Dance … On Writers Block

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There is, hiding within, a song that needs to be sung, a shout that needs to come out, and tears that yearn to water the fallow ground.
Awake fettered soul, and release the characters who will sell out about the City. The one that has foundations.

In my slumber I remember the ones who know how the story goes.

– The yellow ball who finds a boy.

– The African sun that sets on twelve young boys and girls, now fully loved out of a lifetime of huffing and fully protected from guerrilla warfare.

– Two women, sworn friends for life until death swallows the one and her yet single friend takes guardianship of her now orphaned sons.

They are there at the edge of the City; one by one they slide down the ripple of the sinking sun. “My story friends!”, I cried. Out of reach I’ll never be able to love them into stories now.Their voices a silhouette as I shrink within myself.

It’s then that I hear the still small Voice beckoning to me.
“Don’t be dismayed, Little One, when the storms broil. Rather partner with the sparrow who knows not what the morrow brings.
The edifice you are building requires more of you each day.
On the ground you lay, willing its foundations to come forth.
You lean on it’s walls only to discover they are doors beckoning you beyond.
Have you forgotten how to entice your friends into their stories?
Take hold, Beloved.
Grasp for their history. Lean into their tale. Wind it around yourself like a veil and stay within until they come to fore.
Cause them to sing.
Your people will weep if you will weep.
They will dance in the moonlight if you will lead them.”

“Though your reason for living feels a distant tune sung by someone else, and you consider relinquishing your call..
Press in, Beloved.
Wrest the sleep from your eyes and pierce your own heart with their tale and soon you’ll know how they go.
Soon you’ll beat out the rhythm of their heartbeat and they’ll rattle to life.
You’ll whistle their wanderings and they’ll stand upon their emptied graves and cry “Sing it again!” and “Shout some more!”
And soon you’ll know how the stories go.
Dance, Beloved. Dance.”

An Attic of Memories

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Perhaps one of the most enjoyable aspects of writing, for me, is that of stepping into the creative process and pushing out the story from the inside. Sometimes a story can be hidden deep inside, wrapped in the dusty cloths of memory, or filed in a cabinet under “Useless Data”. My job as a writer is to sift through the minutae and retrieve the meaningful pieces of a conversation, a setting, the clothing a person wore, or the aromas resident to a distant land.

When I was a young teen, my friend and I would spend whole afternoons up in the attic of my childhood home. The attic of that house in Northern Michigan was neither heated nor cooled and, for some reason this didn’t deter us from sifting through boxes, bags, drawers and trunks of our family’s past. On one such occasion, we pulled out Mom’s wedding dress which she had not preserved. I was in awe. It did not matter that the dress was in a terrific state of disrepair. I could only run my hands over the slippery satin, oblivious to the fact that it could never be worn. I was, after all, a young girl with idealistic dreams of garden weddings and flowers and, of course! Mr. Right. The dress stirred up giggles and hopes. Plans for our futures.

Embarking on this avocation as a writer, and I’m back up in the attic of my life. I’m sifting through books not treasured enough to keep in my bookshelves, clothing that is back in style again (two words: leg warmers). The clutter from my past stirs the sweetest of memories. Bitter memories have long been eclipsed with love. Somehow the minutae matters in the making of a great story.

Come to think of it, minutae always matters.