The Light inside the Cave

I became (again?) a cave painter one recent morning, hyper-aware of wanting to inscribe something from deep inside, something from far beyond that would echo through and far beyond me. I was in a new space, in every way: the first spring in a new residence, with a writing chair facing east. In the first […]

Degrees of Intimacy … in Words

Fiction-writing is a different beast – thrilling to engage after so much practice in resolving everything into concepts, expressing them, and inviting an audience to ponder and, ideally, agree. I’ve been experimenting with live readings of fictional vignettes to a group of extremely varied listeners. The group was facilitated by long-time fiction fans who expected […]

Storied Synchronicity

After an editorial project that enchanted me day and night for a month, I’ve spent days getting back to myself with yoga, deep-tissue massage, and exotic literature to whisk me into other inner worlds. This morning, noticing my mind had again wafted back into the project – one that altered my deep interior and will nourish me […]

Quadraphonic Choices

I just discovered new depths to a technique I learned thirty years ago: creating a four-square grid to hold all the elements of a difficult decision. I’m writing about it here, in case I ever want to recommend it again – now with some updated spin. Back then, it was about intellectual, emotional, and social […]

Sea Legs and Inner Ears

 Waltzing back and forth between the right-brain’s flowing cosmos and the left-brain’s key-tapping to make words, not yet being fully immersed in an all-senses state, I feel a dizziness that brings a memory to the surface, one that resonates across the decades: We’d been on a long sailing trip, eating and sleeping on board, as […]

Speculative Magical Links

Unusual worlds are opening. I’ve been journeying along one of my less-traveled paths, returning to a lifelong love of fantastical stories. Clues to my own emerging voice pop out of page and screen. This post’s trip report has links to a few favorites, some notes on writing and consciousness, and a little peach-flavored magic realism. The […]

Voice II

“If I write that, people will think it’s me.” This quote from Amy Tan, in her spirited TED talk about writing fiction, has been singing to me for days. It struck the place in me that’s so focused on integrity that the idea of representing something that’s not-me, when my name is on it, felt dangerous, […]

Merit in the Marketplace

A phenomenal new wordal popped out of the dictionary this morning: the mer root within merit. Turns out it started as sale value, leading to the Latin meretrix (prostitute) and the English meretricious (attractive in a vulgar way). This surprise led to contemplation of merit badges, merit scholars, meritocracies, certificates of merit, earning merit in religious […]

Alchemical Storytellers

Just finished redesigning a house. A bank account. A host of motives. Woke up this morning knowing my novella’s main character’s circumstances were all wrong for the plot, mismatched for the themes. Switched it around in a great rush. Then rested, wondering where those first images had come from, why they’d felt right before, even […]

Voice, Format, Audience

Mercy. Another writing career. The inner machinery of expression – the place I go to inside, to feel words form – is changing again. It’s being altered by the convergence of two worlds from opposite extremes: (1) shaping ever-subtler inner experience into outer form, and (2) practicing the audience-driven formats of screenplays and novels. The collision is […]

A Kaleidoscope of Women

Visions of “the feminine” started shape-changing for me this summer, watching Beasts of the Southern Wild. Startling imagery, elaborate mythology, a rich resonant soundtrack, poetic and vivid dialogue – and the unimaginable performance of its tiny girl hero-star – coalesced. Ancient self-images, affections, terrors, and enthusiasms got remembered and rearranged, transformed, even though the movie’s surfaces […]

The Animation in Receiving Art

Three second-hand creative raptures in three days. I feel blessed. Sometimes, opening the heart to another’s art is as marvelous as the inspiration to express. Two days ago, I saw an Oscar-nominated short animation that touched something so deep in me, about yearnings to have my writing matter, that I wept (silently) in a crowded […]

Flicker and Peep

These are the words – flicker and peep – for the play of light and shadow, for the sound of sound, in the felt senses. Waking early, in the cold and dark, feeling a surge to post something more attuned to my deeper life than yesterday’s intellectual outpouring, I notice flames dancing and crackling in […]

You Do the Math (or Not)

Getting the giggles about the collision between two emails this morning: one, from webwizard Seth Godin, saying that what we do, in life/business/culture is not math (simple on/off duality), and the other, from a long-ago meditation teacher, pointing out that we live too much from the wrong-headed math of surface interpretation. When I read the Godin […]

The Ever-Morphing Novella (=Life)

Why do I expect to revise my novella after it’s been published? (I hear this is possible with e-books.) It’s already rewritten itself at least four times since it was conceived last summer. The same could be said of me, still experiencing alterations of perception, inspiration, intent, and relationship with life-as-a-work-of-art. Transformation practitioners know about […]

Adaptation: Not Always Second-Hand

Once again, a word-origin is revealing a hidden coherence: ap, which becomes apt, adapt, aptitude, adept and inept. It’s about fittedness, fastening two phenomena, one or both of them in motion. Like dancing: the fittedness being between the music and the body, or between two or more bodies, in spontaneous or rehearsed choreography (on a […]

Creativity’s Hidden Gateways

Several new emails in the past 24 hours have touted creativity programs and ideas. One of this morning’s emails feels like a goad. It was about setting up the day to be about one’s own creativity, versus  checking the incoming mail and web feeds to see what others are doing. Fashionability (attention to what others are doing), can […]

First Wordals

Wordals – as word-portals – evolved in my writing practice as mind-unlocking gateways into higher/deeper states of awareness. Unlocking the traps of words frees the mind into a more vast experience of being alive. (A favorite discovery, for example, was the origin of the word ego, in German, Latin, and English, and its Sanskrit correlates – all described below.) […]

The Nature of Writing and Editing

A velvety pastel lotus blooms, eventually, from a seed case. Bees, in a scouting party for a new home, do a waggle dance to signal their choice of locations. In my universe, this is speech, writing in water and air. In this way of feeling, cave paintings of Lascaux feel newly alive, ancient gematria more shimmering, pictograms […]

The Opening

Hilariously, I “open” this website – all about being original, alive, and aware, in the moment – with one of the oldest conventions of public speakers, from elementary school onward: the etymology of the title. Turns out it works pretty well. “Open”  is from upo, meaning under, up from under, or over, which aren’t contradictory at […]