Today is National Reach As High As You Can Day! Go ahead, you can do it!
Join me in giving a big congratulations to Michelle Myers, the winner of my women’s writing contest – “Embrace The Changing You!” and the $200 prize.
Michelle is opting to use the money for a writer’s workshop to hone her craft or donate it to a cause close to her heart.
Michelle’s wonderful essay titled “Ideal Writing Place” received the most votes from all my readers of the five finalist essays written to the prompt “Write about a positive change you made or a discovery about yourself in 2020 that celebrates the authentic you.”
Thank you and congratulations to the other four finalists and to all the other essayists who entered and wrote from the heart. This was a fun contest to run and I was so pleased with the result that I am hoping to have another essay contest next year.
Essay 1 – Rose and The Vampire of Ogrencisi – Shalom Aranas
Essay 2 – Discovering Me 2020 – KristyLyn Reddy
Essay 4 – Speak Up! Now or Never! – MJ Pramik
Essay 5 – Embracing My Writing Self – Diane Stevens
WINNER – IDEAL WRITING PLACE – Michelle Myers
My fantasy writing space actually exists in what I refer to as the Unicorn sparkle Library — my second room which holds a cream-colored writer’s desk, my bookshelves, art supplies, and my most special life artifacts. There is the Green Mary scapula from my grandmother, my quotes from Whitman, Shakespeare, and Thomas Merton, my miniature knitted, hot pink pussy cat cap, my frayed magic wand from the girl’s group I co-led in São Paulo, and my grandparent’s old desk lamp is framed by the rise of the hillside. There is a cozy sense of ease in this pristine, symbol-infested room and I rarely settle down to write there.
Instead, I’ll find myself, at dawn — actually before sunrise, out at my dining room kitchen table. There is a view there that somehow brings me closer to God out at that table. All my important symbols — the markers of my life, achievements, and adventure mulch inside of me and simply do not matter. The sky is a canvas and becomes holy every moment as the light brightens. Is it holy because it is fleeting? — yes, that must be part of it. It must remind me that the words within me are fleeting as well — like my dreams — and that the ministerial work I must do is to be a monk, in patient reverie sitting with these words. This monk might be crafting and carving these words in a damp monastery, words that could be vaulted and might never be seen.
Or like Venus, the morning star who unfailingly greets me from this eastern-facing vantage point, there is a devotional work I must do with these words. In discovering the words of my writing, I can follow Venus’ way of loving —how she, after warning Adonis of her dream that he would be fatally wounded on his hunt, and waiting for her beloved’s body, finally she has him lying before her dead. I have come to find that I plead with my words not to run out of me and to hunt their stories — I am fearful like Venus — I want a comfortable life where warnings are heeded and safety wins the day. But my words are on the hunt, like Adonis defying Venus’s fears. They have to connect to their stories, they must be lived, and my insecurities cannot stop them from the mysterious trails they will hurl themselves down in pursuit of the game.
I imagine that finding him dead, Venus would cradle each of Adonis’s muscles, his skin, hair, and bones with softness of fingertips. So I too can greet these words, and finding them, can slay them, bring them down to the page, and tend to them. The reaching in me stretches beyond shame and shyness to touch the sky’s color — Venus, the Sun, the fading moon, me, the world—harnessing words and energy. Every day, she creeps in with the light, streaking through sky’s newly birthed cloud, fog, and air.
Yes, I can wait out the hunt there at the sturdiness of kitchen table looking out at the east hills, comforted by the rich burnt cookie smell of my coffee pot—stabilized enough to play with the feast of words within. My table, surrounded by her majesty palms, reminds me of the wildness of my heart and the interlaced infinite pathways of my mind. The table is spacious, clean of clutter, open to possibilities again and again. Like the page in front of me, I can constellate any form of beingness or doingness. The clean-cut space of the table’s wood at times evoking in me the spaciousness of a burst of wide, grassy field that appears after hours of having to find one’s footing carefully walking in a dark woods all day long. Standing in the spaciousness, the field is a relief and thus, the treacherous labyrinth of the dark trail through the woods becomes a treasure after all. There, on that table, the writing is a delicious meal, a ritual, a sacrifice — it all depends on which setting I choose or what sails in with the sun’s rising and lights up the courage inside of me to let it take form.
Michelle S. Myers is a bilingual psychotherapist, originally from and currently living with her faithful terrier mix Perry Berry Benicio Myers in the Valley of the heart’s delight, San José, California. Brought up a left-leaning catholic, Michelle no longer is waiting for Rome to wake up to women’s ordination, but has decided to go ahead on her own, and ordain the women around her who are spiritual writers, teachers, leaders, activists, and mystics. She was very influenced by the Jesuit principles of God in all things and social justice in her formative years which led her to travel, volunteer in, and live in Latin America for many years. After a time of working in community mental health and advocacy for immigrants, Michelle now works in private practice and is thrilled to occasionally commune with the writers of her Friday morning writing group led by professor, poet, and novelist, Lita Kurth.