Not To Prompt, But Then…

 

For Writer’s Island Prompt #20: Last Redwood, Survivorship
http://writersisland.wordpress.com/

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.

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About 1sojournal

Loves words and language. Dances on paper to her own inner music. Loves to share and keeps several blogs to facilitate that. They can be found here: https://1sojournal.wordpress.com/ http://soulsmusic.wordpress.com/ http://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/
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24 Responses to Not To Prompt, But Then…

  1. vivinfrance says:

    “take you to that place you don’t want to go, or be. ”
    Weeell, the Writer’s Island prompt this morning surely took me to that place. Twice. And I’m absolutely not going there again. So I’m not surprised you declined to play this game. You have the write (!) idea – write it out of your system.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Lol, I absolutely love you woman. And write it out into the open, I did. Now, at least I can see it more clearly and with even a bit of calmness. That Last Redwood was just too heavy on top of all of this. Yet, even as I finished it, I had to admit that it was to prompt because it was about surviving and flourishing right where one has been rooted.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  2. systematicweasel says:

    Interesting thoughts! Eventually we all have to take that journey at our own time. Wonderful post! =)

    -Weasel

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Weasel, if one writes, one is on that journey. And yes, there is some choice involved, but then there comes a day when time and the choices run out, and one is simply there.

      Thanks for the comments and I really liked your story,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  3. Deborah says:

    What a wonderful peice of writing, insightful, inspiring and using the creativity of words just brilliantly … I loved reading this!

    Like

  4. 1sojournal says:

    Thank you much Deborah, I’m glad you found it enoyable and hopefully inspiring. That is what this site was set up to do. It’s good to know when that is accomplished,

    Elizabeth

    Like

  5. anthonynorth says:

    Great words, and so true. Writing is the best form of therapy – I’ve done it almost every day for the last quarter century – and it has certainly taken me around myself.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      I started smiling when I read this, Anthony. I once wrote a poem about how I used to walk around myself trying to find the way in, only to pick up a pen and find a wide open threshold. But, that isn’t the only place it’s taken you. You have an incredibly clear and distinct voice, backed by a deep sense of order and rightness that you offer to all the rest of the world freely. That’s what a quarter of a century has given you. And I, for one, am so glad. Thank you,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  6. gospelwriter says:

    You write yourself in and you write yourself out again…

    But something happens in the swamplands, some form of alchemy – some mixture of words (expression) with wordlessness (not everything can be expressed in words). Coming out we feel what happened there, and out of that feeling arises some form of translation of the experience into words our consciousness can understand, and that allows us to transmit the soul of our experience to other humans. That’s how it feels to me (speaking strictly for me, of course).

    Incidentally, your swamplands is pretty close to my void, as when I said (8/31/10):

    take me to the void
    show me the heart of emptiness
    that I may fill my cup

    Yeah, and a great post, yours.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Ruth, I remember that post and also remember that I felt the stress there and was worried about you. I shouldn’t have been. The word ‘void’ is always an alarm bell for me, for other personal reasons.

      “You write yourself in and you write yourself out again.” So very often the writing is a duplicate of walking the labrinth. I’ve done that several times and the process is the same. And it always clarifies and brings knowledge with it. You are absolutely correct in defining it as some form of alchemy, a mixture of soul with heart and mind that moves one into a wider space. And we are so blessed because that is so. Thank you for your words, Ruth.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  7. Jaycee says:

    I love your prose about writing being like quicksand which sinks us in until we can see daylight no more. I enjoyed reading the whole thing.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Thank you Jaycee. I’m glad you enjoyed it. And it can be like quicksand sometimes. Not all the time, or no one would write at all. I just find that when things get really heavy in my personal life, the best thing for me to do is write and let the words and my subconscious do their work. That’s when I sometimes feel as though I am in it for the ride and will end up right where I’m supposed to be, whether I want to or not.

      This time I could feel myself getting in deeper and deeper. I felt edgy and got quite moody. Then actually heard myself say, maybe I should stop writing for a while. And that made no sense because I love to write. And that alone was a big clue. So, I pushed and found the quicksand and all those words pulling me up again.

      Thanks for your comments and hope you come back again,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  8. wayne says:

    really like what you wrote here…thanks

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Glad you liked it Wayne. It was one of those do the prompt, or do what I really want to do? And you can obviously see the outcome. Writers can get just as tangled up as anyone else does. For the most part, writing makes me feel good and free, but sometimes it really does take me where I don’t want to be, but need to be more than anything else.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  9. pamela says:

    Oh my goodness, Elizabeth, you have done it again and
    shed some light into my life!
    Wonderful post and thanks for that.
    Pamela

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      You are more than welcome, Pamela. Viv and others were saying that the prompts seemed to be getting down somehow. We do pick up the emotions of others when we read their words. If life is wonderful and great, it doesn’t really make a difference. But, if life is difficult or a bit slippery, it can become a bit of a downhill slide.

      I love poetry and do more of that it seems, at the moment. So it’s good to give myself a change of scene by writing prose. It works for me, just like getting up and taking a walk helps those that can do that. I would think it works a lot like your automatic writing exercise does. And by the way, I’m going to try that myself soon. It sounds interesting and intriguing.

      Thanks Pamela,

      Elizabeth

      Like

  10. Jane says:

    Hi Elizabeth–

    Thought you might like the title (and actual book, for that matter) of Cheri Huber’s book…..

    “When You’re Falling, Dive…Acceptance, Freedom, and Possibility.”

    Jane

    Like

  11. “Some words,” so simple and so profound. Thank you for sharing what you know and what you have learned. You are right sometimes it can be scary and sometimes healing. Who can say? But what is probably most important is that we continue, on the journey, even when we have no compass, or no map. One step at a time, the road is not straight. Somehow in your words, you reveal the struggle, and I am encouraged, I am not alone.

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Annell,

      We are never truly alone. It may feel like it at times, but feelings are not facts. They are simply barometers of what’s really going on. But, all too often we forget to just read them and then prepare appropriately for whatever weather they are forecasting.

      And yes, this one was a very real struggle, a roller coaster ride of emotions and a ton of overanalyzing to help them along. I did the whole schmole and more. But, I also kept right on writing and it actually worked, better than I could have ever imagined.

      Elizabeth

      Like

  12. tillybud says:

    This was a really interesting read; thanks for the peek.

    Like

  13. 1sojournal says:

    Thanks Tillybud, that teacher in me is just too ornery to actually retired gracefully, I guess. She keeps coming back and teaching me the fine points. Guess I’ll have to bring her an apple one of these days.

    Elizabeth

    Like

  14. jinksy says:

    Words invade my mind, and need to find their way onto a page, be it paper or screen, for until they do, I cannot rest easy. But there are always more waiting for their freedom, for they have an urge to travel, whereas I am by nature a hermit! Thank goodness for Blogland…

    Like

    • 1sojournal says:

      Jinksy, I have called myself a quasi-hermit for years, and mean it seriously. I love words, even though some of them scare the pants off me. And the ones that scare me have a tendency to stick around until I get up enough courage, or whatever, to use them. Most often that ends up as a surprise and a bit of satisfaction for me and those words because, as you said, they do love to travel. And I so agree about Blogland. What a wonderful time and place to be alive in, yes?

      Elizabeth

      Like

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