“I Am One of the Searchers” There are, I believe,millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neitherare we really content. We continue to explore life,hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continueto explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean,taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mysteryand unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains,deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities aswell. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives asis our laughter. To share our sadness with one we loveis perhaps as great a joy as we can know. Unless it be to share our laughter.
We searchers are ambitious only for life itself, for everything beautiful it can provide.Most of all welove and want to be loved. We want to live in a relationship that will not impede our wandering, notprevent our search, nor lock us in prison walls; that will take us for what little we have to give. We donot want to have to prove ourselves to another or compete for love.
Reposted on ‘the secret keeper’
Monday 3rd February 2014
All Good Things….
There’s a trick to the ‘graceful exit.’ It begins with the vision to recognize when a job, a life stage, or a relationship is over — and let it go.
Stories, films, lives – all things come to a close. Sometimes neatly, sometimes not. And so, after nine months, I am bringing the Editor’s Corner to what I hope is a neat and graceful end.
Over the past thirty-seven weeks, we have covered topic both minute and sweeping, and yet, in the end, I find it fitting to return to the beginning. To our words.
I originally wrote the following back in March of this year as a guest piece for Karen Sanderson’s blog. I now amend, update, and present it to you as my parting thoughts. My thanks to Niamh and Plum Tree for this forum, and to all who have traveled with me on this writer’s journey. Enjoy.
You Are Your Words
We humans are creatures of custom. It frames our existence and structures our lives. In the course of my daily custom, once I begin to feel the dream-webs lift from my mind, I brew a fresh pot of tea, play with the kittens, and allow my thoughts to mosey along paths both cosmological and mundane, reasoned and stochastic. The other day, I started thinking about words.
Magical, mystical, wickedly creative, oh, the glorious power of words and we who wield them.
“In the beginning was the Word…and the Word was God.”
This is not just a Judeo-Christian notion. The Popol Vuh – Mayan Book of Creation – speaks of how Sovereign Plumed Serpent (who later became Quetzlcoatl) and Heart of Sky came together at the beginning of time:
“…And then came his [Heart of Sky’s] word, he came to Sovereign Plumed Serpent, here in the blackness, in the early dawn…. they joined their words, their thoughts….And then the earth arose because of them, it was simply their word that brought it forth….”
Quetzlcoatl by Vampire Princess
Now this notion (naturally) draws me down a whimsically syllogistic rabbit hole: The Word is divine; the divine create with words. Writers create with words; writers are divine.
Hey, makes sense to me.
Ok, we writers may not be divine, but we do cloak ourselves in Creator’s motley as comfortably as jeans and broadcloth. Mind blowing for gods to shape the universe in the round of a word, yet that’s what we do every day. Out of the chaos of random thought, the void of the blank page, we create whole worlds and the beings who live in them. Earthsea, Darkover, Yoknapatawpha County, OZ and East Egg, Wonderland and Wessex – the list of literary terrae nova are legion. Even places we think we know, like Richard Wright’s Chicago or Edith Wharton’s New York, are, in authorial hands, transformed into alien landscapes ripe for exploration.
Wizard of Earthsea by Torture Device
And so we string one word after another, counting our hours from phrase to sentence to paragraph to tome. We weave tales of myth and wonder and supernal genesis. For words are creative. With them we name things and by naming them bring them into being. They are active, breathing life into those named things, making them romp and fly and do handsprings through the treetops. They are descriptive, coloring and shaping the world that it might be recognized and marveled at in all its beauty and strangeness. And that is without even touching upon the mind and heart, the emotional power of words. The power that reaches out across our inherent aloneness and makes people feel and think and remember, even change their lives. For words are lash and cradle, warming spark and unholy conflagration. They heal and nurture, wound and kill.
Complex stuff. God stuff.
Sue Blackwell book sculpture
Which brings me to a story. More memoir than fancy (though there are tangential Dragons); just a little something I thought I’d share.
Two years ago, my book, The Dragon Keeper’s Handbook, was making its way into print. In anticipation of this event, my publisher invited me to the Book Expo of America in New York. Sign some ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies), generate book buzz, and spend two days in Gotham with all stripe of book folk – authors, publishers, agents, librarians. Commercialism be damned, for a writer, what could be more delicious?
