I decided today I wanted to go back and find past material to post. But then found myself wanting to write about process. About letting go of writing a book and grabbing onto what feels like a larger canvas which is this website.
When I think back to the book writing effort which was years long and relatively recent, I think mostly about how intensely lonely it was. And also how impossible, too. There has been enormous shame in being unable to write a book about this Sandbox. To just summarize it with the right “voice”, to balance the trauma I experienced as a child with the trauma I experienced as an adult in therapy.
I seemed unable to find the voice—the one voice—the one way—to express everything.
I seemed unable to contain it in a traditional book form.
Despite now expression flying off my fingertips and onto the page, I have felt huge failure and shame. An inability to express and to show and to grasp who I am.
I remember going to an art event where a friend had some work being shown. My ears were infected from swimming. And I couldn’t hear properly. I felt underwater and unwell. In contrast to me, this friend was alive, donating the proceeds of her sales to an animal shelter I used to volunteer for.
And I felt so…ashamed.
Unable to really have the energy to volunteer anymore.
Unable to explain why I stopped volunteering.
Unable to admit that my dog’s traumatic paralysis where she lost her beautiful gait, still hurts me.
Unable to say that I’d begun to process some childhood trauma in a unique way in writing and had, through really no fault of my own, therapeutic trauma thrown on top of it.
I was unable to see any of this as growth.
I felt only shame.
Shame that I could no longer volunteer and shame that I couldn’t say why exactly.
This art opening was held in a dark and cavernous place, loud music playing. And I was secretly crying without even having to hide for no one could see me.
No one could hear me.
I was crying for the blind effort that was me everyday in this Sandbox.
Me compelled to do the work.
And me, failing constantly to write a book about it all, benched at life's sidelines indefinitely.
S, sometimes when we take a time out from our life which is what you have been doing the time-out becomes a time-for-change. You are shifting. The only way to shift authentically at this point in your life has been to, for lack of a better word, come to terms or at least to face more all that is truly and deeply inside you. The denial you have lived in, for fifty years, S, is beginning, ever so slightly——to come to an end.
Have faith in your Sandbox. Have faith in your Parts. Have faith, S, in you.
Whether there’s an A above the dialogue, an MLG, a B or a Shard—it’s all you.
Rome wasn’t built in a day.
Coming together is about a comfortable ownership. Not about separation. It takes time, S. It takes time.
I seemed to think that it would all be worth it if I could someday deliver to that nine year old in the garage the book she wanted so badly to write—me there with those blank sheets of paper, not knowing what to say, only knowing that maybe someday I could be a writer.
It was a fantasy, I think.
Out of all this lava erupting from within, out of all this trauma could come beauty.
If only I could write this book, I seemed to be saying unconsciously to myself for years and years…if only…
And Not Gods I have tried.
On my knees, I have tried. And tried. And tried.
I took the first twelve hundred pages and sliced them down to 750. Then to 450. Then to 275. Then to 110.
Six months and I did it.
And then another six months to take another three thousand pages and bring them down to 150.
And then, I put it all together only to see that I failed.
That after all that I still had nothing—nothing good to show for the effort.
Until maybe the day relatively recently that I realized that I’d been seeking the wrong container to empty myself into or canvas to splash myself onto.
A book has a beginning and an ending; a narrative that you must generally stick to. One page after another. This is how it's done, how it goes.
But apparently it’s not how I go.
I go back and forth. I switch from narrative to flow to narrative and back again.
Maybe this work, a wild horse, doesn’t wish to be relegated to a single track.
This work wants to gallop and trot and meander wherever my heart deems necessary.
Maybe this work is exactly where it needs to be right now, unbridled, authentic, asking for me in this moment to release some tears for the effort and pain of what it has required of me for these past four years.
Maybe this work is asking not for a canvas or container but to be limitless, like a horizon as you look out onto the ocean, a golden field as far as the eye can see.