terça-feira, 17 de novembro de 2020

writing, joy and blue days


“Joy is not made to be a crumb”


“joy in not made to be a crown”

both fragile certainties make sense to me. Although, I confess, there are times where I want some joy so badly, that I pray to gods without names, if they could please throw me some rests of it. It does not need to be much, just enough for me to forget this pain for a minute or two.

Other times, I wore my joy as a crown, I became one of these annoying moms that simply assume that people appreciate advice about how to live well. I think I developed it as a mechanism to desperately try to make my joy last longer. It never worked. I often ended up alone and empty, sad, having to pretend that the crown was still there when it had already vanished to the other side of the moment, unreachable.

Writing at times gives me joy. Other times simply gives me space to be. Like today. It is a gray and rainy day, inside and out. I am mourning the end of a relationship that I am not ready to let go. I am terrified of what will happen if I let change enter my life. I tried to hold on the doors and keep it out. But the truth is that that is an impossible mission. I can not really close the doors of my life to change. It comes from all the sides, under the broken window, on the shoes of guests, on the blank pages that I carried inside the house so the kids could paint dinosaurs, flowers and faces. Writing gives me a place where I can vomit all my pieces. At times, I am not even aware of the existence of such bits before throwing them up. Writing gives me a home, or almost it.

In our writing circle last week L. reinvented how one can relate to the old question “where are you coming from?”. It bothers me how obsessed we learn to be in this statistic world about the places where someone is born. We often throw the question “where are you from?” on strangers, as if they had an obligation to explain what they are doing here, why do they have the right to come here. We forget the aggression that such question carries. It is norm, that in small talk with strangers we always ask where she is from. Then L. suggested something different. Share where you are coming from today, emotionally, what did you do, how you are feeling, anything that you consider relevant. It was like, with that very simple gesture, she was deconstructing what does it mean to come from somewhere. She was removing it from this context of statistic politics and the states’ almost absolute right to exclude and bringing it to a light reflection about the conditions of existence of humans.

I found it beautiful and insightful. Such a question reminds us that we are always moving from one place to another, sometimes inside ourselves. I was coming from a blue day, I remember. First, I became blue. Sometimes blue takes me over almost like a wild dance, that at the same time that swipes me from my feet it gives me a marvelous high. Other times, it enters my life like a mad and violent monster, hungry to break me for good. That day it was the second kind.  By know I now that when blueness comes like this it is best if I put on my walking shoes and leave the house. It was what I did. After almost forty minutes walking it became easier to breathe again. I decided to sit on a bench and write a bit. It was then that I noticed that precious hour in which the day itself shift into blue as well. Between the mountains I could see the integrity and the power that knows how to inhabit even the bluest day. I dried my tears and smiled to the day. It had just reminded me that beauty can find its place among pain. I walked a bit lighter, blue, but also joyful, without a crown or crumbs, I simply walked grateful for been surrounded by those that still insist in remembering that perhaps “beauty can save the world”.

a hug and until next time

sexta-feira, 13 de novembro de 2020

thinking (together) about writing processes


What do I know about myself as a writer? And why am I asking this question?

Yesterday, I had a chance to think about these questions in the company of some amazing women writers that as me joined the Feminist Online Writing Comunity by NSU. (You can check it out here).

One of the questions that is growing inside of me for a while now, is whether we can think together (or rather all that we can do together is to collect material to think later, in solitude). That is an enormous question that I hope I will address in another moment.

Today I want to share some of the ideas and struggles that we talked about yesterday.

I used to think that one is a writer, but I changed my opinion. One becomes a writer, and there is just one way to arrive there, one needs to write. That is why we were asking ourselves what we know about ourselves as writers. So we can find the time, the space and the courage to write.

Moreover, I am in a moment of my life where I believe that whatever we become is not set on stone. Pretty much every aspect of life requires maintenance. Our existence as writers as well. It is not like I wrote this book and now I am a writer forever. I need to choose to become a writer again and again, and I can only do that by writing.

So, what do I know about myself as a writer?

I know that at the same time that writing gives me this sense of belonging to the world, this feeling that I am worth and valuable, it is also very easy for me to forget to write. That is the case because of this heavy illusion that I carried with me for so long. I am already a writer. I published this one book, I proved myself as a writer, I can call myself a “writer” and that is it. This silly attitude makes me lose so much. Most importantly, it makes me lose the chance to experience this magic flow that writing gives me, these moments where I genuinely like to be me and I am grateful that I am alive.

Thus, one of the things that I decided to do, after our sharing yesterday is to stop calling myself a writer. Instead, I will say that I write, or that I am working to become a writer, over and over again, until I no longer exist.

Yesterday we also shared very practical tips and attitudes that we see as helpful to our writing processes. It was mentioned that drawing between writing can be very helpful. It made me happy to see a plant people and a blue cat. I used to draw between writing as well, but for some reason I stopped. I think because I realized that I suck at it. What I forgot to acknowledge is that actually that does not matter. It is not about been great at it. It is about breaking a pattern, creating space for something else, inviting fresh air into your writing process. Other ways of arriving there are by dancing, going for a walk, or reading. I found particularly beautiful the description of L. She shared that at times, when she feels stuck,  she likes to go dancing with her question, and that she calls it “prayer”.

For me, another very important aspect of our sharing yesterday was about this tendency that many of us have to separate our writing processes from our bodies. What makes sense (actually it does not make sense but is understandable that we do it). After all, in this world full of male norms, we still learn that writing is supposed to be completely “intellectual” and rational. We are supposed to sit on a chair and think very hard (my mother used to tell me that I need to sit on my writing chair until some smoke would be coming out of my ears). We are supposed to forget our bodies and find this abstract, non-material power that is in theory the substance of writing.