Not to mention the swag!
A convention neophyte, I was quite unprepared for the booty laid out like Smaug’s hoard, just there for the taking. From simple promotional bookmarks and house totes, to signed copies of the year’s (hopefully) hottest titles, one was limited only by one’s interests, greed, and in the case of acquiring a major author’s John (or Jane) Hancock, no small amount of stamina. Even though I was hobbling about on a broken leg at the time, I returned home with several bags – now weekly filled with groceries – and a far from shabby passel of books. For all that, my favorite BEA keepsake was from the folks at the American Heritage Dictionary of English Language: a modest white 6” x 4” oval magnet, adorned in black Arial with the deceptively simple gnome: You Are Your Words.
Every morning since, I rub the sleep from my eyes and focus on this reminder of how I am defined by the words in my life. They are my tools, my paint and canvas, soil and seeds. I shape them, play with them, with luck make them croon like an armadillo and pirouette on the wings of a damselfly. They represent me to the world, my ideas and dreams. Whether tripping across page or tongue, they have consequences, so I must choose them with care. They are my children sent into the world, and I am responsible for them, in all their beauty or ugliness.
I am my words; my words are me.
As logophile, whimsical scribe, exacting editor, wielder of words.
As a writer.
I give you my word.
Happy Holidays, my friends. Write well.
The Last Edition of the Editor’s Corner To Go To the Archives Click On the Highlighted “Editor’s Corner”
Not fearing the voices inside of you, you won’t fear the criticism outside of you.
That is being professional.
Fear of criticism is the biggest mark of an amateur. Amateurs do not want to take
What you have in your script is laying yourself bare. So when someone is critical,
it feels the same as if they were telling you they don’t like you.
To become a great writer you have to listen to criticism.
“Not even a great writer can write the perfect script.”
Most people are not capable of giving constructive criticism. Giving your writing
to a family member is not a great idea. They will have trouble being honest. And
may not know what they are talking about.
Be open to outside criticism and that you are getting criticism from those who know
what they are talking about. They will tell you what is not working. This is helpful.
Then you know what to work on to make your writing better.
Writers should want to get constructive criticism which will improve their craft.
Highly recommend forming a writers group with some of the best writers you know.
Getting feedback from other writers, you know you are getting more accurate feedback
from under the surface because they know more about what you are doing than the
see you down the rabbit hole.
namaste! madison taylor
Private Writings: Chapter #45 — Trauma With Drama
Tuesday 22nd July 2008
I never finished going over my letter from last week. So much more to tell you. It’s a conflict. Talking about the new Trauma Group is important. Knowing a few of the women was a surprise. But it’s more important to talk to you about when I thought I had DID. The Trauma Group, I’ll save for other letters.
Awhile ago, I was told I had Dissociative Identity Disorder. The therapist who told me, encouraged me to give the alters names and develop each one’s identity, their responsibilities and characteristics. I want you to know who lived with me for many years. The first one, I feel is the most outrageous. Her name is Laura. She was the one who was conscious when the abuse happened. It happened to her. They are her memories. Ever since, what she experienced during the sexual abuse, it ingrained inside of her a learning code. It causes her to sexualize every person we get close to. Not easy to admit.
What I am about to admit to you, may sound crazy coming from me, but she is aroused by you, Annie. And that isn’t all. Laura feels obsessed with you. It isn’t her fault though.
I need to clarify further. My saying Laura is attracted and obsessed with you, doesn’t mean anyone else is. In fact, we aren’t, obsessed with you, that is. It is Laura’s thing. Not ours. We like you and feel close to you but it goes no further.
I’ve said too much. I can feel Laura feeling upset. She’s always gotten us into way too many situations.
Keep in mind, this story, I’ve been telling it to myself all these years that I feel I am or was once DID. And believing it. So did Scottie, and our closed friends thought I was just more eccentric than I already was.
Now, Meggie, she is so different. She just wants you to be her mother. Just needs love and hugs. She gets those from you in a very unobtrusive way.
