Juiced! That’s what it’s like for me every Thursday morning. We sit around a table in the LCS pavilion to do timed writing together in companionable silence. It’s not a writers group, it’s a writing group, the process putting us all at an equal level. We get the prompt and each go on our journeys with it. It’s my Juice Group! The participants are free to attend whenever, so there’s a flow of writers, and the optional sharing is set up to be lovely and safe. This morning there were eight of us. Here is the prompt we all used, and where I went with it. I think the writing may give you a flavor of what happens when you let yourself be surprised by what is really on your mind.
3/15/18 prompt: Remember what you wore as a teen. Begin with a small part of one of those garments. Write what happens to you or a character.
I wore a black felt poodle skirt but instead of poodles, mine had a big felt flying owl flying on the front. We loved our poodle skirts because they were IN and we sisters each had one. They were round things and if laid it out on the floor, made a perfect circle with a hole in the middle for the whirler.
It swirled out like a hoolahoop when I spun around in the big bedroom, in front of the full-length mirror on the back of the closet door. Three of us slept in that room and four more in two other bedrooms, and two little ones downstairs in the den near Mom and Dad’s bedroom.So it was rare to be in that big bedroom by myself, to actually have the space to spin around, and to have the mirror all to myself.
I liked it that the owl was a single quiet owl, not a noisy family of owls, not a group or a class of owls. When I swirled in my poodle skirt, that owl and I could fly. Just us, individuals, not a glom of lookalike kids whose names their own mother continually mixed up, but who got instantly recognized on the street of our small town as being a member of that clan, distinctions between us never noticed.
The owl was white, flying in the mysterious black felt night of the skirt. I didn’t know it, but when I put on that ritual garment, I was acting as a (baby) shaman. I put on the owl’s ways. I could feel myself enter the power animal worlds. I wouldn’t have articulated any of this then, when I was maybe eleven. But traveling back there now, even though I didn’t have any verbal explanation for it then, I know I experienced the journey in my body. On the cusp of adolescence, and Owl was the power animal come to help me through the terrifying passage!
I feel myself back there, wearing the skirt and looking down at the owl. From my vantage point as garment-wearer, the white owl is flying out from me, going out into the scary and exciting world— a traveler checking out the terrain before I got there.
Go! I say to Owl now. You who fly so high, and can see so accurately in the dark velvet, tell me everything you see and experience out there on the path of life. You, Owl, who can so swiftly and fiercely find your sustenance, please help me. Dear Power Animal of my Younger Self, please go out from me and clear my path. You, Silent One. You, ferocious in your focus. Go, Owl, Solitary One flying out ahead of me, because I still need you. I need you now. For now my passage is the final journey. Dear Owl, open the portal, so I may pass.
I began the group here in January 2017 with Michael Koch, using the guidelines from the Amherst Writers and Artists http://writingourselveswhole.org/about/awa-method/, which we both had experienced in a writing group in Yelapa. For me, it’s still the Juice Group. Feel free to drop in any Thursday at 10 AM at the Lake Chapala Society Ken Gosh Pavilion.