Friday, October 12, 2012

Soul Shards

I'm a bag of raw nerves today. After reading Sharon's post on Wednesday (and the various Novel Matter posts from the past week or so), I've been thinking about all the stuff of life that I can't talk about. Oh, I can say this happened or that took place. I can state it. But I can't talk about it.

I take that back. 

There are things I cannot even utter. About times when I've been little more than raked earth, half returned to the ash from whence I came and looked up with eyes blind to wonder and saw it anyway. There are things I know solely because I experienced them in the arena beyond language.

This is where story plays is most fantastic role. It's where we all go to find ourselves tucked between the words. Story is our wailing wall, our dear diary, our ebenezer. 

I've done real soul-baring in my writing, but not in a way that is easy to find. Not theme, or subject matter. Not plot. My soul shards are tucked away between the words, present, but hidden from plain view. This is the way it must be for me. Every writer is different. For some, it must be front and centre, painful as that is. Why? Because it must.

For me, I must tuck it away. Will that change? Maybe. I don't pursue it, instead I let it pursue me. A writer never travels to the place she intends.

The most bare writing I ever did was a poem I wrote last year. Isn't that just like poetry? 
With Thanks to Bill Holm
by Bonnie Grove
Words lined up in particular form
bring the mirror to your face,
it isn't your reflection as much as it is
the face you thought you'd already forgotten.

I've been taken up by my hapless collar and
pulled through the rake of divorce;
tendons separating from bone.
Bone and marrow finely defined.

Later, I leapt
foolish footing from a cliff's edge I hadn't
noticed, or pretended not to see. I didn't think, only
felt the fall and blessed its decent. The
ragged bits of me weightless in the movement;
fantom limbs.

I forgot
the sensible thing, the priority of self
preservation and gave it up
for a guy with blue eyes, his hapless collar tented at the
back. His raked form lovely to my missing eyes.

All these years
for the sake of the heat of the hand in the middle of the night.
The one that has been there for years. Will be.
             The heat that could melt a stone. 

Tender writer, all raw-souled and roiling, how do you put yourself in your work? Are you front and centre? Tucked between the words? A shadow falling across the page, or a charge of light illuminating the ink?


Susie Finkbeiner said...

Bonnie, your poem has me all teary this morning. So beautiful.

I had a friend once email me about my writing. She said, "To write like that, you must either have great intuition or have suffered much."

Let's just say, I'm not that intuitive.

Her email made me feel exposed. That wasn't her purpose. She's a good friend. Still, I'd hoped that I tucked it in better.

But I also hope that the reader can find the thread of hope and mercy that God has used to hold me together. Above all else, that is the most important thing for them to see.

Thank you, Bonnie. This post will be on my mind all day.

Bonnie Grove said...

How remarkable that your friend was able to turn the experience of your writing back to you. That isn't an everyday reader who does that. She must love you.

Sharon K. Souza said...

Bonnie, your poem is very moving. And I love the line in your post that says "Story is our wailing wall." What a fantastic concept. I believe I'm a shadow falling across the page of my writing.

Susie, I agree so much with your words "the thread of hope and mercy God used to hold me together ... that is the most important thing for them to see."

Megan Sayer said...

I read this last night, and knew absolutely not what to say, except for the assurance that Something needed to be said, because something always needs to be said when things touch you that deeply.
I got up this morning with one mind - to read what somebody else has said to hang my feelings on, and I'm so glad that Susie has, and I'm angry, because I want everybody to read this...or because I want everyone else to say the the things I can't find the words for.
I don't know how to answer your question. I don't have a clue. But I AM wildly intuitive (unlike Susie) which makes me feel things I don't always understand, and your poem made me cry for you. Especially the last two stanzas.
Thanks for sharing, Bonnie.

Bonnie Grove said...

Sharon: I love your shadow.

Megan: Thank you. Words are funny things, aren't they? I'm often grateful for the silence all words lead to.

Steve G said...

We write what we know, show and don't tell.

Sometimes fear stops us from both, but blessed is the one who jumps in spite of fear.

Thanks for jumping with me.

Bonnie Grove said...


Jennifer Major said...

In my MS, I have two sisters who love each other deeply and I made their reunion as weepy as I could. Why? Because my own sister is just about as awful as humanly possible. She has rejected her whole family. Siblings, parents, all of us.

If I can't live a happy loving relationship, I'll write it.

Bonnie Grove said...

Jennifer: This sounds like a good idea. Writing the ideal. Softens our own hearts, too.
I know a little about family malfunction.

Cherry Odelberg said...

How does one become a writer who is, "a charge of light illuminating the ink?" Raw-souled and roiling, that is me. My thoughts, what I really think, are tucked between the words. I write autobiography as fiction - that is, I go back and change the names to protect the guilty and the innocent and then I change the circumstances a bit and then I write in some fictional heros who do what I always wanted a hero or mentor to do. I make all my characters - especially the ones who are most like me-have a real ah ha moment (when the light comes on or the character experiences an epiphany) in hopes that others will learn as much freedom and wisdom and grace from reading my novels as I have learned from reading the life changing novels other authors have written.

And BTW, Bonnie; the self you revealed in the poem? I could have guessed as much from reading, "Talking with the dead."

I love ferreting out what makes people tick and I think writers with a solid psychological background do that most enjoyably.