last summer and the joy we shared
• Sitting in sacred circle with my Moon Circle exploring the deeper essence of gratitude
• Running downhill
• Acorn caps
• My oak and her skirt
• The copper beech up on the ridge
• Morning

How could I orchestrate my life to have more heart leaps?

Getting out of bed after just the right amount of sleep and socializing.
Speaking my truth even if it makes me quake.
Dreaming bigger and with more language about my work in the world.
Developing excellence with a complete willingness to fail, to be wrong, to wander, and to get lost.
Go outside.
Every single day.
Even when it is freezing and raining and gray…like it was this morning when I rescued the linen curtains that I left on the line from yesterday’s sun…. there is a crow. There are the titmice. There is the phlox leaning in to the messy garden, but I recall their perfume, their pinkness, and their tall strike of elegance on a September afternoon.
Going outside pretty much keeps most of those heart leaps leaping.
Being present with my family and friends.
Working in a way that supports my well-being and joy.
Staying connected…. to my long-time friends who see the difference and to my new friends, with whom I make a difference.

I woke this morning with three words in my heart.
Persistence.
Betty.
Dedication.

Persistence?  Showing up to write daily.
Nudging projects along, however slowly they roll, rolling them.
Dedication? Being there to say good-bye and hello, good morning and yes, I cannot wait for you to come home from college, stirring soup, closing my door, lighting the candles…
finding solitude within the fray of family life and creating art from this captured territory this is where and who and what I am dedicated to.

Betty J. Burkes on the right, Jan Phillips in the center and me. These two women inspire me to be my fullest self, daily.
Betty J. Burkes on the right, Jan Phillips in the center and me. These two women inspire me to be my fullest self, daily.

Betty?
My soul sister Betty sat next to me years ago as I nursed my daughter. Betty had just returned from work in Niger, as part of a United Nations project. She, peace activist and teacher, me, messy, chaos stuck to me like burrs to my ankles. I whined a bit and said, “Your work is so important.” She grabbed me with her words without disturbing the suckling, “The work you are doing right now is the most important work you can do right now.”

I am not sure she said ‘Right now” twice, but in recalling it, I feel the right now-ness of her words. Even today. After that, I quieted down. I settled in to motherhood, learned to live with the burrs, and grew more dedicated.

That baby is now 17 and drives herself to school.
The burrs teach me a lot.
And the heart leaps just keep on leaping.


This tiny video is better full screen. Hit the start arrow then click on full screen. It is only 19 seconds. Worth the clicks.

As part of the Quest2015 project, I have been reading some new blogs. These three have really made my heart leap. Ginny Taylor of Women of Wonder, whose work is to help women heal from the trauma of sexual abuse.

Stan Stewart’s improv poem this morning made my heart leap and urged me to create this list…imperfect as it may be in literary terms, it is more improv than anything. Thank you Stan.

And Julie Jordan Scott is a writer, poet, and teacher. This blog post caught me in another heart leap.

What about you?
What makes your heart leap?
How can you make choices that offer more heart leaps?

xoS

 

Yearning: Tell Me Yours & I Will Tell You Mine

Cups up at Bascom Lodge, Mount Greylock, MA

 

Velvet magenta maple against a golden oak.

Rain soaked leaves around the compost bin.

Nuthatch upside down on the feeder.

The clink of my husband’s spoon on his mid-morning oatmeal.

My fingers are chilly. I keep it cold in my morning writing space.

 

I am in the center of something I started in 2009.

from one of my first Laundry Line Divine posts...setting forth on an adventure to parts unknown
from one of my first Laundry Line Divine posts…setting forth on an adventure to parts unknown

 

In the nearly six years I have been blogging here on Laundry Line Divine, I have developed something I had no idea I was heading in to. When I started this website, I was writing in the few free hours I had between my responsibilities as a mother at home, as a gardening teacher and all the other ways I spent my hours.

My mother was in the middle of her descent in to Alzheimer’s disease.

