Category Archives: Writing

Begin Doing What You Want to Do Now

Begin doing what you want to do now. We are not living in eternity. We have only this moment, sparking like a star in our hand-and melting like a snowflake… ~Sir Francis Bacon

I’m reading ‘The Vintage Years: Finding Your Inner Artist (Writer, Musician, Visual Artist) After Sixty’ by Francine Toder, PhD

Apparently when the author was well into her 60s she began to play the cello. In her book she tells the story of an 89-year-old woman who took part in Francine’s research project. In return for her participation this woman was given free cello lessons. Seems she took to playing cello and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.

I have been listening to fiddle music for years. Recently I started asking fiddlers how they began to play, what its like for them to jam with a group of other musicians, and what their advice is on getting started as a fiddler.

Just before Christmas I looked for a used fiddle at the local thrift store but no luck. Then, my daughter surprised me with a used fiddle for my birthday!

I’m all Swing, so playing the fiddle seems like a natural for me. I have played the piano and guitar a bit over the course of my life, even taken some lessons and played a couple of pieces in recital. Fiddle just seems like so much fun!

I talked to a few fiddle instructors locally. One of them said to me after listening to me talk about my long-standing desire to play the fiddle,

Mary Alice, I would just pick up the fiddle and play. Don’t worry about lessons for now. With your playful nature the best approach is for you to fiddle around. Later on you might want to take a lesson but for now just get the feel of the instrument, and play!


Whether its writing, fiddling, painting or any other form of play and creativity:

Begin Doing What You Want to Do Now

 

I WRITE (CREATE) WHEN I AM BUSY, TEARY-EYED, JOYFUL, OR OTHERWISE ENGAGED

I am finding that I can write just about anywhere and under any circumstance when I embrace imperfection.

There are times in my life when I haven’t written in my journal.

One of the longest periods of time of not writing was during my surrogate pregnancy.

Two years after the giving birth and relinquishing my newborn to his adoptive mom and dad, I began to record my dreams, I also started to write daily in my journal. I’ve been writing ever since and have stacks of journals in my play studio that I go back to again and again for reflection and inspiration.

Stories have to be told or they die, and when they die, we can’t remember who we are and why we’re here. ~Sue Monk Kidd

I spoke to my surrogate son, Bobby, just a few weeks ago. He told me during our two-hour call that at an early age he realized that he looked very different than his parents. He asked about his beginnings. He told me, they just kept putting me off.

As our phone call was coming to a close, Bobby said, now that I know my story I have something I can tell people about who I am.

I asked Bobby if he ever writes in a journal. He said he hadn’t written since graduating from university with a degree in journalism. I suggested that he consider writing again saying, now that you know more about your beginnings you have a story to remember and to share with others.

It took a great deal of courage for Bobby to call me. All his adoptive mom and dad had told him up til the time of our call was, her name is Mary.

Bobby’s courage en-courages me to write imperfectly. To write about who I am becoming and the life experiences I am called to share.

 

We Remember Moments

Many of you undoubtedly have read Natalie Goldberg’s Writing from the Bones. Natalie’s book is celebrating its 30th anniversary and sits on a special spot on my bookshelf.

Indeed, when I visited Taos I sat and wrote in the very chair that Natalie uses to sit on and write.

One of the writing exercises that I have used as a prompt for years is:

I Remember…

Let me give it a whirl right now:

I remember when I walked to St. John’s church hall hoping to find someone there so I could sign-up to become a brownie (girl scout) and no one was there to do sign-ups. I remember my disappointment.

I remember making love in a hollowed out tree in the rain forest.

I remember the ‘White Hawk’ dream that woke me on the morning of my wedding day.

I remember when my oldest daughter gave birth to her daughter and my first grandchild.

I remember when I made a special trip to go visit periwinkle and say goodbye before I moved from the Northwest to California for a second time.

and that’s just for starters….

Now its your turn:

I Remember…

 

Do You Notice that the Same Stuff Keeps Spiraling Around

Falling apart is alchemical, a process of dis-memberment that promises repair, re-membering, and growth.

Re-membering what is important, what matters most, what you are called to attend to, what to love, what to share with others lovingly again and again.

Starting over again and again offers me continuous opportunities to play with, cycle through, spiral around what is not completely done with me.

Do you ever notice that the same issues keep coming up again and again?

What are the issues that you re-play over and over?

Throughout my life I keep spiraling around:

  • Not Being Heard and Seen by Others
  • Recurring Dreams of Betrayal, Woundedness, and Criticism

 

Being Seen and Heard

A few years ago I was in an ongoing dance group. During one dance someone in the group started to shout, I want to be seen and heard! This proclamation was followed by others until we were all shouting out what we needed most, I want to be seen and heard!

It seems there is a human need to be acknowledged. To be seen and heard. Really seen and heard for who we are and who we are becoming… (not for what others want us to be).

