Weeds near a sidewalk, Seattle, www.carolineallen.com
Imagine yourself as a field. Well, a clearing really. One one side a muddy expanse, leading to an area of long grass, abutting scrubby low-lying bushes whose branches intertwine like a spider’s web. The grass is too tall to mow, and someone has run a tractor over it and it lays on its side like thick lime green hair. To the other side of you is an expanse of hard dirt. Edging this, a forest of oak, sasafras, maple, perfect in their vertical aesthetic. An autumn wood with leaves that crunch underfoot as you walk the path to a winding creek. Water flows over fist-sized smooth rocks. The smells are of cold mud, musk, grit. The sounds, an owl, a small animal skittering through brush, water tapping an uneven tune.
What is missing from this clearing?
I had a dream of this and I was asked to look around this clearing (a very Missouri earth place) and to say what was missing.
I knew immediately and said so. Nothing.
It was as it was, muddy, flat, vertical. It was as it was. It was me, this expanse of earth. It was my soul. It was just so.
In the dream, the voice said: When you think of writers you work with, or yourself as a writer, or writers you meet outside of work, what then is missing?
Nothing. Of course. People are as they are, boring here, overgrown there, beautiful beyond. It’s all good. It’s all perfect.
When I coach, this is what I believe. There is nothing missing from a writer. They have everything they need. Right there. Just in BEING. Maybe we need to excavate the voice, but nothing is changed; the essence is simply unearthed.
In the dream, a poem about all of this came to me. It was so beautiful and I can’t remember it. But it was called: Come as you are. Come as you are to writing. Come as you are to coaching. Come as you are to any art you’ve been dying to do. Just come. Show up! Just show up.
Come as you are. Muddy path or cracked earth, high end aesthetic or low. Just come as you are. If we think the earth isn’t good enough, if we manicure and conquer it, what must we think of ourselves? Our earth selves? If we destroy the earth how much of our true selves do we destroy?
The true voice we seek as writers and artists is the song of the unmolested earth, its boring scrubgrass, its fractal chaos, its glorious regeneration. The true voice is the root, the stem, the full grown oak. The voice of an artist is just that. Just so. Just so.
Rage or love, depression or ecstacy, addiction or meditation – what are all of these but a reaction to an abused earth? Bring those too. Just come. Come as you are.
I am a writing coach. www.artofstorytellingonline.com firstname.lastname@example.org