And a few more F-words for good measure!

Sage CohenProductive writing2 Comments

Hello and happy Friday! I hope you have at least as many words on the page today as I have crumpled tissues littering the various surfaces of my home. January has kicked off over here with a very devoted strain of bronchitis, accompanied by a surprising and potent smattering of f-words! The one at the top of my most popular post of all time, (Warning: don’t look if profanity offends you–sincere apologies to those already offended) was quickly flanked by an article on using (F-)ear as (F-)uel in the writing life and an essay about becoming (F-)ierce as a writer and a human. You’ll find a spoonful of each below.

Thanks to the profoundly poetic, spiritually expansive Fiona Robyn for featuring my piece Becoming Fierce on the Page at She Writes, which covers, approximately, my journey from here:

When my marriage ended, so did many of my oldest and most central friendships. Surrender became a bonfire, and it was exposing every disrespect I had ever tolerated but not (until now) felt in the brilliant light of consumption. I who had never been angry was distilled to this single, blue flame of rage that cleared my life, my beliefs, my identity right to the very foundation. With no comfort of continuity to cling to, I was like a page torn from its book, floating without context or binding or reference. I was a mess of words that suddenly meant nothing.

Read the full essay. generously shared their pulpit with me so I could proselytize about the opportunities fear presents in the writing life in my article 10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing. It begins:

The writing life presents endless opportunities to meet fear. Facing the blank page, sending work out for publication, and reading to an audience can all be triggers. Fear is neither good nor bad—it’s simply an emotional weather vane that lets us know where we are meeting or anticipating challenge.

Fear becomes a problem when we do (or don’t do) something to try to avoid feeling it. And this is what too many of us are in the habit of doing. For example, if we let the fear of rejection prevent us from pitching or querying or submitting, we are ensuring that we’ll never realize our aspirations. Even worse, we’re reinforcing fear’s position as captain of our craft. But when we consciously work with fear, we can actually harness this energy source in ways that support our writing goals and enhance our writing experience. Here are 10 ways to do it.

Get your 10 tips for facing down fear.

Several paragraphs beyond my initial gratitude for Fiona Robyn, here I am again, grateful to her and her grace-inspiring husband Kaspalita Thompson for more things than I can mention–but especially at this moment for being “chuffed-to-bits” to host me on their fabulous Writing Our Way Home blog. Here’s a small bite:

My son’s gingerbread house dissolved from shape to memory in the sink. Words, too, penetrate my (F-)ixed and willful places until I am something different than the shape I once appeared to be. Outline collapsed to the idea of a woman writing. Idea collapsed to motion.

Read the rest of Writing as a Way of Life.

If I haven’t completely exhausted you with reading assignments, I have one more — but this one is more of a listening and savoring assignment, and it may be the best thing you’ve done for yourself all day. Experience Fiona’s and Kaspa’s (See adoration above) Saved By A Poem Podcast. