Walking Through Clouds

May 4, 2011 - One Response

I was on a panel at Words and Music, a Literary Feast – one of my favorite literary festivals – in New Orleans last fall for which the subject was the essay. “Do you blog?” the editor-moderator asked each of the panelists. “No, and I hate the very word!” I answered. “When I write, I want to write something substantial.”

Indeed, for several years, I vowed to avoid the dreaded blog by running on our web site long letters to the Zona Rosans, the members the series of Writing-and-Living workshops I founded in 1981 and which I’ve led for 30 years.

So why am I beginning this series now?

For one thing, while the letters began well enough, they turned into novella-length efforts as I sought to recount every wonderful thing, every triumph, every publication, as well as every significant life event among our members – and after letter # 3, I realized that composing them was taking a huge hunk from the rest of my writing life.

Also, because I realized that every month, momentous events happen, memorable moments take place, and remarkable ideas are exchanged at Zona Rosa  – events, moments and ideas that I’m no longer content to put on the back burner until I’m ready to write my next Zona Rosa book.

The first two are The Woman Who Spilled Words All Over Herself: Writing and Living the Zona Rosa Way and Secrets of the Zona Rosa: How Writing and Sisterhood can Change Women’s Lives. That future book, by the way, is tentatively titled The Zona Rosa Book of Everything: How to Heal Yourself (No Matter What’s Happened), Get Younger Everyday (Whatever Your Age) & Have the Best Times of Your Life (No Matter What’s Holding You Back), Using One Simple Tool.

And other Zona Rosa books are waiting in the wings,, already described in full in my endless “Writing Notes” notebooks, including Sisters and Poets Cook Foods of the Goddesses (my sister Anne and I, both poets, are also avid cooks) and Cooking in the Pink: The Compleat Zona Rosa Cookbook. (As is obvious, food plays a large part in the pleasure we take in Zona Rosa! Our breaks for Foods of the Goddesses – snacks, special dishes and desserts brought by our members – is a part of every meeting. And then there are my collections of poetry, the novels already begun and notes for enough essays to keep me busy for many years.

But right now, I’m writing a memoir that I began over ten years ago, tentatively titled My Anarchist Heart. The book is the third in a trilogy, along with my earlier published memoirs on growing up Southern and female, Fatal Flowers: On Sin, Sex, and Suicide in the Deep South and Sleeping with Soldiers It’s a very different kind of book, with its own imperative – “ “unflinching, dark and powerful” an agent friend called it, though there’s a shimmer at the end.

Thus, sharing the light that comes into my life every month via Zona Rosa has come to seem like a good way to balance that major effort.

! Indeed, our breaks for Foods of the Goddesses – snacks, special dishes and desserts brought by our members – is a part of every meeting.)

But for the moment, I’m focused on my new memoir, tentatively titled My Anarchist Heart — the third in a trilogy that includes Fatal Flowers: On Sin, Sex, and Suicide in the Deep South and Sleeping with Soldiers — that I began over ten years ago. It’s a very different kind of book, with its own imperative – “ “unflinching, dark and powerful” an agent friend called it, though it has, thank the Goddess, a shimmer at the end.

And sharing the light that comes into my life every month via Zona Rosa seems like a good way to balance that major effort, that voluntary trip into darkness, the darkness that heals – or as the great psychologist Carl Jung said, “We don’t see the light by looking at images of light; we see the light by looking at the dark.” Also, I know that reading of how someone else has survived great difficulty has often inspired me, and I hope that My Anarchist Heart will do the same for others.

So okay, here I am ready to dig out of that particular dark by writing about all the great stuff in my life and in Zona Rosa.

And what happens almost as I write this?

I learn that Angela Lain — a dear friend, super talented writer and member of our Atlanta Alpha Babes Zona Rosa group – those are only a few of the superlatives one might use to describe her –has suddenly, unexpectedly died. At the moment, we are all grieving, and more about the intrepid Angela and what she meant – means – to us in my next – yes – blog.

And right now, I’m wondering what blogs mean to you, and whether you think they’re worth it.

And right now, I’m wondering what blogs mean to you, and whether you think they’re worth it.

© Rosemary Daniell 2011

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