Recurring Dreams of Betrayal, Woundedness, and Criticism

For many years I have been receiving a recurring dream where other dream figures representative of my tribe criticize and berate me. I have just begun to write about my shadow (what is hidden from my conscious view) and how my recurring dreams are helping me to find my way to acceptance and forgiveness.

Some Prompts for Reflection on What it Means to ‘Fall Apart:

What if, falling apart is …

In my world falling apart is…

I feel like I’m being ripped wide open when…

I am…


WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?
   $12  Buy Now

I also offer one-on-one mentoring & creative coaching:

WORK/WITH MELEARN ‘the ART OF PLAYING IN THE EVERYDAY’

Find out about our MEMOIR PROJECT

 

Play On. Hearts Beat. There is Life. Write from the Heart.

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart. ~William Wordsworth

Write from the Heart

Inspired by Melodie Ramone’s writing:

Open up. Don’t listen to other people’s opinions. Write in your unique voice. Write standing up. Write when you are sad, depressed, and couldn’t care less. Write when you are feel joyful, hopeful, and willing. Write on torn off pieces of your journal, on paper napkins stained with coffee, in the books you read. Paint on rocks and share them with others. Write and read your writing out loud to yourself, to your best friend, to your dog, to Tree in your backyard. Write down your dreams and listen. Write down what your dreams are telling you and then change your dream by writing some more. Put on costumes and march to a different drummer. Share your writing. Don’t be afraid. It’s all good. Listen to music and write. Dance and write. Take a walk in the woods and sit down on a log and write. Get down on your knees in the sand and write. Write with your children and grandchildren. Write as you are not who others think you should be. Write fearlessly. Write courageously and often. Write because you must. Write it all down and then say some more. Write as if you are writing a letter to your best friend. Write and don’t hold back anything. Write and pulsate as you tap on the words on the computer. Write rhythmically and when you feel like it push the river. Write as if you aren’t afraid of a broken heart. Write with as much of your life force as you can muster. Write as the BEAUTIFULLY BROKEN WIDE OPEN PERSON YOU ARE. ~So Much Love, Mary Alice


WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?
   $12  Buy Now

I also offer one-on-one mentoring & creative coaching:

WORK/WITH MELEARN ‘the ART OF PLAYING IN THE EVERYDAY’

Find out about our MEMOIR PROJECT

A Love Affair with Writing and Creativity (Not Knowing What You are Doing)

Sometimes it just drops in * active possibility * writer’s advantage

As I was sitting on the couch this morning writing I began to wonder,

What does it feel like to fall in love?

I continued to write in my journal and realized that I am in love. In love with writing. In love with my playful, creative journey.

My own experience is that falling in love has the quality of dropping down Alice’s rabbit hole.

Besides my own experience of falling in love, I have witnessed many of my friends become suddenly and seemingly out of control * acting crazy * not knowing what they are doing.

When you are falling in love your beloved is unique to YOU.

When you are falling in love adversity brings you closer. You get all fired up! You want to be together all the time and you can do this because you are energized and motivated to be together.

When you are falling in love there is an attraction * commitment * an investment that can seem like an obsession like no other.

Becoming aware that I am falling in love with writing and my own playful, creative process is no small matter. My state, this crazy state of being in love, means that I am open to dropping down into the depths where, it is possible, I may remain without opportunity for recovery. That is, if I enter into my love affair and lose myself entirely to that liminal space.

Right now I am available and open to a commitment. I’m willing to invest my time because I am committed to creating new pieces of writing. There is an attraction, a calling that I can’t dismiss.  Writing and creating new projects energizes me when I am tending what is unique only to me as the writer and creator.

I have been writing personal narrative and my memoir since the 90s. There is a certain amount of obsessiveness related to writing about my personal experience and story. Thoughts of the son I relinquished in 1987 have preoccupied me over many years. I wrote my doctoral thesis on surrogacy and also created a selchie dance and video which shares my personal story through the lens of the selchie (seal-woman) myth. As I continued to write I began to write a more detailed version of my story in 2004 in the form of a memoir which now is an edited draft manuscript. My memoir is now part of a larger memoir project and I am working toward completing my story this year. I am performing my story and being transformed through the writing and performative process.

My writing and core life story are coming around full circle. The son I relinquished almost 30 years ago has contacted me. He now knows his story and my story is being flushed out in ways that are magical, healing, and transformative. There is magic in new beginnings that happen to us moment-to-moment. When anyone falls in love with their creative process, their muse, their beloved, it is certain to be a crazy time of upheaval and uncertainty and also a time of meaning, and purpose, and transformation.

Some writing * creative prompts for you to play with:

  • I want to spend all my time ________________.
  • I feel renewed and highly motivated when I…
  • I am committed to…
  • I am open to ….

WANT A WAY TO ADD 21-DAY ‘START WRITING YOUR MEMOIR’  IMAGES AND PROMPTS TO YOUR JOURNAL WITH EASE?
 
   $12  Buy Now

I also offer one-on-one mentoring & creative coaching:

WORK/WITH MELEARN ‘the ART OF PLAYING IN THE EVERYDAY’

Find out about our MEMOIR PROJECT