“BEHOLD A SACRED VOICE IS CALLING YOU. ALL OVER THE SKY A SACRED VOICE IS CALLING YOU.” a quote from Black Elk
Once you establish (for yourself) why you write–is it because you feel something or are provoked in some way; is it for catharsis, clarity, to communicate, for integration, revelation, pleasure or because you can, because you must?–from here you begin. And, as Pablo Neruda spoke so eloquently in his poem…we write to “convey to others what we are.”
BUT HOW DO I BEGIN? WHERE DO I BEGIN? These are age-old questions for the new writer especially. The simplest answer is to begin where you are with what you know. As we’ve seen in an earlier post, listing your curiosities and passions can be the lead-ins for writing something.
Sometimes, beginning is just about making a mark on a page…a symbol, favorite number, any letter, a scribble…MAKE A MARK! NOW!
Phew, you got that out of the way; a beginning.
Intrinsically, we know how to begin. We begin again and again with each new day. That first cup of tea, coffee or juice in the morning marks the starting gate for entering the portal of a new day. I love the optimism in waking to a new day. I remember the old man in the beginning of the film, “The Milagros Beanfield Wars.” He wakes up as a ray of sunshine warms his face, he gives a slight smile. With some effort he sits up on the side of his bed. He stands with greater effort and his breath quickens. Stooped, he shuffles across the tiny space of his hovel, his breathing hard and fast. The rooster in the yard crows. He squints into the oval mirror and says–“Thank you, God, for letting me have another day.”
Beginning signifies entering. When you designate a time for writing, you enter non-ordinary or altered time. It is a time apart. This time apart can be referred to as sacred.
In this time and the physical space that you have created, there is the possibility for something new to emerge. You are the scribe who shows up, pen-in-hand, open to this possible emergence. However, if you don’t begin, don’t enter, there is only dreaming and dormancy. Entering, beginning, taking the first step, we accept the invitation to write.
On the next page of your journal, print your full name. If you have a middle name, include that. Write the date, time and place of your birth. Write the name of the hospital where you were born (or was it a home birth–or in a taxi on the way to the hospital?). Write down the city, state and country of your birth. What are the names of your parents? Do you have siblings, older or younger and how many? Where are you in the birth order? Write it all down. Write one significant thing that you would like to note about your birth?
Ah, you’ve noted a few details about your beginnings. Good for you! Details are important to a writer. Details make one story unique from another.
In order to feel that you can say whatever wants to be spoken, you have to feel a great degree of safety–especially in your private journal. I recommend that you safeguard your writing. Store your journal in a place which feels secure and away from prying eyes. Freedom to write, at this stage, means that you are not inhibited in exploring your truths, thoughts and feelings. You decide when and what you want to share and with whom when the time and conditions are right.