Time to Wake up, Sleepy Head

Time to Wake up, Sleepy Head

When I was 5-years-old, my grandfather, a photographer, decided that the shot he wanted was me, naked, standing on the diving board of his pool in Los Angeles. He took a lot of pictures of me when I was young  – maybe because I was the first grandchild, the first girl. I got caught in his lens a lot. There are pictures of me naked in a bath tub – in one I’m biting my lip, looking up at him shyly.  I’ve gathered the yellow duckies around me so that I’m covering my private parts – that’s what we called them. I don’t know who else was there, who put me into that tub. It’s an adorable shot, everyone loved it. The naked little girl covering her private parts with the ducks. I don’t remember how he talked me into the diving board shot. I don’t know how my clothes came off – whether I took them off myself in the little boat house by the pool. I don’t remember how he instructed me – maybe that he had an idea for a picture and he told me what to do.  Maybe he said it was going to be fun. I don’t think my grandmother or my mother were at home. The only people I remember with us in the backyard were my 4-year-old brother and our babysitter, who were hiding in the bushes laughing at me as I awkwardly stood naked on a diving board on that sunny day in L.A. My grandfather printed those pictures up big, 11 X 17, me standing there, sun in my eyes,...
This Is Me Scrappy And Relaxed

This Is Me Scrappy And Relaxed

This is me just after I’ve woken up, completely unassembled. It’s me before a shower or a workout, me before I know what comes next, before I get all smart and strategic, before I pluck my unruly eyebrows or go after those persnickety chin hairs. Me before I examine my aging skin and do the math on how far till 60 and who will love me then? This is me, face unwashed, hair untouched, same pajamas I’ve been wearing for days. Me before I start sizing up my body and falling into the hallucination that there’s a problem that I need to fix – something about my legs or my ass – if only I could remember. This is me starting the day with nothing except a hope that I’ll make something beautiful out of nothing, that I can conjure magic from scraps, a snip of a dream and a cup of coffee. Me remembering that I’ve got this if I can just relax. This is me scrappy and relaxed. It’s me before I start worrying about whether I’ve taken on too much, whether I should have said yes to the racquetball league on Tuesday nights because I haven’t played in a long time and I’m such a competitive little motherfucker. The thought of losing stresses me out. This is me before I start thinking about losing. Me before I remember the workshops I need to sell and the pressure that come with that, or the classes I’ll run and whether I’ll fill all the seats. It’s me before jumping back into the blog post that isn’t writing itself....
Dismantling The Nice Girl: A Weekend of Fierce and True Writing

Dismantling The Nice Girl: A Weekend of Fierce and True Writing

Dismantling The Nice Girl A Weekend of Fierce and True Writing With Laurie Wagner and Sonya Lea October 26-28, 2018 Alameda, California [$475] 7:30PM – 9:30PM Friday 9:30AM – 4:30PM Saturday/Sunday Delicious vegetarian catered lunch Saturday/Sunday How do you tell a story that has been pushed underground? How do you tell a story that’s never been told? A story that might have been (or still is) a secret? Especially as women, how do we sustain the telling of a story when there’s pressure to remain likable? When it’s not just our characters that publishers and readers insist be likable, but our very thinking? And how do we push past the shame created by those who refuse our power? Here we are, living in an urgent era, one that asks us to risk exposure for ourselves, and on behalf of others. By standing in the truth, and acknowledging the necessity of our writing, we change the justness and health of our communities. We take a stand for those who aren’t living with our privilege or resources. This weekend is about interrogating what we are afraid to write about, how we can write our truth and risk exposure, how to say the things that demand to be said. We will discuss strategies for overcoming the pressure to be someone else, how bravery might be in our bones, how to find the strength to reckon with the full truth on the page, how to be with what’s ugly and unspeakable. LAURIE & SONYA: Laurie Wagner & Sonya Lea met twenty years ago when they were writing about women’s bodies, women gods, and...
The Middle Way

The Middle Way

After seeing pictures of children in cages, it’s nearly impossible to write about anything else. Even writing that sentence makes me uncomfortable – mostly because to go on living as we do – just the regular stuff; get to the bank, stop by the market, write the blog post, choose the poems, think about summer – all feel, in light of knowing that children are in cages and separated from their parents  – obscene, or as one woman in Wild Writing wrote this morning, “has me feeling complicit.” How, many times over the years have I thought about the people in Nazi Germany who watched as Jews were taken from their homes and businesses, and who turned away and got on with their lives. I’ve wondered about the fall out for them, and what it means to turn away from something you know in your bones is heinous. How the crime of turning away lives in you forever, no matter how you might want to spin it. How that same student from this morning, a mother of two young children, wondered why she wasn’t just selling everything and going down to the border. That’s one option. The other, the easier one, the one most people I know can handle is writing letters, making phone calls and giving money to one of many causes addressing this. We do what we can, and still, I’m thinking about the way we hold it all; children in cages, the suicides of celebrities we don’t personally know, but which dismantle us, news of a friend diagnosed with an incurable illness, the divorce of two...
Why I Am A Wild Writer

Why I Am A Wild Writer

Because in a world that has become even crazier than I can remember, and I hear myself telling friends how busy and tired I am, when making a date with someone can take me weeks, and texting is the new talking, when losing my phone feels like losing an arm, and scrolling the internet is the way I fall asleep at night, and my next romance happens because I swiped right, it’s essential for me to be able to sit down with people knee to knee, to let them see the whites of my eyes and for me to see theirs, as we remember how to use our words and find our voices. It’s true that my Instagram account documents slices of my life, and my Facebook page is seen by my “friends,” but there’s something soul healing for me when I gather around a table with other people, putting our phones away for two hours, and pulling out our pens to tell our stories so we can document what it feels like to be a human being. I Wild Write because not all stories have a beginning, middle and an end and I’m interested in getting to the heart of things quickly, and because I’ve watched hundreds of people zip line their way straight into the core of what matters in 10 minutes. Wild Writing trains us to get out of our own way, to untether ourselves from the masthead of formality and pleasantry and to tell the truth, write it raw, and let go of what other people will think. In Wild Writing, we know that the...