It would be so easy to beat myself up.
Goodness knows I have enough practice.
Once again I am less than a week to go before our July #5for5BrainDump is starting and once again I haven’t given it, the process and the people waiting for it, the due justice it deserves. I can’t explain it. I don’t want to say laziness though the other obvious option is flat out fear which I don’t like to state because that’s just too easy a fall back.
I take another sip of coffee and look out the window instead, wish my kid would apply for some job somewhere and make some money. I always did when I was a kid, I didn’t need nudging and cajoling. It’s a different world now and I need to focus on #5for5BrainDump in these five minutes, not veer off course as is my usual norm.
I am ready for the unusual norm.
The world is ready for its unusual norm, aren’t we?
I cover my hands with my face.
I look at an image from a children’s book I cut out to make art with a while back.
The girls are upset and turn their backs on each other and are in the beginnings of walking away. They are still close enough to turn and hug each other. “There is still time!” I want to shake them.
“Don’t let too much time go by!”
And I look in the mirror at my wrinkles and lack of caring about how my ahir looks and I have a broadcast in 27 minutes.
“Be authentic” my ass. When I don’t take a minute to care about how I look – when I don’t take a minute to care if the world knows about #5for5BrainDump and how powerful it is, I invite myself to continue the spiral of self-destructive “see? You really do suck” residue.
So beloveds reading this – we are starting again this Monday at 11 am with a session on Periscope. I may add other sessions using other platforms, but for now this is the one.
I got this blog post written. It took about six minutes. I don’t feel better yet but I know I will. Eventually.
Yesterday I discovered a trending hashtag by accident: #IWriteBecause.
I learned an organization started the campaign to connect writers and raise money for Room to Read - See Details and Video's that have been submitted at the Reedsy HQ Link here -
Now - here's my 5 minute Brain Dump with video to follow:
I write because I have known since I was a little girl the value of stories.
I would dictate my stories to my mother, who would tirelessly scribe them and I would copy them, awkwardly, in crayon on construction paper.
On road trips I would sit between my brothers in the backseat of our turquoise country squire and write what I now know to be cursive e’s across the page for hours. “I’m writing!” I would sing. I am writing!
The page always listens. My pencil never leaves me.
Last night I was talking with my love, apologizing for my sometimes habit of writing in my head. I might seem like I am present, but I am writing – practicing word combinations rather than being hurt by what is showing its face around me.
Writing has helped me detangle some very unpleasant relationship problems. I write because via words, clarity is found – over and over again.
I write because there are many who can’t and my speaking up on their behalf in advocacy makes a difference. So many people won’t or can’t write what needs to be said.
I write because it helps me feel more brave. Courage, so important today when fear is so readily accessible and optimism is often elusive.
I write because it always makes me feel better than before I started writing: even when I write in five minute chunks or while waiting to visit the doctor or after a yoga session or while sitting by the river.
I write because the world is waiting for my words. It is my privilege to provide them.
Today's unexpected irony: this morning I happily collected the quote below, felt inspired, wrote an intro, set my timer and promptly got called away by duty and tasks.
My mind minions kept attempting to get my attention to write and my taskety task master's kept me focused on whatever was right in front of me. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, just a part
Here it is, a full eight hours and lots of activities later and I am about to write.
“If we see an object as a 'bowl,' it may inhibit seeing it as 'craft,' just as seeing it as 'craft' might inhibit seeing it as 'art.' See first; name later.”
It’s been a long time since I allowed myself the simple luxury of sitting at my table on a Saturday morning, writing. “Too much to do on Saturdays!” I would oft lament, rushing around, my hair flying behind me obviously electrified by my stress thoughts of “too much.”
This morning I listen to a dog barking in a far-away back yard. I hear flies buzzing in the sea of fallen mulberries and the sprinklers droplets, attempting to tame – something.
I’m reminded of Darby Bannard’s words “If we see an object as a 'bowl,' it may inhibit seeing it as 'craft,' just as seeing it as 'craft' might inhibit seeing it as 'art.' See first; name later.”
Saturday morning: what do I see, hear, smell, feel, taste, touch, feel emotionally?
Set the timer for 5 minutes and… go.
(Eight hours later, I write...)
Right outside my front door. Purple splotches in concrete, an annual celebration of life and this year, the most purple splotches I have ever seen in the last twenty-six years. It is a splotch factory yet slightly cleaner and less buzzing with flies than earlier today.
I’ve been taking care to not infuriate whatever is left of the good nature of my neighbors who abhor my mulberry tree who is finally, this year, weeping as she is meant to weep. Her limbs sweep to the soil, the grass there the greenest of my lawn.
Mulberries are a super food and their juices replenish the tired clay that would be desert was it not for our relentless domestication and insistence we make our yard look like a yard in a more gentle climate.
Lavender, her purple compatriot, thrives against my neighbor’s driveway. I think maybe it is time to move some of that into the backyard. It is a haven for bees and we need to treasure and feed and love our bee population.
Rosemary, my favorite. My homage to Martha Stewart.
I realize I have named everything. I haven’t listened fully to the directions or perhaps it just isn’t deep enough.
There are more five minute segments left in which to “do it right” with my writing.
I remind myself, “There is no right or wrong, there is simply and purely moving my fingers on the keyboard as I am doing now. When I do this, all becomes nearly instantly right with the world no matter what circumstances attempt to tell me differently.
Applause. Job well done.
This online timer is my biggest fan. When I get one that includes a standing ovation pop up emoji, I will have truly arrived.
“It is important that awake people be awake.”
I opened the windows around my writing space this morning after I took William Stafford’s words to heart. I set my timer and make sure the font is big enough to read without my glasses on, as I get older it is more challenging to read from my keyboard to the laptop’s smallish monitor.
I notice the sky is a dusky tangerine color along the horizon’s edge, as if the day wasn’t sure it really wanted to break.
Perhaps I ought to open my front door and step on my lawn, bringing William Stafford’s words with me. Perhaps Stafford was lecturing himself, too, when he wrote of sleeping resources in language and describes a poet’s wished for accomplishments.
I wonder what it would be like to talk to such a poet.
I remember how I was too afraid to approach Juan Felipe Herrerra as others pressed in, close, to speak with him. I held back, slightly embarrassed to be fan-girling him. It has been a year for being like a teen-girl chasing after boy-band-poets who, when seen on the street might be accountants or restaurant reviewers or computer technicians.
Poets, I suppose, hold secrets in their incognito appearances.
The tangerine is turning into the palest grey pink as the sky agrees it must do what it must do.
My task, as a poet-mommy-creative-citizen is to wake up to this day. To say yes to what appears and negotiate that yes with grace. Recognize everyone else is doing her or his or their best and embrace each emotion as it reaches into my eyelids.
Don’t be afraid, be excited. Make Samuel a Nutella sandwich to nibble before he walks to school. Fully enjoy the rest of the first cup of coffee. Water the front lawn.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed-media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon! To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.
NOTE: To watch the livestream of #5for5BrainDump, it is included beneath my writing. You may write along with me, almost live. Let me know what surfaces in your "in between space"
When I think about the “in between space” – just yesterday I learned another term for it – I think of Rumi’s field.
Do you know Rumi? If you don’t, hearing about his field means nothing.
He is an incredible poet and below my brain dump I’ll list a couple of my favorite quotes from him, but this is the one that has perpetually holds space in my heart:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
And right doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
when the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”
Note to You (and me)
My writing got interrupted by a strange assortment of people walking up to my neighbor’s house. This is typical when we are trying to write or take action on our goals or think more deeply than we are accustomed to – our focus is lifted from our heart’s task to something else that will keep us comfortably ensconced in the status quo.
I am going to get up from my seat, stretch, refill my water and come back, refreshed, and start again.
My in between space looks like a sunflower ringed field in Northern Arizona. The soil is exposed, red and rich, and the altitude is high. I feel absolutely infinite and absolutely insignificant.
It occurs to me this is where freedom is conceived, birthed and lived.
I wonder if I am strong enough to create this field within me, everywhere I go because I feel like this is the answer.
I feel like I have been seeking too long and hard to know that this field lives in the center of my chest.
When I lie down in this field and open up to the nothingness of a without words space, tears come to my eyes. I don’t expect them to come and barely notice until they are falling down my the sides of my face, into my ears.
The grass is soft and slightly wet but it doesn’t bother me.
