Sunday, January 6, 2019

My Epiphany

Last night was the first new moon of the new year. I’d cleared out my inbox, my apartment. and my calendar in preparation for focusing on writing the book I've been working on. . . . forever. I felt nervous but determined. Despite a body-crushing fever and head-splitting migraine this was the day! (Yes, this "do-or-die" attitude has both helped me focus and taken me off track before.) This morning, in the tradition in which I was steeped as a child, is Epiphany- the story of the three kings bearing gifts journeying to honour the Christ-child, guided by a star. It is a story of following an unexpected light that appears in the dark landscape of not-knowing. This morning the Grandmothers of my dreams came and spoke to me. They told me what my body has been telling me for a decade: I cannot write this book in the way I have been trying to write it (as a memoir) without doing myself harm. Bodies and dreams never lie, but their languages of symptoms and symbols can be easily (and sometimes deliberately) misunderstood. The Grandmothers left me no room wiggle room for misunderstanding. "Write it as a novel. Let the truth shine through in a story that is bigger and deeper than your memory of the facts." I have faith in stories. They're what change us. They're how we live our nature as meaning-making animals. They open the imagination to new ways of seeing our own experience and our shared world. And I am terrified. I know how to write stories, but I write non-fiction, guided by facts that feel more solid than fiction. Opening the door to something that feels larger. . . . to a story I do not already know. . . feels risky. What if I can't do it? What if I write a crappy novel? And telling you about it here feels insane, because I have no idea where it will lead! (Really, it could eventually lead back to memoir, or into a spy novel, or pages filled with nonsense that will never be shared!) So there we have it: the shining star of my own longing to tell a story appearing in the dark night of not-knowing how. So, I gather my provisions (silence, solitude, and the quiet company of fellow travellers) and step into the journey, not knowing where it will take me. That's the thing about creative work of any kind- it's a lot like life: unpredictable, sometimes scary, and filled with dark nights and shining stars. ~Oriah Gratitude for this photo from Karen Davis at Open Door Dreaming- may we find the light of our own deepest longing reappearing on the horizon each day to guide us.


8 comments:

  1. And new moon is time of beginnings. Blessings and luck to you as you step into the unknown.

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  2. What a gift your openness is to us, always, dear Oriah! YES to this 'beginner mind' affirmation above:
    " So there we have it: the shining star of my own longing to tell a story appearing in the dark night of not-knowing how. So, I gather my provisions (silence, solitude, and the quiet company of fellow travellers) and step into the journey, not knowing where it will take me. That's the thing about creative work of any kind- it's a lot like life: unpredictable, sometimes scary, and filled with dark nights and shining stars."
    And a warm hug of thanks for it. May we all on our respective thresholds now relax and follow the adage *Trust The Process*. Here's to freeing fears and expectations and to keeping a happy hopeful eye on those night-framed shining stars! Love you.

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  3. Encouraging you, Oriah, to take the leap. Sounds like something the world is waiting for and don't believe you would be getting the nudge and guidance if it wasn't worth it.

    I love your poems and writing (especially, the realness and authenticity of "The Invitation") and have faith this will open something up you've been longing for all along. God bless on your new journey.

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  4. Beautiful Oriah, Don't put so much pressure on yourself and don't let yourself be put into any box. Who cares if this box is labelled "memoirs", "novel" etc.? I feel that you should trust yourself that whatever flows out of your awesome heart and beautiful fingers will be simply RIGHT and will once again touch all of your readers who are suckers for anything your write :-) me included :-) "Just do it", just "let it flow" and "let go of the outcome". Big Hugs and lotsa Love, Sabine

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    1. Thanks Sabine. I have narrowed the focus of my pirority to one thing: to keep writing! Outcome, quality, progress, genre I can put to the side so long as I KEEP WRITING! :-)

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