by Elizabeth Statmore
Writing this book is the loneliest journey I have ever been on.
Nothing even compares — not divorce, not mental illness, not
abandonment, not the murder of my best friend from high school. Not
therapy. Not meditation.
The other day I told Natalie how hard I am finding this last stretch.
She agreed sympathetically and compared it to giving birth. “At the
end, you really have to push.”
A thought occurred to me. “So is there an epidural when you get to
She laughed. “No painkillers. Just screaming.”
Some days I wonder if this is how the deeply delusional feel in
psychiatric hospitals. I shuffle around the house in my socks and a
dark blue sweatshirt, muttering to myself. Just me and my characters.
I hear their voices. They argue and negotiate on the pages of my
spiral notebook. I plug cartridge after cartridge into my Waterman
fountain pen. Black ink only. I can’t bear to see colors these days.
The other night my dharma teacher said, “Intention precedes action.”
I wrote this on a small yellow Post-It and placed it next to the
altar on the far left corner of my desk. On the wall just above it is
a companion Post-It with a recovery saying on it. The saying was
given to me by a fellow writing practice writer. It says, “Motivation
This captures how I am feeling these days. Intention precedes action
and motivation follows it. And I am suspended in the action in the
middle, groundless and beyond grasping, hovering over the edge of the
cliff like the great dharma teacher Wile E. Coyote. I blink into the
camera and feel myself gulp before the fall.
Abandoned Is… is a writing practice written from the Topic post, WRITING TOPIC – “ABANDONED.”
About writing, Elizabeth says: I love the way writing practice lets me crawl through the window of a dream into the spirit world, where wild time is woven together with ordinary time to bind our souls to joy. I began writing practice in 1988, when I discovered Writing Down The Bones at my favorite bookstore, and I began formal study with Natalie Goldberg soon thereafter. Day by day, this practice has taught me to accept my whole mind and to work my way through life one word at a time.
Revisiting my old spiral notebooks reminds me how hard I worked in the learning but more importantly, how hard I had to try. They remind me how I learned to step forward with my own voice and declare, “The only one who limits me is me.” Year in, year out, they remind me how this practice has given me who I am.
In addition to the novel she is writing, Elizabeth is a frequent contributor to KQED-FM’s Perspectives series. If you would like to read more about Elizabeth, visit her website, Elizabeth Statmore. To listen to her work on Perspectives, click on the link, radio.
-posted on red Ravine, Monday, August 13th, 2007