L. and S. shared that they are dancers and that they are learning to connect who they are as dancers with their writing processes. I am trying to do the same. Not that I am a dancer, to claim that would be indeed to embrace the time of fake news, but I, as everyone else, exist in a body. I use this body to act, to perform, to tell stories, to cross the street, to go to the supermarket, to bring my kids to the kindergarten, and to do so much more, including writing. But it is not only that I use this body (my tendency to embrace this type of language is a consequence of too many years under Catholic normativity). I am this body. Why then, to insist in silencing this huge and essential part of me?

I studied Philosophy. In Brazil, in Portugal and in Norway I encountered an academic environment that still demands a kind of right way to do philosophy that is very similar to my mother’s idea of how a writer should work if she wants to succeed. What you need to do is to sit on a chair and think very hard, until smoke is coming out of your ears. That is exactly what happens when we make our bodies numb during the thinking process. We kind of burn something inside of ourselves. And it is not a summer fire full of joy. It is more like burning alive a piece of ourselves, for no good reason, mistakenly on the name of the primacy of reason.

Yesterday’s sharing invited me to bring into my writing process’s L. type of prayer. Every day I will allow myself to dance at least one song between my writing exercises. I will first write down the question that I want to carry with me to that dance and then, after putting it in a red box, I will simply dance, or better said, I will pray. 

We talked about so much more. But today my 45 minutes of free writing is over. I am trying to be a grow up and stick (or at least do an effort to stick) to my plans. Because of that I will stop here for today. I will get back to it during my free writing session tomorrow. 

As a farewell I will share the last sentence of the poem that A. shared with us yesterday, after all, I do believe on the power of recycling pieces of poems. 

"joy is not made to be a crumb" (from the poem Don't Hesitate by Mary Oliver)

Fun fact, yesterday, instead of the true sentence of the poem, I heard what the red wine in my system mixed up with my obsessions invited me to see: 

joy is not made to be a CROWN

(to be continued...)

                                                                                                       hugs and until next time

terça-feira, 27 de outubro de 2020

 the monster showed her claws

you laughed

10 years ago she would have been mad

today she knows how to smell fear

you were lucky

today the monster was not hungry

she chose to pray to the wind, first

a dance to the moon  

occupied the last hour of that encounter


you returned to yourself almost intact

all that stayed with you was that mark

a small scar 

that only caring souls can see 

a reminder that once you loved

segunda-feira, 26 de outubro de 2020

 a onda de existir 

no meio desse sistema 

que suga nossos sonhos

quebra nossos ossos

curva nosso corpo

deixa-nos exaustos e pequenos

a onda que veio antes de mim

e que segundo o que me foi dito

repetir-se-á inúmeras incontáveis vezes

depois que eu já não for

aceitei a história dessa onda

por um tempo longo

longo demais 

daí a crise da meia idade chegou

e arrancou de mim essa tendência de aceitar histórias porque sim

vi-me perguntando

"mas quem foi que disse?"

e "por que foi que o disse?"

quando dei por mim a onda já não sabia existir certeza imensa

meus olhos começaram a notar 

gente de carne e osso 

como eu

fazendo outras escolhas 

repetindo e reinventando

pequenos gestos de resistência 

meu corpo

habitado por essa urgência de viver até o talo

viu-se também dançando revolta

e convidando outras ondas


cor de rosa 

cor de gente 

cor de sonhos

pra ocupar 

não só minha vida

mas também o mundo 

sábado, 26 de setembro de 2020

to be in love vs. 'having' someone

 Being in love and having someone

not the same thing, doll
to open your legs and moan in the right way might be a ticket to having someone that will keep you warm
but to feel truly alive
the type of aliveness that does not depend on having enough potatoes in your belly
then you need to be in love at least once
I can see on your pallid face that you do not understand why
I will explain

to be in love is your ticket to truly become a part of the world
Is by being in love that you can transcend yourself
you can move on from this small, self-centered you
and become a part of the collective world
and don’t get me wrong
you do not need to be in love with one man or one person
you can be in love with trees
or with the world
or with a cause
or with a person
to be in love is to be so involved, so taken by someone or something else than yourself that for a moment you forget all the small questions related to the size of your sex, the right measurements of your body or your personal achievements
suddenly you cannot forget that there is so much more
there is this energy
this life
that dances inside of you
but is also a part of the world
and because you are in love you feel this urgency to let this energy exist
you need to move and let it see places and faces and possibilities
you expand
you bring good into the world without even thinking about it
to have someone on the other hand
is more like a useless exercise to try to avoid the existential fear of dying alone
it is a lie
we will all die alone
no matter what

and people are not to be possessed

quinta-feira, 24 de setembro de 2020

love in an unkwon language


it seems appropriate to approach love in a language that you don’t know

it is exactly that

every time

you are invited to this dance

a fun dance it seems like 

in the beginning

and you do not know where you are supposed to put your feet

or your heart, or your hair, or your sex, or your bank account

it is not that there are no directions at all

you could choose to follow the porn school

or what they teach in the so called women’s magazine

but if you decide to embrace it truly

without no cheating

then there is no preparation

you can never really know how you and the other will happen

the relation that you will draw together is a gift

most likely a light one in the beginning

beginnings of love have this tendency to be carried away by that strong animal smell

you just want to find a place to belong

later on, things tend to get more complicated

to find the balance between the overrated freedom and the equally overrated love is not easy

most people settle for the boring life

in which both love and freedom die

the living room is taking over by the big sofa and the big tv

and we become that stranger that no longer remembers that love is not supposed to be familiar

instead it is this foreigner, strange

 this strange thing that carry us from ourselves 

into the world