I had just had a complete hysterectomy and thankfully, did not have any complications from all the unknowable horribles that lurked around my life that year.

 

I was simply a mother writing my experience.

I was attempting to build my author platform.

I was putting wheels under my work in the world.

I began experimenting with speaking up and out.

 

Since that time, my life has changed dramatically.

I am still a Mom.

I still work from home.

I am still researching how to speak my own truth.

 

But so much looks different.

I have developed a body of work around mothering and creativity.

I produce events for a local writing festival and teach at conferences.

I teach two different writing workshops locally and have led over 60 art and writing workshops in the last three years.

I have published an anthology of 36 women’s voices about the creative lives of mothers.

I have one son in college.

I have on daughter in high school.

I have one German exchange daughter in my home right now, and two others in Munich who call me their US Mom.

My own mother has been dead for four years this past October 10.

I am 56 years old.

 

And I am still filled with the same yearning that made me start to write in the first place. I didn’t set out to become a writer. I didn’t set out to teach. I just began taking my own writing seriously enough to budget time in my week for a little solitude. As I warmed to this practice, I noticed a longing within me that had been masked by the chaos of mothering. I sensed a yearning that is taking me years to describe. I began to feed it by offering myself small windows of time within my days at home to make something for the simple pleasure of making. I began, slowly, to let what I longed for- which was some sort of affirmation that this mothering path was the right one, that this work is enough, this relentless, challenging and joyful work is where I am supposed to be-to let that direct me, like a rudder. Rather than finding distraction from my mothering life, I began to see what I was doing as important enough to consider it sacred. This most ancient of responsibilities, being a mother, could, despite what our culture has told us for generations, be important and valuable.

In those early days of writing, I told stories of how I lived my days here in the Berkshires. I live in a small town surrounded by woods and farmland, in a county peppered with other small towns and people who work to run this community and sustain the systems that make this sort of life possible. I had lived in Manhattan for many years. I knew what that life was like. And I knew, in my heart, that raising our children outside a metropolitan area would allow me to spread out a little, not spend every waking hour in busyness and give us all space to be outside and to live slowly.

 

Benjamin and Suzi 1997

 

Slow became my mantra. Slow is not always my reality. But by being as slow as toddlers studying ants on the sidewalk, as slow as candle flame at 2 AM when I am awake with worry and hot milk, I found a new way of being.

I began to hear what I longed for. I was happy with the decision I’d made to stay at home to mother. I thought we’d have four children. I lived through several very sad miscarriages and a few years of trying to get pregnant again and again, before I arrived at this size of our family being enough. I could make my way with this crew and meet a few community needs without too much frantic living. I gardened with kids for many years. I learned new skills, studied yoga and taught. I carved a life of doing around my children’s needs. I knit. I made jam. And I hung my wash outside on a cotton rope.

Whites

But I could not shake the calamity of my heart. There was a voice within me that said, “really? This is it?” My own mother had been bored with being home-bound with children. Out of necessity and self-preservation, she taught for nearly all the years of our growing up. I was not bored so much as deflated by the reality that motherhood merited no real value in our culture but for keeping the kids out of traffic and getting food on the table. I could see how advertising and merchandising were designed to supply our every need, every style shift and every worry. But I found little that spoke to the soul of a woman who mothers.

This afternoon I walked near a house where a young family lives. The sky was gray, a cold fall wind made me draw my sweater collar up around my ears. The wool could not muffle the piercing cries of an infant I heard as I walked quietly by this small house. Instantly propelled to a similar afternoon of my own, I was standing by the sink with a red-faced inconsolable baby in my arms. I knew the gut dropping feeling of the mother of this squalling child. I knew the inch-march of the clock through a relentlessly tedious afternoon, where a nap is fruitless, dinner a puzzle, and no end is in sight. I knew how much, in those moments, I wanted to be mothered or at least accompanied or witnessed. The isolation of those moments, the shame-tide that rises around your ankles for not being a better mother, a wiser mother or at least a mother with better snacks on hand soaks in through your grimy sweatpants. It took only a few moments of that baby’s cries to bring me back to a time when any sense of living a productive life had halted and I was lonely, but never truly alone. I thought that since I enjoyed the luxury of being a stay-at-home mom that I had nothing to complain about. It should not be so hard, right? I am not putting on hose and heels and getting out to an office, right? History has not helped to ease entry in to mothering, with damning portraits of women chopping up their children or driving them in to lakes only to be countered with the lambs and rosebuds we stencil over the cozy cribs in upstairs bedrooms.