Lets flip to the male side of our inner family. There’s Brad. Warning. Watch out for him. Gets extremely intense, rageful, and add anger. Why, you may ask? No trust in grown ups at all. He feels you all betray us. No offense.
Ginny is sad. What I mean is, she is removed from feelings. All she experiences is depression and deep thoughts of suicide. What sets her off the most right now is the thought of you not loving her. She is younger than all of us but she feels older.
We believed our alters were real. When we believed completely in their existence, they felt real. Not so sure anymore. They felt like they existed. We felt their presence. They always felt to me to be very young. Don’t know anymore what to believe. Except the bipolar. I know I get manic, depressed and suicidal. All the DSM IV and 5 symptoms they have well written out.
We only use the word “we” now because it’s familiar. And we, also, feel like we are shattered.
We don’t entirely feel safe with you, Annie. That’s why we don’t want to let our guard down. Testing comes first. But most of the time, we have a strong urge and need for you to know our story. For some reason it is necessary. We want someone we trust to know the complete truth. What really happened. Not just what I remember in my head.
I think we do love you. But those feelings make us feel confused about you, Annie, and about ourself.
Ask Brad if it is okay if we love you. We would like it if you would love us, too. Maybe it will help our shattered parts come together. If we were really loved by you.
Being a lesbian, we know telling you this may frighten you away. When a woman who is a lesbian loves another woman, someone who is married to a man, it can feel suspicious. But truthfully, our feeling of love is not sexual, not really. We just want to feel love. I want to believe that it isn’t bad or wrong to love and be loved by you.
Brad protects us, even against you, Annie. Women can hurt us just as much as a man.
I forgot to tell you, Meggie is too young for sex, but she knows about it.
Also, I forgot someone very important. Her name is Nessa, Ginny’s twin. Nessa lives with the heaviest depression but Ginny carries the dangerous one. She holds the suicidal feelings in her heart and it keeps breaking her.
And then there is Sandy. Our flamboyant gay male. He feels it’s a redundancy. Sandy likes the recognition and parties. Especially, likes getting high and dancing. He has no idea how he feels about you. He’s very likeable. Use to get everyone high when he would go bar hopping in NYC.
It’s a consensus. We decided you are kind, intelligent, beautiful and you have the softest, gentlest and most soothing voice we have ever heard.
We just want to get close to you. We’d like you to get close to us, too. For us, it will take a great deal of bravery. Getting close to anyone is scary as hell. So with you, it matters so much, so it makes it even scarier. We have more to lose.
You are inside our mind now. But we are still haunted with so many questions. I know you will ask what kind of questions. Simple. Is what we feel okay? Is it okay to love you? Our feelings are filled with pain. Fear is building up. Too much pressure. Love is dangerous or painful. When I love someone and trust them, two things have happened. They betray me by abusing me or they die. Either way I am hurt and abandoned.
Talking about what I feel is important. I want you to understand me. I don’t want to hold back.
What does love really feel like? How do I recognize it? Do you feel anything like love for me? I would really like the answer to that question.
No bullshit. No saying it’s transference. That is lame. Therapists cop out using that shit. What I feel is real. Don’t understand what it means. I need you to tell me it’s okay, the way I feel for you.
Honestly, I think I am in love with you. I am in love with another woman. And it hasn’t a thing to do with sex. Being “in love” to me is feeling intense feelings of love. It’s not sexual. Will I ever understand? Does anyone know what love means? Do you, Annie?
It causes so much bloody confusion.
* * * * * * *
I’m slipping in Scottie’s letter next. Following is a second letter from me.
I see you have drawn me into Madison’s therapy. If I understand, you just want some feedback on her behavior.
Certain points I feel are important. One, she forgets she needs to sleep. It doesn’t feel important to her. She escapes to her study, always writing, but rarely leaves. If not their, she’s in her studio painting.
When I get home after being away for a shoot, she follows me around as if to watch me. To see if I will magically disappear again. Sometimes she speaks to me like we have never spoken before. She has been in a fairly constant manic state recently. She is producing, which is good. Great scrips to turn into a film. Something for me to direct. Paintings to hang in our Art Gallery. But all this energy she’s using, I feel she is heading for a major crash.
