On writing and also, an encounter with the fire goddess
List all the things you must take care of before you can write
- The overflowing toilet
- The emails that matter
- The emails that don’t matter and yet, fascinate you
- The stopped up kitchen sink
- The staying with Mom for the weekend
- That hilarious YouTube video
- The laundry
- That tear-jerker of a blog post
- The groceries – and the putting away of cans, bottles, fruit and vegetables
- The sudden need to finally, once and for all, figure out how put those incredibly wasteful produce bags to real use before recycling them
- The reorganization of the kitchen cabinets
- The daughter going back to college
- The son coming home from summer in Hamptons (three weeks before leaving for a semester in London) . . . with laundry
- The sudden need to weed the entire garden
- The sudden need to reorganize ALL the drawers
- The sudden need to tear all the pages out of journals dating ten years back (and this is a lot of journals) so that you can type them
- The sudden need to type them
- The crisis at the office – that you created earlier in the week by not paying attention
- The hour(s) that you sat on Twitter, deep in conversation about something VERY important while the book that is almost finished sat on the cafe table beside you glowing
- …. and the urgent need to drive to daughter’s college with the items she forgot – a book, a bra, a pair of shorts that you found in the laundry – and take her out to breakfast during your sacred writing time.
Finally, you drive to your favorite writing cafe, final manuscript of book carefully tucked into briefcase
And as you pull into the parking spot, your car catches fire.
Yes it does.
With smoke and melting plastic and everything.
“It must have overheated. You probably let the water run out,” your husband says. But he doesn’t hold it against you. He loves you, as he always has, just as you are – he loves your face, your arms and hands, your forgetfulness. He loves your cooking, your eyes, your little (size 6) feet.
“I’ll be right there,” he says, as he always has, and he comes and turns the key and the car makes this screechy sound and your husband says, “Go work on your book. I will come back for you later.”
Finally, you reach for the book and begin to write.
The next day, while you are perusing (aka fake shopping) the Garnet Hill catalog which is quite possibly the most fascinating and incredible thing you have ever seen, your husband has to remind you that your car is sitting there, in front of your favorite cafe, waiting.
So you go there, and you wait for AAA to arrive and your cell phone rings and your friend, whose name is Sweet Grass now (a name that was given to her by a Shaman during a ceremony last year) calls and reminds you that she is driving down from Boston to take you to her women’s mysteries circle for the first time…
Late afternoon, at Jay’s Auto Repair, you find in the sitting room, a miniature Hindu temple. Perched atop of a stack of magazines, the temple has working doors that open onto rooms lined in silver foil. It is draped in faux-gold chains and brightly colored ribbons.
You’ve seen it before. It has always given you a reassuring feeling about Jay. This time you notice that it is surrounded with postcards of Kali.
You get into your husband’s car and drive across the bridge. On the way, you call your husband and say, “I’m so glad you’re with me, Sam,” a line from The Lord of The Rings which you have always liked. And he laughs and says, “My name is not Sam.”
You sit in a circle with seven women who are strangers until you pass the talking stick three times. When it is your turn to speak, you tell them, in three pieces, the story of the dream in which this dream is taking place:
This was the summer of the fire birth. The summer when, as the heat blazed out of doors, I stayed inside burning with light. This was the summer when I crawled into the cave, when a tongue of fire found me and licked at my soul, dissolving the veils with a tongue of terrifying love. This was the summer when, in dreams, the angels showed me to see with my eyes closed. This was the summer when I let myself get wild and wide and wise, and when, finally, after six years of gestation, the birthing began.
A red velvet sack is passed around the circle and each woman draws an angel card. On yours there is a picture of an angel completely covered with hearts – red plump valentines – and a single world: Love.
With hugs and warmth, the circle opens, each dissolves into the dark night, you climb into your husband’s car and pull onto the road toward home.
And then, as you reach the center of town, all shuttered and quiet for the night, there is a great bang and clatter and the muffler of your husband’s car hits the pavement, sparks flying.
You pull to the curb in front of a gift shop. Yes, I said a GIFT shop – and now there are tears of terror and wonder and awe running down your cheeks.
You laugh, you howl, you grin – in the way of the wild ones – for now you know, beyond the slightest doubt that what has touched you, what has been touching you all along, and has left you stranded in darkness in the middle of the night is standing right beside you.
You have never felt more not alone, more protected, more loved in your life.