Monday, May 30, 2005


Seed Lines: By Maya (Featherstone woman)
At Cherita Fitzgerald
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Fitz #1 continued

“Caught in the breath of night.....”
“Join me, if you dare to dream.”

I am always caught in the breath of night. The process in which a normal body is awake for sixteen hours and asleep for eight seems to mean less than nothing to my body, which obviously doesn’t count itself as normal. I’ve always had rhythm, but I am currently fresh out of the ‘circadian’ variety. The normal human brain contains a type of "pacemaker" called the suprachiasmatic nuclei which regulates the firing of nerve cells that set the bodies circadian rhythms. I evidently have a broken suprachiasmatic nuclei. Possibly my nerve cells are pacificist. They certainly are not firing. No matter how you construe the metaphor, something is broken. I don’t seem to be able to get a cast for it, find a clock-maker to mend the springs or discover the right kind of glue that will repair it. None of the ancient remedies, old wives tales, modern medications, approaches, techniques, systems or methods have been able to unspasmatic my suprachied nuclei.

Caught in the breath of night, I drift. Sometimes, I drift like a tumbleweed on the dry prairie air, rolling here and there in an aimless, random way, squashing up against things only to lie there until a stronger wind comes and rolls me on again. Sometimes I float like a feather, falling in drifting patterns through endless ebony; weightless and unconcerned, never touching anything but darkness. Sometimes I fall like a stone; fast and hard, spinning and shredding through razors of stars.

Awake, out of rhythm, caught on the breath of night, strangely, incongruously; I dream. Not the dreams of sleep, that rich, kaleidoscopic ride into the subconscious, but certainly not day-dreams either; for, of course, it is not day. The waking dreams of the night are very different than day-dreams; less regulated, less patterned, less predictable.

I find the usage of the word ‘dreams’ fascinating. When someone asks ‘what are your dreams?’ they are very rarely asking to hear about the surrealistic paintings your psyche produced last night. They usually mean ‘what are your aspirations? What are your hopes?’ There is a chance they might even be asking ‘what are your longings? What are your yearnings?’ If we took everything a step further than anyone ever takes it, we might conceivably be asking each other, ‘what are your fantasies? Your reveries? What are your inventions? Your creations? Your inspirations? What is your mythology? What are your rainbows?”

Caught on the breath of night, I spread my words out around me like glistening glass beads and in the long hours of darkness, I string dreams. I thread them onto the clear filament of my thoughts; onto ribbons woven of idea, image and concept; onto the thin, glinting wire of vision. When they are strung, some of these shining strands turn out to mirror my aspirations and my hopes. Some strands, slightly translucent, echo my longings and desires. Then there are those gossamer strands that are created of cloud, airy and ethereal, stung directly onto my veins . . . here are reflected my exhilarations, my elations, my rainbows, my myths, my fire. Shimmering and scintillating, these lacings of alabaster ice become poems. Poems about dreams.

I find all of the dreams intriguing, partially because they are not what one would expect them to be. They are not what I expected them to be. Some of them are so small and so simple that I am shocked. I still want to write “The Great American Novel” and I wouldn’t argue with it being wildly successful. However, the sound consummation of a poem of integrity is of much greater importance now. When they were babies, I sometimes dreamed of my children being wildly successful, flowing over with achievements, living cornucopias of fantastic accomplishments. I smile at this now, knowing that my greatest joy comes simply from their being happy. I count among my favorite things the Debate Team that gives my son self confidence, the job that fires my eldest daughter’s mind, the boy that puts the sunshine in my youngest daughter’s voice.

My longings and yearnings have changed so much that the girl I used to be wouldn’t recognize them. I wouldn’t turn it down if someone wanted to give me a million dollar mansion, but what I’d really like is for someone to help me clean my office. I still want to travel, but the exotic, glamorous places I used to dream of have faded into softer images.

For the last couple of weeks, I have been completely transfixed with an idea, sort of nailed to the wall with the sharp star of a specific dream. When Anna Chinappi first joined our groups, I went to visit her web site, as I always do with new members. To see what someone is doing on their own site helps to get to know them and understand better who they are. I was quite interested in the Amherst Writers and Artists Method and Anna explained it to me in a little more in depth.

