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Today

Today, I met with the two folks I’m co-collaborating with on our Wild Goose Contemplative Writing experience. We talked about contemplative writing, what it was, how on earth we create a meaningful experience in 50 minutes. We laughed. Fully understanding we were in this together, we brainstormed. Our resulting plan is awesome. Perhaps because we followed the principles of contemplation in creating them: being open to movement of the Spirit, working horizontally in community, acting with joy.

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Today, I prepared a writing path for the July Writing Room at 100 Men Hall. I won’t be there this Second Saturday—it happens during Wild Goose, after which we’re going on a grand adventure in North Carolina. But I’m Writer-in-Residence at the Hall. Second Saturdays in Bay St. Louis are when I offer what writing experience I have to the gathered group. I won’t leave them high and dry. July, without me, they will be deep-diving into using the five senses to create a riveting scene. I wish I could be there with them, but putting together the exercises—and illustrative excerpts from Richard Wright’s The Man Who Lived Underground—fed my soul.

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Today, I prepared to lead the Contemplative Writing Group on Zoom tomorrow night. The CWG is an offering of the School for Contemplative Living. The group grew out of the August workshop at Dillard University led by Alisha Johnson Perry and me. But members of the group lead our Sunday gatherings, and I volunteered for tomorrow. I can do whatever I want, whatever seems to offer a contemplative experience. I adore this. The thinking through of it. The imaging how it will go but not actually doing the exercises because I want to be part of the group when we all encounter it for the first time. I am so happy this is part of my life.

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I complain, whine, bitch all the time about where my writing “career” sits. As in, dead in the water. My work gets gratifying recognition in contests, but not an agent or small press will touch it. “It,” you may ask. I’m talking about The Bone Trench and In the Name of Mississippi. I’m sure Jazzy and the Pirate, too, if I sent it out. When We Were Murderous Time-Traveling Women—which was recently named a semifinalist in Black Lawrence Press’s Big Moose Prize even though NOT ONE BETA READER HAS LAID EYES ON IT—might stand a chance, but you can see why my expectations are low.

That’s not the point. The point is my writing life is as full and fulfilling as it has ever been. Wild Goose. 100 Men Hall. The Contemplative Writing Group. I love each of these. Surely there is a balance between creating new works—I’m writing a memoir called Me and Mine: Coming to Repair—and feeding my need to be in community. I could beat myself up about ignoring this for years as my neck was bent toward my “get a novel published goal,” but where do you think the foundation came from to participate at Wild Goose? Teach at 100 Men Hall? Lead the Contemplative Writing Group? It’s years of doing these things I love that leads to doing what I love. What more could I ask for?

100 Men Hall, Big Moose Prize Winners, school for contemplative living, Second Saturdays, When We Were Murderous Time-Traveling Women, Wild Goose Festival

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