I am unbotherable and the salt on my face doesn’t get wiped away, the water keeps flowing and me, lying in the grass, a halo of sunflowers all around like a divine circle, knows ultimate contentment.
Instead of writing a poem I am within the poem.
Instead of explaining how to do something, just lie here with me. Maybe the soles of our feet will touch, maybe our fingertips will touch, maybe we’ll be separated by miles and miles and miles and the thing is, our souls will touch. They know each other and can find each other in our supposedly separate fields.
We’re here. Together. Separately. Divinely Earthly.
So be it.
Julie Jordan Scott inspires people to experience artistic rebirth via her programs, playshops, books, performances and simply being herself out in the world. She is a writer, creative life coach, speaker, performance poet, Mommy-extraordinaire and mixed media artist whose Writing Camps and Writing Playgrounds permanently transform people's creative lives. Watch for the announcement of new programs coming in soon!
To contact Julie to schedule a Writing or Creative Life Coaching Session, call or text her at 661.444.2735.
Check out the links below to follow her on a bunch of different social media channels, especially if you find the idea of a Word-Love Party bus particularly enticing.
After I wrote for today’s brain dump I read a bit of Louise Bogan’s memoir. She and I have far too much in common.
Then I retyped the brain dump and added a few salient notes. I encourage you to do the same. When you type up handwritten notes, add nuggets in small slices. Keep the voice of stream of consciousness, free flow writing strong – and if clarity isn’t there, a few phrases will make it easier for your future readers.
So – my “re-start” is in the form of a Louise Bogan quote.
“I hope that one or two immortal lyrics will come out of all this tumbling around.”
Right here, right now I wsee Alice, Strunk and White flowers and my aware alert writing or my attempt at aware and alert writing.
I think about connecting the three, tuning into the word flow of intuition, intentionally. The infinite messages underneath the words and I smell the cedarwood oils I have flowing throughout the room to further spur my writing.
I see vapors, but that would make four and I try so valiantly to stick to the instructions even when they are my own.
Alice is my companion. Technically she is Emma’s cat AND she is my pal. She reminds me life happens. Things get knocked off tables. Sometimes I throw up and make messes, metaphorically and actually. Sometimes (more often than I would admit to people I am trying to impress) I leave the messes where they are, I don’t clear them out right away. I just shrug and turn.
It isn’t a good practice like this writing is, like confession is and I turn to the Strunk and White Flowers which remind me, revision and red-marks are good. The teacher who writes in red all over your paper is meaning to help, not harm.
We make it harm when our ego is larger than the possibilities we present, when we are so unpracticed at breaking and glueing ourselves back together because of an unwillingness to step into scary crevices, cracks and grab onto the teeth of a forklift without safety goggles or gloves or even…. Any of it.
We grab on and let it lift us and sometimes we fall into an ugly glob on the ground and police come along and do that outline of our splat and a blood splatter expert comes along and says her smart stuff about how our splat erupted and what it says.
That’s Alice throwing up and Strunk and White blood splattering and my once final draft, now in revision and repurposing paradise notes. Makes me wonder how much stuff I can create from this once-finished work. I turn to Strunk-and-White who remind me editing is sweet, not scary, as is revision and repurposing.
“The possibilities are infinite” I am reminded.
Is that Alice purring in her sleep?
#Moreofthatplease - And How I'm Overcoming Mistaken Beliefs on Asking for What I want (and You May,too!)
My heart desires… #moreofthatplease
It was a magical day back… not sure when… Emilia typed #moreofthatplease into the screen on periscope and I knew, exactly, this was a way to state our core heart desires without stumbling into the lack mode of whiny wanting.
I don’t necessarily see wanting as whiny and I get that some do and would if I were to say “I want I want I want” like when I was a little girl and my many pen pals and I were writing letters to each other sharing about what we wanted for Christmas. I said I wanted a Malibu Francie doll.
I wrote the same letter to my Grandmother and she saw it as me boldly asking her for a Malibu Francie doll. She ended up buying it – after talking about my ten-year-old indiscretion with who knows how many people. Now, the middle-aged me is laughing at both thoughts: my grandmother’s distaste for my writing about what I wanted and my ten-year-old-me thinking “Uh oh, writing about what I want publicly is a bad thing and to be avoided at all costs because it upsets people and for goodness sakes, one must never upset people!”
