>It is Friday and I am getting ready to see my last client of the day before heading off the the exquisite Sir William Mackenzie Inn in Kirkfield, Ontario, for a Turning Leaves writing retreat. Wind is blowing sharp wet snow in all directions on the street today, so I am leaning into the wind and imagining fireside writings and readings. In workshops, classes, writing circles and retreats I write like mad. During one Sunday sanctuary with Sue Reynolds’ group I wrote 4000 words. And they didn’t even stink. After reading Natalie Goldberg’s, Writing Down the Bones and Long Quiet Highway, I have given myself permission to write crap. The miracle is, that giving such permission seems to open the gates to metaphor, imagery and insight I didn’t have a clue were there.

Alone, I manage. Barely. Honestly, those emails, Facebook updates, and dirty dishes always have the siren’s call. So whenever I have the opportunity to write with others, I’m so there. Give me a prompt and I’m flying. When I look over the scenes in my novel, I can identify most of them by where I wrote them, who else was present, and often the prompt that set the scene in motion. It’s odd, because the act of writing IS solitary.

This weekend, I have a stack of scenes I want to write. A miscarriage, a Jungian dream workshop, a different meeting for my protagonist’s love interest for starters. And I want to play with shifting from first person to third person limited for the same character. That’s novel, isn’t it?

One of the things I cherish about working with the writers currently in my life, is that we generally use feedback rather than critiquing as a response to the writing. In these stages of tremendous vulnerability (someone said to me recently that it is that very vulnerability that allows us to write with sensitivity, depth and honesty) it feels safe to read when you know that no one is going to tell you what’s wrong with the piece. With work that is hot off the heart, the responses are always about what is strong for the listener, what stays, etc. Reading aloud gives a new dimension, especially to dialogue, and being able to feel how the listeners respond is so helpful in seeing my work from different perspectives.

So here I go, to write my heart and then expose it.