The conversation about parenting is changing. There is more writing and art in the world made by women who are comfortable stating that they are mothers. There are many more ways today, that mothering is seen as a choice, as a lifestyle and as something to be planned for and perhaps even supported by our corporate structures.

Reality is life-blown-open-and-apart, no matter what your situation- whether you have a natural childbirth or a C-section, whether you grind your baby’s food, nurse on the subway or let the nanny make those decisions- your life is unalterably altered when you become a mother. I wanted to know if it was possible to express this, to talk about what gives me comfort, what inspires me and what leads me. I found myself rather alone in this quest. I didn’t feel endorsed to talk about myself. There was lots of discussion and whining on the web, there still is, about the drudgery of teething or the 10 best things your child has taught you. This is good, it is a start, but it does not satisfy my soul.

One of my mentors told me to write what I most wanted to read. What I needed to read. Mary Oliver wrote in Wild Geese, “tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.” Your sorrow and your joys, what sustains you and what clears your mind, I want to know those things. And I think that writing about mine may give you some comfort. Having a small bead on creating this small person, this house for a soul, I wondered if there was something more than practical about the ordinary acts of mothering. I wanted to know I was not alone in yearning for something more, for a deeper connection with Spirit/God/the Universe and with other women. Feeling isolated and ashamed while living in a community kept me alert to what was missing in my life. How could I be lonely? I was always in the company of at least 3 other people and many times, more.

Catherine and Suzi 1999

I have always lived with my creativity active. It is my natural state. My life force is as a maker and I fit my making to the times. Whether I am baking intricate birthday cakes or running the Parent’s Association, knitting for babies in need or building books, I find a way to make and engage through that making. This life force has buoyed me through the worst of times. It has also given me a strength and ability to do things I never dreamed of doing. And I am convinced that supporting women in engaging their creative voices will allow them to discover tools to improve their own lives and the lives of their families.

So my original yearning to find the sacred in mothering and the dovetailing desire to express from inside mothering has provided me with work that keeps me very busy. But it also has pressed me to be accurate in how I behave, to hold my integrity foremost and to be honest about where my priorities are. My children are now 16 and 20. The demands on my time are different now and I have an opportunity to complete sentences, thoughts and projects. I am more able to find ways for my work to be in the world.

This, for me, is a revolution, a huge change from the way things have been for me. Prior to becoming a mother, I pursued a career in theatre, never quite making it, always the one not cast, called back again and again, but not cast. My creativity was fully served by my career as a seamstress, which developed in to couture work, thus my making muscles were engaged, although my heart wasn’t.

And it was my heart that demanded attention.

Engaging my creativity in the service on my own voice was something that I had never done. In the midst of mothering, I discovered I had something to say.

Now, I teach others to do the same thing. I see the ways joy enters lives that were cluttered with sorrow and shame. I see the ways creativity enlivens and expands the horizons of women who thought they’d have to wait decades before they had a chance to speak or work on their own.

Since 2009, “seeing and celebrating the sacred in daily life” has been my mission.

Finding the divine in my ordinary existence- the church of now, discovering a sense of belonging within myself and with other women who express from inside mothering, of discovering my effort is important and worthwhile for the world and not just three people, these are the riches I have gained by pressing in to my creative expression.

