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February 22, 2007

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Ampersand

Well, even though we are strangers in many ways, "I love and value you."

And in many ways we are not strangers at all.

Keep writing it down.

Kim

Richard Lawrence Cohen

How does one make friends with one's shame (or other negative traits)? This is always a sticking point for me.

tamarika

Thanks, Kim. I appreciate your words so much. They bring me comfort.

Richard,
I think befriending the shame for me, is that I get to know what all the nuances of feelings mean. I realize it is an ancient feeling from dark, lonely, confusing childhood hours and not relevant to the present. First I just sit with the discomfort of it, feel the pain in my stomach, under my rib-cage, and eyes burning with it. Breathe deeply and feel it. Sometimes I even say to myself in my mind things like, "Okay, I recognize you, pain. I know exactly when I have felt like that before. Why am I bringing you back to me now?"

It probably sounds crazy. But my wounds are deep and if I don't "do drugs" I have to help myself in other ways ...

It hasn't always been like that. When I was younger I would act out, or do all kinds of self-destructive stuff. I was on the run from facing it. Big-time!

Ilene

Why does one write? To make things right? To explain and exorcise? To rework the script? Is writing therapy? Or is it a way of pushing beyond the limitations put on us by childhood pains, of working the world out in a way that gives us power: gods and goddesses of the page.

So what is writers block? A refusal to take control, a lapse into self-destruction, a slip into the old patterns where no matter what, you're always helpless, small and never quite good enough? Let alone good enough to control or create your fate?

Or perhaps the two don't connect at all. Perhaps making friends with shame isn't it at all. Maybe recognizing at last that you don't need it - it's simply an old habit, a familiar tug on the leash.

Ah. I love and hate reading your thoughts, T. -- they remind me too much of someone I know quite too well:)

To my valued and self-flagellating pal...I.

TherapyDoc

How crazy is it that I chose this evening to stop over and visit?

Not to mention (2 degrees of separation if you're Jewish) that I just wrote about shame and fear of exposure, posted it yesterday, maybe the day before, can't remember since my days generally do flow into one long day until Shabbas.

Anyway, Tamar, the way to beat the nasty S word is through forgiving you, but you start w/ making amends to others if necessary, then learning thru disaster, and finally getting outside of you and showing interest in someone else who could use all that energy you're wasting feeling badly.

well, that's one way. the other is back to therapy to figure out all the freaking Why's, so self-indulgent, honest.

okay, i'll shut up now.

tamarika

These are big comments that have given me so much to think about. I was thrilled to have TherapyDoc over for a visit and certainly stopped by to read your post which was interesting indeed! Thanks for all the ideas and tips about how to and the why's etc. Making amends made me smile. I have the feeling that I think by now I've paid the fine, my dues, and as the Jeff Bridges character in "Fisher King" says, have paid my fine and want to go home!

Ilene,
I appreciated your input very much indeed. Man oh man - you *are* such a good writer! I adore how you have worded the challenges and complexities of feeling. And I recognize a fellow, nay, *sister*-traveller. I feel tremendously lucky to be developing this friendship. Thank you so much.

Neil

I'm sorry to hear that you have these feelings gnawing at you at times. But I have complete confidence that you will work things out. The first thing you should do is disconnect your writing from your "shame." They have nothing to do with each other. You are free to express yourself to others. We will always back you up. The hard part is not with us or with the writing, but getting yourself to be comfortable with yourself.

tamarika

Neil,
I like what you have to say. It makes so much sense. One of my problems is that, in fact, I have been "shamed" for my writing, and it has tapped into deeper, early childhood feelings. I am trying to rid myself of it because intellectually I know a) that shame and writing are not connected, and b) those who shamed me have their own problems. That is to say: it's not about me!

What makes me so happy about your comment is:

"You are free to express yourself to others. We will always back you up."

I guess I need to be reminded that sometimes as I become closer to feeling more comfortable with myself.

Thanks so much.

Jean

Yet another post from you that went so deep with me that no comment seemed adequate. A few days before I read this I had been talking to a cousellor who has become a kind of friend, we appreciate one another so much, and finally making - I think - some very important connections; starting to see (no, not just to see - to believe) that progress with change, creativity, fulfilment in life has to be worked on, and waited for, from two perspectives simultaneously. On the one hand, cultivating better habits, 'doing it anyway' - the stuff that meditation, yoga, exercise, regular work habits help with. On the other, accepting that sometimes this is not enough; sometimes if progress is unduly, inexplicably slow, it's because deep, deep stuff from the very centre of life and identity has to shift along with the particular project in hand. This is true for me with my wish to move from London and have a different lifestyle. It is therefore very slow, but, oh, if I manage, however slowly, to do it, I think it will be really big change this time. So I read this and had an image of a big piece of you healing up as you write your second, and no doubt very important, book. What a wonderful image. Worth all the pain, all the slowness. Life-changing indeed.

tamarika

Jean,
This description of how we change and the depth and slow-ness of it is so beautiful. I agree so much. Yes, I do sense that this next book is big for me. It is related to stuff I have been thinking about for so many years - it is like a dream for me. And I fear it by the same token because who knows where it will lead me. My first book opened my heart and mind to me in ways that I least expected.

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