Some things that have been inspiring me lately:

An interview w/hip hop artist Maya Azucena on the LatinoUSA radio show. Her music has its own unique sound and when the interviewer asked her about that, she said, “The thing about imitating is, if you’re an imitator, you can always only be second best… Stick to being yourself. If you’re the greatest you you can be, there’s no competition.”



♥ Re-reading the novel They Who Do Not Grieve by Sia Figiel, the first woman from Samoa to publish novels in English. I’m not yet up to full reading strength yet (I hear this is common for writers who’ve just finished a book), so I am finding it comforting to re-read books I already know. This one surprised me by being even more amazing than I remembered. So powerful and compelling: sexuality, secrets, taboos, silences & how to break them, cycles of oppression & how to break them, colonialism, home, migration… all told by really powerful, heartbreaking narrators.

Sia Figiel: They Who Do Not Grieve photo of Sia Figiel by Sarah Hunter

♥ My dreams—always a rich well of images and life juice.

The other night I dreamed that someone was coming over to clean my house, and I was embarrassed because it was so messy: There were flower petals everywhere. I told the woman that I had intended to vacuum before she got there, and she looked at me and said, “You don’t have to vacuum, honey, that’s why we’re here.” 

So I’m trying to remember that (1) help is available, and (2) even when things seem like a mess and I’m not as organized or together as I feel like I should be, it’s because there have been and continue to be an abundance of “flowers” in my life. The fifth person in a week asking me to send my bio URGENTLY, even though it’s right up there on my website?  A flower.  Being tired cuz I stayed up too late watching tv on  A flower.  Having a hundred emails in my inbox that I feel overwhelmed about handling and am therefore procrastinating?  Flowers, flowers, flowers.  

♥ My Facebook friends! OK, weird, but it feels very good to be reminded on a regular basis of the awesome community/communities that I am part of and the emotional, political, and logistical resources available to me through people I know.  I’m hooked up with amazing artists and activists and people doing good work in a lot of different ways, struggling, loving their families, creating, sharing what they’re passionate about, organizing, resting, reflecting, celebrating, hurting, making change in the world… and doing it together.

♥ Bay Area poet Kim Addonizio’s book on creativity, Ordinary Genius. I first became a fan of Kim Addonizio’s writing when I reviewed her book of poems Jimmy & Rita for my Bay Area Books column in the San Jose Mercury News, way back in the olden days when newspapers actually had book review sections. Recently I went to her reading for Ordinary Genius at the Booksmith, and thought it would be just the creative spark I need to start getting interested in writing again. I like it because I can open it to a random page and find an exercise and do it quickly in a few minutes … just to feel the juices flowing.

Here’s a video of Kim talking about the book:

And here’s a little “poem” I dashed off this afternoon based on one of her suggestions (I’m calling it a “poem” in quotes because for me it’s not really a poem until I’ve had a chance to sit with it, consider the form & each word carefully, revise, decide whether it’s worthwhile. So right now it’s sort of a pre-poem, to me, like a doodle might be to a visual artist…):

I wanted to touch you, your three-
dimensional world.  Against
the sphere of you    I am flat,
so flat, like the earth
before Copernicus
in the days when everyone we knew
knew the same truth,
when the books were illumined
in gold.   I have thousands of books within me
while you are all air,
that emptiness that spins
at the core of me, too,
& all of us
in between every molecule,
if you want to know.  
You don’t. So whole alone
you don’t need me,
no slot for me in your life,
nor for anyone.  I want to place my mouth on you
& breathe.

Instead I spin, going nowhere,
absorbing & repeating
the undiminished memory of your
one perfect curve. 

The exercise was to look around the room, list several objects, choose two of the objects, then write about one of them being in love with the other. I chose a stack of computer CDs being in love with the yoga ball. Hmm!  After I wrote it, I read, “This is an excellent exercise to do if you are in love, or have just lost a love, or are obsessed with someone who does not love you, or are lonely for someone to love.” 

Yes, this IS what writers do for fun.


One thought on “Inspiration

  1. Wowowowowow! SO much here. Thanks for the additions to my reading list. And the poem–well, if that’s a doodle, I am excited to be skipping my way through one of your paintings.

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