Taped to the cover of the spiral bound notebook that was my journal in the months of March to May 2003, is a copy of Judyth Hill’s Wage Peace. Written in response to 9/11, her poem set something in motion with in me. Judyth presented the possibility that a way of being could promote peace. I was home with two young children when the World Trade Center bombings occurred. I did not feel capable of joining teams of volunteers cleaning up rubble or comforting the grieving. I had my hands full. The loss was so great and I felt so small. I carried her poem around with me as a talisman of hope.

 

Wage peace with your listening:

hearing sirens, pray loud.

Remember your tools:

flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers.

 

Clothespins?

Flower seeds?

Clean rivers?

Surely, she had written this poem for me.

I was sure she was telling me that being a mother is enough.

I know she was right. I just had to wake up to that myself.

 

Next week, I will be away at a writing retreat. I see myself posting from there. As I prepare to leave, I will be dwelling in the heart of my yearning. I would love to hear about yours.

 

Please comment here or send me an email.

I love hearing from you.

Even if you differ from my point of view, hearing yours is a joy to me.

I appreciate your time reading me here.

 

 

With love, S

 

 

Plenty of fish in the net of my heart: Linda Gregg’s poem and what I find in my net

The Joy of Effort by Suzi Banks Baum

When summer turns toward September there are still beach towels on the laundry line, but there are also sweaters on the backs of chairs and socks where there were only flip flops last week. I sit out on my back porch with jeans on wishing for another day of full summer sun, but know that, as Linda Gregg says in her glorious poem, there are lots of fish this time in the net of the heart.

SBB and JNB by Ruth Barron 2011
JNB and me.
SBB Senior Photo 1976 by Tim O'Leary
My best friend’s brother Tim took my Senior photo. The hair, the eyebrows. Oy.

I have always been one to prolong a good thing. I am married for 21 years this past July and I am shooting for another 50 if I live that long. When I graduated from high school in 1976, I was messy mixture of DAR Good Citizen of the Year and wild child. In my Senior Will, listed in the B’s at the back of my Eskymos yearbook, I said my life wish was to “have the ultimate too much fun.” I was quoting a song that I loved that the band I hung out with (didn’t we all hang out with a band?) played at parties. That song was all I had in my mind at the moment. Forget world peace or food for the hungry, I wanted to have fun.

Oddly enough, while I live in service of women’s voices, as a mother and family member devoted to supporting and loving my people and everyone I can get my hands on, having the “ultimate too much fun” has not been a bad credo. Without realizing it, I have pressed in to the ultimate part. I am a fiercely loyal person and relentless when I have a good idea or taste going. I have been part of theatre companies working on new plays and groups devoted to various causes like rent control or lake preservation, I have banded with others, and I have worked alone. What this “ultimate too much fun” has led me to is getting off my duff and doing, especially when the doing is fun. And that means I am a hard worker. I like this about myself.

164907_592301360793684_1721969888_n
Leigh Strimback and Janet Elsbach and me, having fun at a reading of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice.
SBB at Bay Cliff by Bev Delaney
This may not look like I am having fun, but I am working Bay Cliff Health Camp in Big Bay, with Miss Terri and all the rest. Photo by Bev Delaney 1978

When I looked back at my Class of ’76 Senior Will, I was initially embarrassed to be so off color and rowdy. Couldn’t I have wished to find the cure for AIDS or to discover a new species of dragonfly? Wouldn’t it be oh so very virtuous to wish to build bridges and solve autism? I didn’t write that. I wanted to have fun.

I just turned 56 this week. I celebrated with my family and hosted a sweet evening around a campfire for my Moon Circle. We ate delicious chocolate cake with raspberries on top. Yes, I ate the last piece from the glass pan, licking the crumby layer of chocolate and red berries off my fingers. What recalls that Senior Will wish to me today is that there is no limit of cherishing something that could inspire me, like a birthday, like a raspberry, like this heavy air that promises rain on 9.11.

My birthday wish is the same as my Senior Will wish was, to have the ultimate too much fun. To work doing what I love with people I love. To meet new people and share an invitation to awaken their voices through making art and writing. To create space for women to feel permission to be their fullest selves, even on their bad days. To give voice to the inner landscape of my life as a woman who is a mother and to hold the light for others to do the same, whether that mother is here in the Berkshires or in Nigeria or cyberspace.

