Guest Blogger Susan Hagen wants to tell you something…
After a long weekend together, I wrote this to honor the courage and heart of the students at my fall writing retreat. I offer it again here to all of you:
What I want to tell you is that you are not like most people.
Most people would not be awakened at dawn by the beating of a drum and feel happy about it. Most people would not hurry through their yogurt and bacon to climb a hill and sit all day on a threadbare couch. Most people would not spend four days putting words in a notebook or listening deeply to the words other people spent four days putting in a notebook – and pay for the privilege.
They would not weep in front of strangers, or talk about their sex lives, or say truth be told, I’m glad my parents are dead. They would not slow down enough to imagine rivers running beneath their skin, or their outbreath a ribbon of air that gives lift to the raven, or their bones redwood trees, or their heartbeats the container for love.
Who would say I dropped acid and galloped around the neighborhood as a horse spirit? Who would say I asked the ocean to make love to me and she did? Who thinks about collagen as peach juice, or allows talkback from a spider, or cares about a certain tree only because it’s important to an owl? Who loves water so much it falls from her eyes when she speaks of it?
Most people would not cry because they feel sorry for a character they’ve just made up. They would not care so much about a pretend Indian on a pretend horse that they cannot move them forward for fear of what might befall them.
Who loves like that over what most would perceive as nothing? Who loves over nothing so much it hurts?
Writers do. Writers love like that.
So this is what I want to tell you. You are not like most people. No one speaks the ceremony of life the way you do. It’s the way you see things, the way you turn them over in your hand, that one silky line that comes with the afternoon rain: “A drop falls, and I am born.”
I know you are no stranger to this. The stories are in your bones and your blood and your breath. This is who you are. It’s the gift you have been given and the gift you give away. You are not like most people. You are the living story coming through.
Susan Hagen is an award-winning nonfiction writer, writing teacher, and co-author of Women at Ground Zero: Stories of Courage and Compassion. Her writing programs are inspired by the vision quest, an annual journey into the wilderness that informs her life and work. As a writing guide, Susan combines meditation and nature-based practices to help clear a path to the deeper writing life. She offers writing retreats for women twice a year, and Saturday writing circles at her cottage in Occidental. Upcoming dates are January 18, February 22, March 15, and April 26. Contact Susan at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-874-9223