Things You Bury

Maybe blogs are passe. It’s all about Instagram now. And Snapchat. The blink of an eye. A snapshot, a twenty-second video, a phrase rather than a sentence… Bite-sized pieces.

Still… we writers go on writing, encouraging other writers to do the same. To tell their story. To put pen to paper.

In my workshops I offer prompts to launch the process. Each offering results in a kaleidoscope of poetry, prose, and essay to take away your breath. It’s so fascinating and rewarding to listen not only to what’s been written but to hear how each writer hears the others’ words.

It’s also quite remarkable to realize how many words one can write in five to ten minutes. Those bite-sized treasures.

Last week, I had participants write a list of things one buries and then choose one or more and write from there.

Here is my take on Things You Bury

Dreams are buried, although that’s not the first thing that comes to mind when asked about the kind of things one buries. But they are among the things that don’t stay buried. Such as artifacts. They aren’t safe from looters and archeologists. All through Spain, you can walk through dug out ruins to get up close to layers of civilizations buried long ago. In Pompeii the region was entirely buried in ash, not once, but twice, and even now as they dig deeper they’re discovering a yet more ancient culture underneath the known two. They suffocated. That’s how they died when Vesuvius erupted. Lava didn’t kill them, ash did—froze them rigid into a rictus of terror. The dog seems to draw the most interest there; the petrified dog curled around itself. We are sorry for the dog who died two-thousand years ago.

So how do we imagine our petty sorrows, our treasured resentments, or chips of coloured glass will stay buried for long? There are so many who are devoted to their shovels and picks.

Therapists, for instance.

Lovers, too.

The archeologists of the heart.

They are everywhere, it seems.

And if no one else is standing over you with a chisel and a brush to clear away the dust, it will be your own sudden waking from a fit of dreams to reveal all you hoped was buried for good.

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