That sounds like a ton of fun to me. An ultimate too much fun.

What about you? What fish are in your net today?

Thank you for your birthday wishes.
I had a great day.
And I am ready to work.

All my love,

S

While searching for a way to request permission to publish Linda Gregg’s poem here on LLD, I see that her birthday is on September 9, one day after mine. Thanks to my Moon Sister Sarah for sharing this poem with me. Please read it here. If I can make contact with Linda, I will share it on Laundry Line Divine.

Motherhood, Writing and Lost Wings with Tania Pryputniewicz on Laundry Line Divine

Lost Wings, Hesitations, and Outgrowing the Metronome

 

IMG_6118 P


At our old house in the redwoods, I kept a tiny clay figure on the kitchen window ledge. A Xmas ornament I bought for my daughter at Rose and Thorn. Of course she fell from the tree: a kneeling fairy never meant for surviving a Husky, two cats, three children, and one exhausted mother alone drinking tea in the fruit-fly aura of lights on the midnight tree. Ever after, she lived on the ledge perched on a square glass bottle resting on its side full of sea glass. I kept her broken wing beside her with faith my father, the Thursday night gluer of every damaged thing, would repair her after we’d helped ourselves to his loaves of cornbread and split pea soup.

We’ve relocated so I don’t have to parent alone after three years of weekend marriage. The fairy is here, but not her wing. She’s still on the square glass bottle on my kitchen window counter. Behind her, instead of redwoods, birds of paradise and the peach belly fluff of Luna, transplanted cat, mercilessly tracking the hummingbirds hovering above the hibiscus shrub. I don’t know where in our transition we lost the wing.

IMG_3811

For the first month of our new life in Southern California, each morning I found the sunniest spot in the house and rested face down on the carpet for 45 minutes, sometimes an hour, guiltily, feeling I should be hard at it, blogging, writing, editing, you name it, because we suddenly had Wi-Fi streaming through the house.  Because the kids were in school.

But I needed those hours in the sun after the years of feeding the wood-burning stove and dwelling in the glow of pale green lichens of trunk moss and the incandescent golds of massive maple leaves against a rain-soaked hillside. You find alternate ways of seeing the light when you live in the woods. But the acts of seeing light and feeling light sate two different cravings. I had no idea I was so sun-starved until we moved.

Last month when Suzi invited me to post, I wondered what I could possibly add to the bounty already gathered on Laundry Line Divine by answering the question: How do I toggle between mother, writer, blogger, community member and in which space do I get to be fully present?

One answer is that I don’t toggle very well, especially on both sides of our relocation, juggling multiple websites and platforms, mothering 7, 10 and 12 year old children, attempting to write poetry while seeking authentic paths for divining online. Where do I get to be fully present? The honest answer is in starts and stops and by listening to my body (most overlooked but most potent nexus) at each virtual and literal location. One website, one interaction at a time. Whether feeling whole, partially present, apprehensive, overjoyed.

Back in December of 2007 when I started blogging at Feral Mom, Feral Writer, the first entry ran a couple of paragraphs long and served up a scan of the room:  an infant nurser sleeping beside my desk, yours truly writing to the ache of milk mottled breasts, and a miniscule frame on the desk with one butterfly wing in it to remind me someday I’d have enough lift to fly. Since I go in and out of feeling overwhelmed by multiple blogs, I was contemplating writing a goodbye anniversary post this coming December for Feral Mom, Feral Writer.

But I hesitated–and re-read backwards through six years of writing to that first post with one wing and realized the magical lifeline the blog has provided, bringing me one heart to heart connection at a time to the verge of something I’ve waited all my life for: publication of a first book of poetry, November Butterfly (forthcoming in 2014 from Saddle Road Press).

