What is Writing The Body?
Waiting for Stories
They say we are stories, thousands
Carried deep in our cells, our genes, our DNA
The story of the earth and how it came into being
The planets too, the stars, the milky galaxies
And the silver moon pulling the tides.
We are the story of the first human wondering
how flowers can be so bright, trees so varied green
And where the sun goes at dusk only to rise each morning
Behind the arc of the hill, dancing the landscape into colours,
Warming the rock to welcome your sitting
And how about that pungent smell after spring rain,
You know the one, arising to stop your breath?
We are the story of the people who named us and those
Who named them; their voices speaking our names
In love, in hate, in fear, in longing or indifference
We are the story of each look cast upon us, each hand that guided
or didn’t, that fed us or didn’t, that caressed us, or didn’t.
Skin on skin, sometimes velvet, sometime dry and cracking.
I wait, still and silent so I can hear their sounds
My fingers are poised.
Writing the Body
by Sandra Campbell
The way I see it we are writers as we write, just as we are lovers as we love. Writing is about words that we string together. It lets us map our world. It can become our expression of who we are, why we are, where we are—and more, if we choose.
To write our bodies are our primary instruments of knowing. Our sight, smell, hearing, taste and touch bring us into connection with all that’s around us. Then as we engage in this connection our minds dance with words. Memories arise, the imagination awakens--all to make sense of our experience.
Writing requires us to pay attention, to stop, listen, reflect then with pen and paper put down words that convey our experience. In the process, stories emerge—ordinary, extraordinary stories, each one an attempt to make sense of our senses. As Thomas King says, “The truth about stories is that that’s all we are.”
And about those stories: Carl Jung said that meaning makes a great many things endurable, perhaps everything. He also said that meaninglessness inhibits fullness of life and is therefore equivalent to illness. Writing our stories is about making meaning. Your story reflects your unique self. No two people will ever write the same things about the same experience. You will each have a unique story about the what, why, when, how of your being.
In a world of mass media where the formulaic stories of celebrity culture are pumped into us day in and day out, to have a chance to discover our own unique stories and to have them witnessed by our reflective selves enables us to see the world and our place in it with more clarity. As we engage the process it often happens that on the edges of our perception, we discover a voice that’s saying, “Here, I am. This is who I am.”
And that’s the dramatic juice of it all. To write, above all else is to construct a self. The outcome of personal expression is self-knowledge. The drama is also in the mystery. Writing leads us to new perceptions that can surprise. We see anew, if we choose.