For Writer’s Island Prompt #20: Last Redwood, Survivorship
I have been on a very interesting journey for the past few weeks. I never left home, other than to get groceries, make a few visits, put gas in the car, and like activities. For the most part, I’ve been here, in front of my computer, responding to writing and poetry prompts. What a journey that has been.
I’ve kept my daily journal pages as well, and they mark the highlights of that journey like a map with zig-zagging lines that cross and intersect, or run parallel to one another. Detailing mountains and valleys, recreational parks, deserts and woodlands.
For the most part, it’s been a rather exciting trip, taking me to places I’ve never been or even dreamed of going. But, then it also dumped me out into the swamplands, that place of damp and decay, fecund smells and exotic plants I’d never seen and didn’t know if they were poisonous or would actually sustain life.
I used to tell my students that if one writes, on a regular basis, eventually the words will lead one to that place one doesn’t want to go, or be. That’s the place I call the Swamplands, where each placement of a foot is a test of nerve endings, a question mark about actual survival. One can’t know if there is solid ground beneath that thin layer of stagnant water. It could just as easily be quicksand.
And yes, I found the quicksand. That mushy place that doesn’t have a bottom, just sucks you down further and further til all the daylight disappears along with the air you need to stay alive. So, how is it that I’m here now, writing even more words when they got me into such a tight and airless place to begin with?
I’m a fool? There is that reality, yes. But, there is also the flip side of that coin, the one you toss when you decide to begin the journey of writing the words, following them wherever they might lead you. And, like I’ve already stated, eventually they will take you to that place you don’t want to go, or be. The flip side of that particular coin is that is the one place you need to go, to be whatever you will become.
The whole point of this journey of words is to find ones own person. The words seem to know that, even the mind seems to understand that, but the one holding the pen seems to be the one ingredient that doesn’t comprehend that reality. Most often convinces self that if one is fast enough, bright enough, and creative as hell, one can avoid that sink hole with ones name on it. Sorry.
Creativity is a healing energy. Writing and words are simply tools with which to explore that energy. And that energy is always aimed back at the individual, that imperfect human being who needs healing to continue, to grow, and to evolve. And so it follows that that energy will take one to those places that most need healing. Those wounded and broken places, some still oozing with infection, others scarred so often they might seem as hard as stone. And yes, one can avoid those places, put on the psychic brakes and simply say, “Okay, no more and I’m just not going there (or call it a Writing Block).”
We do that in all manner of ways. And I’ve written about it often. Just go to the search engine on this site and plug in the word resistance, or avoidance. If that’s not enough there are the topics such as comfort zones, denial, taboo words, and many others. I often write about the advantages of choosing to write, but I have never said it was easy.
Now back to that quicksand. In reality, we are told that if we should ever find ourselves in such a predicament, the best thing to do is not struggle against it, even when every cell and muscle is struggling to do just that. Instead, we should relax and attempt to spread the body over the largest area possible, thus slowing down that sinking process, and enhancing the possibility of finding a solid hand hold (a branch or outcrop) that will allow one to pull oneself up and out of that bottomless abyss of mud.
Even when that mud is no more than words? Definitely. Some of those words are sturdy branches, solid ground that allow one to put down ones weight and grab a hold of their inherent life-line. Which is why I am here, now, and not at the bottomless bottom of that patch of swampland I stepped into. And no, it wasn’t easy. I had to push myself hard to keep throwing out those words, sometimes as thick as molasses, and as heavy as granite.
Remember, I said I was responding to prompts. That means I was also reading other peoples’ responses to those prompts. I wasn’t alone inside my pool of quicksand. There were a lot of others throwing out words, ideas, ways of seeing and knowing. Their words, added to my own, filled up that pit and allowed me to actually stand up and walk away in a new direction.
A direction that marks a tremendous healing in my own life experience. One that is both freeing and informing for the continuation of my personal journey. And I am deeply grateful for that. My personal journey has always been pointed in this direction and I’ve avoided it many times. This time I chose not to do so and have come out on the other side with deeper knowing and a much wider perspective.
Not bad for an old, home-bound woman with nothing more than a computer and some words.