But more importantly, the blog gave private (ironically) room to grow in a public arena in the sheltered quiet before commenters appeared. It gave me a loose deadline to aim for while mothering. A place to write without gatekeeper. Where I could wrestle with questions of hide and reveal: how do you write about a marriage crisis neither blaming nor wounding the other (since the act of blogging through crises provides a healing lens not only for blogger, but other mother/wives walking through similar joy/pain fields)? How do you protect the privacy of your children while offering up the light of your best and hardest interactions, keeping the focus on you, feral mother, finding a way through the beautiful disorder no-one could forewarn us we’d navigate?

Always at night, day’s work done, half of the self swirling freely back over the myriad unfinished conversations, my body talks back. I make decisions, I change them. One moment I think I should stop one project in favor of another. The next, I hold them all tight. They all matter. Weighing, circling, asking which site, blog, project, or poem is next, as if they are all rooms off a central hub I can step into at will. Gauging: where is the most heat, thus desire, to engage? And then trusting that information.

Lately the fierceness of the struggle to stop the public reveal (blogging at the crossroads of exposure and inspiration) has to do with new poems that arrived over the summer. Poems I’d been unable to hear until now, though their subjects saturated every attempt at writing something else. Buried obsessions: trespasses my body refuses to forget. I want my children to surge past the age of hurt and into adulthood unmarred. The song of the foolish mother.

Would I keep my children’s lessons from them? Would I withhold my own if I could from the other side? I can’t see far enough. A wing—or veil–over my understanding. But as I grow older, after enough hours of writing in the loving company of a bevy of other writing mothers and creatives (my wingmen), forgiveness arrives. Forgiving my childhood self for not knowing better. For entering a stranger’s house. For not knowing how to unpack the secret. For passing the secret to my brother to keep back when we were kids, a burden doubled. The new poems are naked and direct.

butterfly-tiny-gold_5846-1024x662

Which explains why I lie awake in bed sensing an unfamiliar space opening behind my heart, a circular seam unraveling along the perimeter of my shoulder blades whether pressed up against bed, husband or my youngest fresh from a bad dream. I am neither troubled nor frightened, the trials of adolescence’s fairytale endured. I’m left with curiosity. Where is the lost wing? What does it look like now?

It is less image, more feeling. My back fills warmly with a grid of light. I can almost make out the pattern.

The next morning, attempting to finish this post, I return to scan Laundry Line Divine. A sliver of crossover information confirms the necessity of showing up online. In Suzi’s post on angels and yoga, These Angels Watching Over Me, she describes learning from her teacher that while we “act” with the front of our body, we “receive” with the back of our body (you must read the rest here for the full  beauty).

So I vow to pay attention. To receiving. Maybe even revel in the receiving…which is what I see happening here on Laundry Line Divine. I come here to receive. Thank you Suzi and thank you to every writer contributing here. Such light, such warmth.

For now, I’m trusting the hesitations. Thinking of all of us writing mothers as works in progress, not metronomes in wooden towers meting out rhythm for students learning how to keep time. We get to play all parts: metronome, piano, practicing student, the music itself, the listener in the crowd. And eventually the musician outgrows the metronome. Sustaining a writing life while mothering must move at a breathable, pleasurable pace.

If, like, me, you are losing or finding a wing, tell me–where is it now? What does it look like? What does your body know that you haven’t yet stopped to hear?

 


Arms-Crossed

 

A graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, Tania Pryputniewicz is the Managing Poetry Editor of The Fertile Source. Co-founding blogger for Mother, Writer, Mentor, Pryputniewicz teaches Poetry of Motherhood and Fatherhood for MWM and Transformative Blogging workshops for women at MWM, A Room of Her Own Foundation and Story Circle Network. Her debut poetry collection, November Butterfly, is forthcoming from Saddle Road Press in 2014. She is newly relocated to Coronado Island, California, with her husband, three children, one blue-eyed Siberian Husky and two tubby housecats. Visit her website for class schedules and posts written in support of the concept of Transformative Blogging.

 

%d bloggers like this: