Radical Writing Circle with Mary Sojourner

Saturday at the A Fire at the Mountain Anti-Colonial and Anarchist Bookfair I participated in a writing circle with Mary Sojourner and a number of my comrades from town.  After talking a bit, she got us started on our first exercise.  She gave us a sentence to start with, and told us to write until she told us to stop.  This is what I wrote:

I can’t stop it pouring from my heart.  When I left Tucson the last time in July I knew I had to leave.  The last night I slept at the Halfway House I kept second guessing myself, thinking of every possible reason why leaving made little to no sense but knew I had to leave.

It took a whole day to make sure I took care of everything I needed to before leaving, but I moved like on autopilot and was done doubting.

I did get stuck in Marana for a day which was sort of nightmarish and had some creeping doubts, but just couldn’t turn around.  Once I really started rolling, I was in Tempe, then Indio, California by the end of my second day On The Road and knew I’d be fine.

There were a few moments when I felt how completely out of control my situation was, but it was actually a good feeling.  I imagined that it was what it felt like to be in the womb of a Loving mother or in a cocoon, an autonomous creature in transformation though temporarily stuck in one place.

I spent far too much time thinking about Tucson, but was totally at peace with the lack of solid direction that I had.  Direction, quit literally was all I felt.  I wanted to go west on the 10 from Tucson, then north on the 5 from LA.

I wasn’t sure what else I was doing, but I was sure of the direction I was heading.  It took me two weeks to the day to reach Olympia, and after about 24 hours, the same uncontrollable feelings had me headed back south, getting to Eugene the same day I left.


For the second exercise, Mary gave us some words to think about such as colors, smell/scent, light, weather, dark, blood.  Then again she gave us another sentence asking us to write non-stop what came to mind though to keep away from polemics this time.  This is what I wrote:

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Someone stumbled back inside the Halfway House from fighting outside and I thought he was going to die.  His temple was bulged out so far I thought it had to be his brains coming out and there was nothing we could do about it, he had to go to a hospital.

There was blood and beer all over the floor but he laid down anyways.  For someone to be hurt so bad that they lay down on that floor you know there’s big trouble.

His friends help him into a car and the rest of the fighting has stopped.  People left or calmed down but many of us stand around in the relative cool of a Tucson night in June, long after the sun has set, before the monsoons make town muggy.

The front yard is mostly lit by the yellow haze of a street light, and there’s still a lot of angst in the air as people talk about what happened and why.  The police show up long after the fighting stops for the second time that day, and are luckily reasonable and leave.  There’s a little chaos anyways, and the House finally mostly clears out for the night and I try to sweep and mop at least the places there are blood.

As two women walk out, one says to the other, “People live here,” and I smirk because I am one of them.  I live in the laundry room, or at least for about another month.


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