I kept going back to her site for some reason, however, reading what I had already read. As I read it over again and again, certain words waltzed away from the others and lined themself up, creating an almost-poem that felt full of strange import . . . a yearning, dreaming feeling that was brushed about with something enchanted.

The Guided Pen CREATIVE Writing Workshops Led by Anna Chinappi. Writing Workshop and RETREAT Guidelines. In Anna's writing CIRCLES, beginning and experienced writers will find a SUPPORTIVE and ENCOURAGING ENVIRONMENT to CREATE from their DEEPEST SELVEs. ALL YOU NEED IS PEN, PENCILS, NOTEBOOKS. SLIPPERS, SOCKS, COMFORTABLE clothing and walking shoes for daylong retreats are highly recommended. Weekly writing workshops the center for PEACEful Living, inc. Day-long writing retreats at LADYWOODS game preserve.

Creative circles

Encouraging environment
Supportive selves

Pen, pencils, notebooks
Slippers, socks

Peace . . .

Deep . . .

There was definitely a theme going on in my head. It seemed to have much to do with the word, ‘retreat.’

Definitions of retreat:

* noun: a place of privacy; a place affording peace and quiet
* noun: withdrawal for prayer and study and meditation
* noun: a area where you can be alone

But Anna is not necessarily talking about prayer or just study and meditation. She is talking about writing. Ah. That is the delicious feeling of “All you need is a pen, pencils, notebooks. Slippers. socks. Comfortable clothing.” So basic. So beautiful. She is not talking about being alone, but about writing with other people . . . and there are the words: circles, encouraging, supportive. LadyWoods . . . this word whispers to me of myth and legend. Creative. Well, that is my own word, it always has been.

When I thought about it, and distilled it all, the yearning and enchantment that I was feeling could be brought down to two words: Writing. Retreat.

And then, reading through the Guided Pen site, I added a third word. Italy.

“It is fate. But you can call it Italy if it pleases you, Vicar.”
(From ‘A Room With a View.’)

International writing retreats. Cortona, Italy (Tuscany)
Sept. 24 to Oct. 1, 2005.

Writing. Retreat. Italy.

I haven’t gotten completely lost here . . . this does all have to do with dreams. You see, I told Anna that I couldn’t think of anything I would rather do than go with her on this Writing Retreat to Italy. I was half shocked when I thought it through some more and realized that I was absolutely, undeniably serious. I really couldn’t think of anything I would rather do. Anything. Not a string of romantic nights in Paris, nor roller skating down the Great Wall of China; not dancing under the full moon at the Acropolis or waltzing in the Vienna Woods; not experiencing the Great Pyramids of Giza, Karnak, Luxor, the Temple of Hatshepsut, the Valley of the Kings, nor Boating on the Nile in a boat with perfumed sails; not drinking rum in the white Carribean sand or sipping Dom Perignon in a hot tub in St. Moritz; not Running With The Bulls in Pamplona nor running the rapids on the Amazon. I really couldn’t think of anything I would rather do. I, truthfully, found this strange and a little unsettling.

Then I read Maya’s beautiful poem and was arrested by two lines. Both of them kept coming back to whisper to me. “Caught in the breath of night”, and “Join me if you dare to dream.”

Maya’s words brought me a deep sense of peace. Deep. Peace. The last two words from the almost-poem that had waltzed itself into being. I felt a deep sense of peace because I realized I do still dare to dream. My dreams have changed, they are different than they once were, but they are still strong and full of power. They have never stopped flowing or ceased to fly.

I am probably not going to make it to Cortona, Italy in September of 2005. But I can imagine it. I can envision it. I still dare to dream it.

I will continue to ride that ship of dreams, a hope-enchanted-vessel woven of fantasy, moondust and starshimmer; sea-worthy, spellbound and sailing . . . caught in the breath of night.

©Edwina Peterson Cross
May 30, 2005


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