Hedgebrook Diary: Week 2

September 6, 2015

I read this month’s Power Path and apropos is an understatement.

I know I am working on a good project. (I’m rotating between several – a short story collection, an essay collection, a wisp of an idea for musical theater, possibly a coming of age novel I abandoned years ago…but I’m talking about The Novel.) It is ambitious, especially for someone who has become comfortable with short form work. I believe in the story. What I need to believe is that I am the person that can make it great. That the story is not a prodigious orphan. That along with the characters, the plot, the world – whatever I bring to it, my me-ness is a part of that as well. That a person with an MFA, a historian, a seasoned fantasy writer could do it, but not like I can. That I can commandeer this, whatever I perceive my shortcomings to be.

“At the end of the day, all you will have to really rely on is FAITH and TRUST.” -Lena, Power Path

September 7, 2015

I have to remember I’m here for more than parking myself in front of a screen and typing. Or even reading. Rather, I want my experience to culminate into more than that and I think I came here because there’s more.

20150907_071558I slept in the Farmhouse last night because I was up late writing. I write in spurts so when it trickles out continuously, I just go with it. I woke up at sunrise, without much of a plan, just ended up at the garden and cut some flowers for my cottage. I walked up the path leading past my cottage and was moved to stop and look at sunrise streaming through the trees. Encountered a banana slug. Was standing under a tree when a burst of rain showered on me. I looked up to where the sound of leaves being shaken came from and it was a squirrel (chipmunk?) jumping from branch to branch. Discovered the spider on my porch that I had lunch with, who hung in the eye of its web all day yesterday was still there, but its web had been washed away by the rain. It was a beautiful web, I regret not having a better camera to capture it, but maybe that’s the point. That I am to take in the things that are exclusive to my being here.


September 8, 2015

I rode a bike for like the third time in my life yesterday. No, it wasn’t just like riding a bike. If anyone used that expression to describe something being second-nature I would ascribe a completely different meaning to second-nature. You mean something that I steal away to do out of sight from other humans, cannot completely figure out (how does one go uphill?), and gives me small heart attacks in doing? Because that’s what riding a bike is for me.

The spider that lives in the shrubbery(?) right by Oak, the one I had lunch with, rebuilt its web. Chose a new spot, a little to the left, and by this morning was right in the center, waiting again. Didn’t seem to have many feelings about the loss of the other web due to something so out of its control like heavy rain. It just did it. I give the spider a nod every time I cross my porch.

September 9, 2015

It’s 5AM. An ungodly hour for me, but I woke up from strange dreams. I’ve been having them since I got here. Vivid and urgent. I’ve dreamt of E’s father at least twice. He is always a dark presence, a menacing energy. Even after years of not speaking with him. Even though our last conversations have been cordial. In dreams, I am always trying to keep him out or get away. So much so, that in last night’s dreams I could read the street signs and concentrated hard enough to make them appear in sequential order. It is almost impossible to read in a dream – the words and numbers are usually illegible or change.

E’s grandmother died last week, her father’s mother. I’ve seen her at least twice in my dreams here too. She was a great boon to me during my pregnancy with E and especially during E’s collicky infancy so her death certainly affected me. Neither E nor I were able to attend services, both of us being far out of state, and to be honest I prefer to maintain distance between myself and certain areas and people of my past. If we dragged our entire pasts with us, there would be no room for the present or the future.

In my dreams, E’s father and I alternated between following, annoying, and getting away from one another (like the good old days) all the way to his mother’s apartment. She came to the door, sad, in mourning clothes. Teary. He tried to sell her something he’d stolen (like the good old days) and I tried to give her two Mickey Mouse car seats he’d tried to sell me. But I discovered they were used and worn, not brand new under the packaging and got irritated. He made a show of strength outside by body slamming people into the steel cellar doors commonly found outside of bodegas in NYC. That is what made me start reading the signs and forcing myself away, toward home.

I woke up from this feeling disturbed, fearful, invaded, with the urge to cry. Most of all I felt unprotected, missing my grandmother and with the resolute thought that the purpose of family is protection. I have been working on a fantasy novel – about maintaining power, class, migration, what a matriarchy could look like, what a world without the influence of Judeo-Christianity would look like, especially for women, especially for gender expression, but at the heart it is a story about a brother and sister. It is about family.

Clarissa Pinkola Estes calls these “dark man” dreams. The man, a manifestation of the predator in our own psyche. The dreams have a strong physical aspect – jolt you awake, make your heart pound. They’re initiatory dreams – preparing us for the change from one level of knowing to another, deeper one and the actions that go with it.

“Dark man dreams are wake-up calls. They say: Pay attention! Something has gone radically amiss in the outer world…The threat of the “dark man dreams” serves as a warning to all of us — if you don’t pay attention, something will be stolen from you! The dreamer needs to be initiated so that whatever has been robbing her can be recognized, apprehended, and dealt with.” (Laura Knight-Jadczyk‎‎’s modified quote from: Estés, Clarissa Pinkola. Women Who Run With the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype.)

September 10, 2015

For the fourth time, the same ant scurries across the journal page I’m writing in. It is alone. Where is its colony? It searches frantically. At least, I see it as such because it refuses to pause or even change pace, covering the same ground. Over and over. From the side table to the coaster to the bookshelf, back to the side table, across my page.

Only once does it try something different and climbs the lamp on the side table. Look at this stupid Icarus, I thought, about to incinerate itself with the heat from the bulb. Relentlessly marching toward its death. Like all of us. One day, it’s your grandparents dying, the next it’s your parents, everyone else’s parents and then you.

I grow annoyed with this ant. Why doesn’t it go somewhere new? It feels out in front of itself with its legs, only stepping where it feels solid ground. But sometimes, there are small gaps. Well, I perceive them as small. To the ant it must be places where the world ends. A fall to certain death. I suppose it feels like that to us sometimes too. If the ant just took a little jump at these edges, it would land somewhere that would put it on a new path.

I push the ant off the table. Perhaps that’s what life or God does to us.

Somehow, it has reappeared, scurrying across my page again. For the fifth time. I give up on him. Jodete, entonces.


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