At yoga, my smart teacher Christina said, "Tension masks sensation."
She was talking about tension within the body, of course. I thought about writing too. If we're tense we can't relax into writing from our senses--from those places deep within us, the well, from where we experience the world. We're shut off if we're uptight. I believe that trust and a sense of safety are essential for a good writing workshop--and a good yoga class and a good life.
Last night, Natalie Goldberg read at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham, North Carolina. She opened by saying something like, Wow this is my first time in the South and THERE ARE PEOPLE HERE--as if she were stunned that people in the South not only 1) know how to read but 2) know how to come out to a reading. She was kidding, sort of. But all night she kept up this provincialism, which was annoying and distracting especially because she had so much great stuff to say, like: Memoir is a study of the movement of the mind. We don't remember chronologically. We smell a lilac and remember sitting over a bowl of cabbage soup 20 years ago.
She said: "Sit down, pick up a pen, and kick ass." Amen, sister.
Here are two photos from the Mining for Gold Writing Workshop I taught over the weekend, through the Resource Center for Women and Ministry in the South. These people sat down, picked up their pens and, well, did it.
They kicked ass.
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