“making art is like blindly seeing…”
Apr26

“making art is like blindly seeing…”

“…the shape of what you don’t yet know.” —Teresita Fernandez

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“sacrifice nothing to seemliness”
Apr10

“sacrifice nothing to seemliness”

All is rather rapt, simple, quick, effective—except for my blundering on at The Waves…Still I am not satisfied. I think there is something lacking. I sacrifice nothing to seemliness. I press to my centre. I don’t care if it all is scratched out. And there is something there. I incline now to try violent shots…shouldering my way ruthlessly—and then, if nothing comes of it—anyhow I have examined the possibilities.   —Rodmell—Boxing Day, 1930, A Writer’s Diary...

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“my courage always rises”
Dec16

“my courage always rises”

  There is a stubbornness about me that never can bear to be frightened at the will of others. My courage always rises at every attempt to intimidate me. —Jane...

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the reach of a poem
Dec10

the reach of a poem

“In Chinese time, it’s circular – it’s not even circular, it can go backwards! It can go backwards, it can go forward. It goes all over the place, it looks more like an infinity sign, like that. So there is a myth that poets have that my reader will come a thousand years from now. . . . Poem can also reach reader born 1,000 years before the poem. . . . An act of love I do this morning saves a life on a far future battlefield. And the surprising love I feel that saves my life comes from a person whose soul, somehow corresponding with my soul, was doing me a good deed 1,000 years ago.” —Maxine Hong Kingston, AROHO 2015 Waves...

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a season of conscious waiting
Dec09

a season of conscious waiting

  “The absolutely wrong thing to attempt when we’ve lost focus is to rush about struggling to pack it all back together again. Rushing is not the thing to do…Sitting and rocking is the thing to do. Patience, peace, and rocking renew ideas. Just holding the idea and the patience to rock it are what some women might call a luxury. Wild Woman says it is a necessity.”   Clarissa Pinkola Estes, from Women Who Run With The Wolves No matter what holy days each of us celebrates, or not, I imagine that most of us share the experience of the scattering of our attentions as the wheel of the year turns. Days as we design them are dismantled, routines rearrange themselves and there seems to be not a thing in this world we can do to stop it. “You’re always trying to outwit ambush,” a best-beloved friend once said to me, “and it can’t be done.” We can’t get to our rooms, our desks, our pages. We are not wrong to care about our own pages the way we do. We need them. I don’t mean to say “we” out of turn, but I imagine that our need to do our work is one of the ways in which we are most like-minded. Myself, I started scheming back in July about how to outwit the holidays and keep my regular writing work week. Of course it hasn’t worked. Of course it’s easy to get all fretted up about that. As another friend told me, “The holidays are bigger. They always win.” But one of the most sane things I learned to do while I had my Gift of Freedom years, was to wait. Conscious waiting is the opposite of getting all fretted up, but it is not the opposite of work—it is a natural and inevitable part of it. It is part of the cycle of the work, which like everything else shapes itself according to the laws of nature. Cycles of increase and decrease, of forward motion and pause, of holding on and letting go—all these come to us and our work, whether we see them in terms of cycle or not. But how much easier they are to embrace and to let go when we know that the wheel brings it all back around. Those same cycles come to us in our solitary work on the page, and in our community work. As the new year comes in, AROHO is humming in the cocoon, re-imagining and re-shaping itself toward the goal of ever-widening the conversation and amplifying the voices of creative women. We are doing it,...

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“One of the few things I know about writing”
Nov04

“One of the few things I know about writing”

“One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all, right away, every time. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” —Annie Dillard, The Writing...

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“i had no model”
Nov03

“i had no model”

“…come celebrate with me that everyday something has tried to kill me and has failed.” Lucille Clifton, “won’t you celebrate with me”...

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“no woman has ever written enough”
Jun15

“no woman has ever written enough”

“No black woman writer in this culture can write ‘too much.’ Indeed, no woman writer can write ‘too much’… No woman has ever written enough.” –bell...

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“keep the channel open”
Jun15

“keep the channel open”

There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open.” Martha...

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explore “places rough to reach”
Jun07

explore “places rough to reach”

“Here is some sun. Some. Now off into the places rough to reach. Though dry, though drowsy, all unwillingly a-wobble, into the dissonant and dangerous crescendo. Your work, that was done, to be done to be done to be done.” —Gwendolyn Brooks, “To the...

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embrace what is daunting
May27

embrace what is daunting

“I still remember the shudder when I sensed a knowing as pure as fact—that I might only truly become my fullest self if I explored and stayed open to moving through daunting terrain…I wanted to explore in writing what I was beginning to sense about life—that discoveries, innovations, and creative endeavors often, perhaps even only, come from uncommon ground. In hindsight, I realize that I was focused on improbable rises because I was beginning to live with the gift of what it means to be underestimated…A division line positions creativity, innovation and discoveries as a separate, even elite, category of human endeavor: chosen, lived out by a few. Yet our stories challenge this separation. If we each have the capacity to convert the excruciating into an advantage, it is because this creative process is crucial for pathmaking of all kinds…Partial ideas do exist—resilience, reinvention, and grit—but there’s no one word to describe the passing yet vital, constant truth that just when it looks like winter, it is spring.” Sarah Lewis, The Rise Creativity, the Gift of Failure and the Search for...

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