Over and around my desk I have a collection of dolls and masks. Not creepy dolls that you buy on home shopping networks, but hand-sewn dolls I bought in Mexico about ten years ago. There are several masks from different places in my travels and a few other pieces of art that speak to me This morning as I was struggling with words I looked up and it was almost as if all these dolls and masks were watching me, and I was noticing for the first time. Kind of creepy, but also inspiring. Everything above my desk was made by creative hands, painters, artists, carvers, those who had a gift they wanted to share and I have their gifts over me as I work on mine. I especially love an Aboriginal painting my -boyfriend brought me from Australia. It is of a creation myth, something the artist learned in Dreaming, about the creation of women. And HELLO! Writing about that just helped me figure out a plot point I've been chewing on. Man, I am fucking brilliant sometimes.
My life is quiet these days, routine and lovely. I wake up early, write then go to work. In the afternoons I exercise, make dinner and in the evening I sit around in quiet contemplation, with a glass of red wine and dark chocolate. I go to bed early, thinking about my novel and the characters, the myths they are a part of. I dream deeply, no insomnia or tension in me and when the alarm goes off I'm ready to write.
Last night in my dreams I revisited my recent past and saw had I continued on the same trajectory nothing would have changed and the unclaimed, un-named pain in me would still be manifesting itself through insomnia, eczema, TMJ; all the ways my body was telling me I was suffering needlessly. And yet, nostalgia is a beast and there is one little beast in particular I miss. But, onwards and upwards, and strangely enough, joyfully.
I've started teaching creative writing to teenagers with a couple of friends. Wow. I want to cry after each class because the students are so amazing. They're smart, sharp, funny and they slay me with what they write. Last night I had them write love letters to themselves. Then, if they wanted to, they could read them aloud. Some of the things the kids wrote floored me, I had to admonish myself not to cry, remind myself that I'm not some cheesy teacher in a made-for-tv movie who is saving their lives. But, wow. We're teaching in a homeless shelter downtown, all of the students live there. They are so fucking cool, these kids. So smart. When I leave I'm high from their energy and my face hurts from smiling. As tired as I am after work I can't wait to get to them and see what they have to share.
Loving Andrea Echeverri's new album, Dos. I've always loved her and silly as this may sound, I feel like I've been growing up along with her. In my earlier years of listening to her music, both she and the music and I had sharp edges, were a little aggressive but fun. Now we've all mellowed out and are more in a state of peace with ourselves.