I am afraid when her depression hits, it will be bleak. The darkness surrounds her, literally. I can feel it and see it. She won’t wake until after it’s dark out. She goes to sleep as soon as dawn hits the edge of the horizon. Her vampire comes out into the darkness. That’s what she’s doing.
Her mind is filled with one wish. She wants to die. It’s in her poetry and her scripts. They may be great and would make David Lynch want to do a meditation with her. She doesn’t speak, so that would be perfect. She actually throws herself into her work more when she’s in the darkness. A melancholia absorbed inside creativity.
Something is needed to shock her, to turn her around. Her body is suffering. Her Cancer treatment only stopped recently. Remember it almost killed her. Death was paying her regular visits then. It’s enough to traumatize anyone.
Let me not forget her abominable family. They want to kill her. It’s a matter of inheritance. So, they don’t leave her alone. Always finding ways to contact her. All of them scare the hell out of her except one brother and his daughter. She loves those two intensely. But the others, no way. We have people to keep them from her. It’s too complicated to get into now. But she has them crawling around in the spider webs in her mind. They creep through her brain and barge into her nightmares.
Is this enough, I hope? If she needs anyone right now, Annie, it’s you. Take the time to care for her. Gentleness and consistency, that’s what she needs. I do care deeply and I attempt to show it. But she is so damned difficult. Trying to push me away. She thinks that will work. But I won’t let her. We’re stuck in this life together, no matter what.
I have a strong suggestion. She needs to be placed on Medical Marijuana. With the Cancer Treatment she was given THC. What a change. Even though she was too weak to show signs of difference, I could tell her mood changed. She relaxed. Drank some liquids. I worry she is going to get really sick, if something doesn’t change.
Find a way for her to create but stay healthy. She’s divorced herself from her body. It is all out rejection. What happened to her body is too hard for her. And I am not talking about the Cancer.
Just help her. Please.
* * * * * * *
Private Writings: Chapter #46 — Double the Trouble
Tuesday 24th July 2008
Having time with you three times a week is fantastic. Seeing you Tuesday after the first Trauma Group on Monday, is a bit heady to process. Intense and overwhelming. Those words come to me. A mental rush. Being close to you. Having more time with you. It seems we finally have time to work. More time. I’m always wishing for more time. The effects you have on me will be more powerful. All is so good. Something in your power infuses me. I feel filled with super energy.
This letter is going to be short.
First Trauma Group. Meeting a new person I like. Her name, gone from my memory. I felt she was really drawn to you. I like her but she is too possessive of you. After group, I wanted to talk to you but she was there first and wasn’t going to share. I felt jealous. It set off a chain reaction, of the negative feelings, the confusion, and the irrational thoughts. Primary one being, feeling rejected. It isn’t rational but I felt rejected by you. You didn’t care any longer. It sent me off on an emotional roller coaster after I left. The feelings lasted until I saw you on Tuesday.
It’s okay now. She, actually, feels like someone I want to be friends with. But I don’t want her monopolizing you. What the fuck was her name. Blocked it. You will have to tell me on Monday in Trauma Group. Until then, thank you for listening.
One last thought. I wanted you to know what a great group I feel you put together. Thought I’d never be in a group again. Wrong. My Tarot reading was right. It is what I need to do now. Feelings were high, some scary, some strong, and some intensely powerful. What will be exposed in the Group is going to knock us all over, isn’t it?
Now I have to find a way to be brave enough to face my shadows and to go into the darkness. If you will figuratively hold my hand, it might help.
That’s all for now.
“Time for time and traveling with circuses must end. It is time to soar through the time barrier into all moments in the Universe.”
So, until I see you, I end with my favorite quote from the film Brief Sacrifice.
“Time can be folded and joined with all elements in all places as the one ultimate moment when time is all at once. In this place everything happens on a continual loop following into a continuum of time forever into infinity. In the “Silver Box,” there is contained the ability to draw time into itself and create the perfect infinite moment.”
I end this letter in “the moment between seconds.”