Moon Writing and Magic

Monday honors the Moon. Make its energy work for you by understanding what sort of work you should be doing:

On Mondays, know that you can begin a great, productive week by honoring the feminine energy of the day. Be receptive to what presents itself and reflect on those aspects of your work that could be done better or with more depth.

I wrote more extensively on the topic in my Wholly Creative blog  post today, which discusses more about the magic of moon energy.

You might even honor its energy by incorporating the moon in whatever it is you are writing today.

If the idea of combining magic and writing appeals to you, check out this 13-week online workshop.

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Magical Confessions of a Poetry Chick(en); or How to Manifest What Your Heart Desires

I published the story of how before I became a national poetry slam chick, I used to be a cringing poetry chicken. It’s all about using magic to move past what we are afraid of and how to claim what we really want.

 I cringed inside every time he said it.

“This is Marya. She’s a poet.”

I was ashamed. His introduction made me feel like an imposter.

  • Even though I’d been writing poetry since I was young.
  • Even though I’d taken poetry workshop classes in college.
  • Even though I’d published literary magazines.
  • Even though I’d read and performed poems publicly.
  • Even though my poems had been published.

Other writers will understand. Something about calling myself a poet felt self-important. Pretentious. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be called a poet because I wasn’t a Great American Poet.

I tried to explain, “Poet, author, artist, musician… one does not just bandy these terms about.”

You can read the rest of it here at my Wholly Creative blog where I discuss some of the Hermetic principles of magic that helped me manifest what my heart really desired.

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Learn more at PracticalMagicForWriters.com.

Writing inspiration that sticks!

We writers will take inspiration in whatever form we can get it: Broken hearts, strangers on a bus, some gum stuck to our shoes. The big stuff like a break-up has an urgency in the intensity of emotion that needs to be expressed. It’s hard to miss, and we are propelled to the page to get it down.

The other, little stuff? It’s easy to miss. But sometimes there’s a flash of recognition that something important exists in what on the surface seems trivial or mundane. Then we can get a great poem or essay about brushing our teeth or watching an employee refill the drink dispensers (Listen to Ballad of Orange and Grape read by Muriel Rukeyeser on the subject. It is one of my favorites!)

But often we are so busy, we don’t see the significance in the little things. Our awareness is turned outward and we see only the literal meaning and the practical application of the experiences we have.

But, that’s okay. Because while we sleep, our brain takes our experiences, finds the significance, and translates them into metaphors in our dreams. That’s why dreams can be so bizarre and  so haunting. The metaphors are powerful stuff that can bypass the objections of the rational and habitual mind. The political and philosophical message of “Ballad of Orange and Grape,” for instance, cannot be argued against because its argument is presented as a metaphoric narrative.

A story can’t be wrong. It just is. It’s the same with dreams. We get powerful motivating statements in our dreams expressed to us in narrative form.

I frequently have recurring or similar dreams — either the same theme or the same images or same feeling-state — until I am able to understand the message of my dream and integrate it into my waking life.

For me, this is pretty easy. All those years in school studying literature so that I could be a better writer not only led to a job as an English professor, they also made me fluent in metaphors. I can recognize and understand them easily.

But when I started to use my dreams as writing prompts, using the plots and images to inspire journal writing while I downed a couple mugfuls of black coffee, I began to wake up inside the dream. In some ways, this is tantamount to lucid dreaming while awake. It has the dreamy quality of twilight sleep but I’m aware and can make choices, such deciding to pursue the analogous connections that unlock the metaphors.

My most recent example was a dream I had about B, a woman who was presumed to be eaten by alligators. When I woke and began to write, alligators seemed weird. They seemed to be the metaphor, so I kept writing. B had faced “alligators” before as in “up to your ass in alligators” when she had been a student teacher. So I wrote that into my narrative and the story’s image opened in a new way. I understood B in a new and deeper way, too. (Important because I’ve known her my whole life and I love her though we have a remote, strained relationship.)

And that gum you stepped in? Well, on a literal level it’s nothing but a hassle. But don’t be surprised if, after you’ve scraped off the gunk and gone on with your day, at night your dreams find deeper meaning than just the fruity, pink, disgusting hassle.

I’m happy to share my process with you. I am leading a FREE Dream Writing Workshop (an hour long, give or take). Once you register, you can attend it live (Saturday, February 27 at 11 am PST) or watch it in replay when you have time. Or both.

I’ll give you tips to remember your dreams, discuss the best way to write “into” them (rather than about them), and we’ll do some writing together so that you leave the workshop with some new work.

 

 

 

Parable of the truck driver poet

The other day, I was having lunch with my boyfriend Maynard and his life-long buddy, Robert. We were making small talk and enjoying the mole enchiladas at Frijoles on Aviation Boulevard near LAX when Robert, a commercial driver by trade, asked me if I’d take a look at some poetry he’d written.

Maynard’s fork stopped half way to his mouth. “I didn’t know you wrote poetry.”

“I’ve been writing poetry for years,” Robert said.

Writers and writing teachers often talk about demystifying the writing process. The idea is to make people feel comfortable with the idea that they, too, can be writers — that writing is not the sole realm of the elite or a chosen people. It’s an idea I’m solidly behind.

Robert, who has no formal writing training, is an inspiring example of how this is true. There’s a writer in each of us — we all have a story to tell — though many are reluctant to call themselves writers or even fess up to their writing habits. That opens the door to judgment.

But Robert also demonstrated that writing can be a spiritual practice: “It started as a sort of prayer. I was writing poetry when I was really upset. The thing is, by the time I’m finished, I’ve worked the problem out.”

Natalie Goldberg in her introduction to Writing Down The Bones: Freeing the Writer Within tells the story of how writing became a source of spirituality in her life. Her Zen master wondered why she did a sitting meditation: “Why don’t you make writing your practice?” he asked her. “If you go deep enough in writing, it will take you every place.”

The beautiful thing about writing is that it is unbounded by dogma as religion is. No matter their faith (or lack thereof), a person can enter writing as a way to communicate a prayer or wish, gratitude or yearning. It’s also an effective way to be fully present  in a moment. In fact, Julia Cameron made a name for herself advancing similar ideas in her groundbreaking, twelve-step writing program aimed at creative recovery, The Artist’s Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice.

But Robert already has a healthy relationship with his creativity. According to him, he’s got hundreds of poems that he’d like to put into a book.

You may wonder, “Are they any good?”

Without even reading them, I can assure you: they are divine.