Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! [Julie Jordan Scott]

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Oh, the adoration I have for today’s exquisite guest! Julie Jordan Scott is one of my favorite firecrackers of love and poetry and calling forth the muse within our souls. Whether you’re a writer or not, I recommend you take one of her writing camps. You won’t be bothered by rules or regulations (or spell-check!). No, she simply draws out your inner muse, calling on her to play with  the pen in your hand and write from the depths of your soul, cutting through the muck and the mud to get to the power you may not have ever known lives inside you. Just see for yourself … 

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Words were my refuge this morning.

In the hush of the early morning I sat with my notebook at my kitchen table writing.

I had just commented, in fact, about the deliciousness of the morning before anyone else in my house was awake when I heard my neighbor’s gardener arrive. Well, I didn’t actually hear his actual arrival, I heard either his edger or his leaf blower whining through my window. Unfortunately, so did my dogs. That was all it took to incite them into a loud barking spree.

It would have been so easy to flare up at them, turning my peaceful time into a time of anger and resentment. This is a choice I have made countless times but today I chose differently.

I chose to simply invite them to go outside and bark at the gardener from my backyard where noise wasn’t quite as much of a disruption.

I went back to the page, this time to an issue of Poetry Magazine. I had lost focus and found my words tumbling around in cliché. I wanted to escape the ordinary so I turned to Harriet Monroe’s work of art and gift to the world, a magazine that has given space for word artists to share their voices for the last one hundred years. I used the words there as my cradle and felt the gentle rocking of Jane Hirshfield, Eleanor Wilner, Rabindranath Tagore, Joy Harjo and others.

Jane Hirshfield wrote, “A central task of any life is to affirm what comes – to step through the world’s offered door.” This is the same message all the cliché ridden words had been barking at me earlier, not unlike my in-the-moment noisy dogs.  Ms. Hirshfield, however, wrote her message with such grace.  Listen again: “A central task of any life is to affirm what comes – to step through the world’s offered door.”

Her words allowed me to lean into my notebook and write what felt like a prayer or the beginnings of a divine conversation:

The finches ate through their food in record time.

I was so afraid to come home yesterday.

I am strong enough to feel pain.

I am willing to have difficult conversations.

How far am I willing myself to… the image I feel? Burned.

How far am I willing to permit myself to climb on that mountain of burning stuff, the licking flames, the ones that scorch the bottoms of my feet?

Am I willing to smell the slow burn of the skin on my calves?

What if I gracefully excuse myself before the fire is lit and let someone else play the role of woman with smoldering calves.

I feel myself step aside from myself for a moment. I hear it again: “A central task of any life is to affirm what comes – to step through the world’s offered door.”

What is the world’s offered door requesting of me as an artist, as a woman, as a world changer?

The responses, divinely offered again, merge with the remnants of the poetic words of Jane Hirshfield.

Remember to refill the bird feeder before it is empty.

And you came home, even though you were afraid.

You are mature enough to understand the value and power of pain, well spent, not unlike the value and power of love, well spent.

You have stopped tip toeing in language and are beginning to dive below the surface of language so that you may be more of who you have always been.

You are both burned and healed. The flames lick and they kiss. The soles of your feet are scorched as they are placed in cool water and massaged with healing oils. That slow burn you smell is the salve of your revolution.

You know full well, my love, you will not gracefully or ungracefully excuse myself this time or the next. You are the woman with the smoldering calves.

Words became my refuge as they want to become your refuge as well.

Open your spirit and your notebook, write when it is inconvenient and messy and hurts.

If the dogs bark – use that as a metaphor for any annoying, loud interruption –  take a breath and put them someplace they won’t bother you or elect to be comfortable with their noise.

This is how your words will cradle you, rock you, cherish you and your conversations with yourself with become even more transformative.

Simply stated: you will feel good.

Your art will improve.

You and your people will smile together and separately.

“A central task of any life is to affirm what comes – to step through the world’s offered door.”

Step through the door the world offers to you.

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Julie Jordan ScottJulie Jordan Scott writes, performs and creates art in order to play a part in positive world change. She offers teleclasses, live classes and creativity sessions in her home in Bakersfield and across the globe. Connect with Julie via twitter (@juliejordanscot) and at her blog (juliejordanscott.typepad.com) or visit her Adventures in Creativity at Writing & Creativity Camp: (JJSWritingCamp)

 

Part of the Summer of Authenticity: Fully Alive! series, now available as a free eBook!

 

  • SquarePegKaren

    Ohh, Dian, Julie is one of “my favorite firecrackers of love and poetry and calling forth the muse within our souls” too (waving to Julie!) – and this post is sooo Julie-esque, heart-opening and leading me to fall in love with language again.

    Thanks Julie (and Dian) <3

  • Maria Stepek Doherty

    Sweet and bitter waters flowing in the music of your words, my dear Julie. Sweet and bitter and beautiful. You are an affirmation of life.

  • “Words became my refuge as they want to become your refuge as well.” Yes.

    When I’m stuck I need to remember that the words are in charge, not me. The words have wishes, too….

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