Tuesday, November 30, 2010
"We are no longer the moon..."
My first blog visit this morning was to Sherry O'Keefe where her quotes from William Kittredge shoved me forward.
This spring, as I followed threads to blogging writers whose work came to reignite my own writing dreams, I pulled many books from the shelves. With these volumes near, I could bind them around me if that was how their juice would leach through, I renewed friendships with sidelined voices.
One of these, still piled next to me, is GODDESSES by Mayumi Oda, in which she transforms the traditional masculine Buddhist Gods into their joyous female counterparts.
Oda tells of seeking liberation, of discovering Japanese women writers, including Raicho Hiratsuka, writing in 1911 for the introduction of a new feminist magazine called SEITO, which means Blue Stockings, from the English feminist movement:
In primeval times, women were one with
the sun and truth of all-being.
Now we are like pale-faced moons who
depend on others and reflect their light.
Women, please let your own sun, your
concentrated energy, your own submerged
authentic vital power shine out from you.
We are no longer the moon.
Today we are truly the sun.
We will build shining golden cathedrals
at the top of crystal mountains, East of
the Land of the Rising Sun.
Women, when you paint your own portrait,
do not forget to put the golden dome at
the top of your head.
With the Kittridge quote, "Stories are a thicket to catch the mind from falling," caroming around my head, GODDESSES was the title that stood out from the others stacked by the computer. As Oda guides us through her life, reveals the stages of her creative emergence, she makes clear the connections of family, tradition, spiritual practice, politics, self-discovery and making our dreams come true.
My experience is not so much about gender as an impediment to finding and sustaining a true voice. My greatest obstacle is me. I respond to the urging that we allow our own sun to burst forth, a light that is so easily blocked by mistaken notions of who we are, of what is possible, of fear.
A conversation yesterday revealed a friend's delight in the focus, passion and ability to retell stories in microscopic detail of an independent young man with life-long challenges of intellect and development. I was humbled by such determination, by clarity of purpose. We possess, I believe, all power to make of ourselves what we will. The colors and truths we contain have no limit. Yet within that I see a necessary balance, as though we are in a process of re-parenting ourselves, encouraging freedom and effort without expectations of where it will lead. I have seen the disappointment on too many faces in my life, I do not want to be one of them as I regard my work.
Rebecca Loudon reminded us to love our own art more. To me, that means embracing the fact that it may have its grandfather's nose and a sneeze so loud it can be heard down the block. To know when we have reached enough, erased enough, revised enough, stripped first AND second gear trying to be faster and better and nearly perfect, is a wisdom that grows slowly, like any meaningful practice. Aspire and accept, unlikely twins - they may have been separated at birth - but they seem to offer a way to do this work and live to tell about it.