The tragedy would fall if I continue to believe what my Grandmother said. She never even said it to me. She said it to others who repeated what they thought she said back to me. She actually bought me and sent me the doll, fulfilling the wish – so in a way, I gave us both a gift.
She got to be my Fairy Grandmother (not a typo) and I got to receive an actual gift from her instead of the usual $5 check.
The #moreofthatplease I am looking at is further healing, deepening clarity and the realization that things are not as they seem. Especially when it is the adult me peering back into the childhood years.
I realize I have forgotten to set my timer and I have no idea how long I have written.
Ahhh, I will get more later my loves. I will write more and share #moreofthatplease later today.
It’s your turn, too, dearies.
Your heart desires #moreofthatplease – share it with the world, unabashedly. Invite it all into your life.
Write for five minutes with the prompt -- My heart desires #moreofthatplease and watch what flows. Repeat as necessarily. Enjoy the process - I certainly enjoyed my rambles. And watch the video to write alongside, it is timed as well. Go and flow and write.
This is the writing from yesterday’s prompt – my second “go around”. This prompt is definitely worthy of several writes. I may revisit on another day, later this week, as well.
When I forget to be afraid, I can say what I really think: I am not concerned with the ramifications of every phrase my mind curates before I the words are spoken.
I hear my mother intone to my sister “Think before you speak,” a phrase I didn’t need to hear because it was tattooed across my forearms and my memory before I reached puberty.
It is more than possible this “Think before you speak,” managed to be fodder for me electing not to speak, write, finish for concern with what evil may lurk if I somehow say, scribe or complete in a way that might be offensive.
And I wonder why during dark times of my depression why I thought my very being was offensive? Back then each inhale, every exhale felt like an insult to the universe, painful to execute so many times a day. It felt easiest then to lie in bed on my side, shallow breaths, gazing loosely out my back window praying no one would notice my existence.
I notice today when I get to the end of that turn of phrase, my writing stops completely.
There is still a twinge of “how did I get there?” much like the twinge of “oh, yes, I am right here… still.”
Not in a depressive sense, but in a chronic fear sense wrapped around worries about my almost-all-grown up children.
This, now, has more ramifications and less of a chance for me to be protective toward them.
I am not a helicopter parent like some, but I do always seem to want to be there to soften any difficult punches or prods or stumbles.
(I also realize I don’t want to write about these difficult things. My pauses get more deep and the urge to turn away widens.)
When I forget to be afraid, I poke around my emotions more, with a curiosity rather than an investigator with an agenda.
When I forget to be afraid, I remember to investigate any lingering truth in the emotionally charged assertions. When I forget to be afraid, I take a deep breath and look intensely, openly at the facts in front of me without pre-colored/stained lenses.
I say “oh, interesting!” more regularly than “oh, no,” when I forget to be afraid.
Today I choose mindfulness. I choose to create space. I choose tenacity.
I choose to take action that serves me – and selectively weed out what doesn’t fit me.
Today I choose myself and I choose Samuel. I choose to maintain and love our home, I choose to see him with contentment and grace. I choose to create time to make art, to make love, to make words flow on the page with (I’m not buying it yet but I will) glee.
Today I choose to enjoy the process, whatever comes. I choose to drink water – and laugh too loud at times.
Today I choose to make chocolate sugar cookies for North High – because I am grateful to have the opportunity to serve, to connect, to make others feel treasured because that makes ME feel treasured. Today I choose to see my successes, receive compliments and know that what is in front of me is symbolic and not an unalterable.
I may always cover up certain aspects of life with gesso and paint over it. Just makes the new stuff more interesting. Don’t erase, love it into becoming something else. The foundation, the mulch that makes the soil more rich. All these “less than” feeling experiences are mulch and I remember how much my feet love standing in soil. Reminds me there is freshly mown grass on my front lawn, waiting for my bare feet which could REALLY use a pedicure.
I want to feel that grass, and sniff it. So today, as soon as my five minutes are up, I choose to have more than slightly cold feet in the freshly mown grass. All is well.
I know, yes I know, all will be well, even what feels crappy right now.
Tomorrow, as Scarlet tells us, is another day. Today I choose this one. It is good practice to walk around in the mud. My toes like it.
The chimes of my timer are ringing. They sound like a country church if I squint my hearing. I am blessed.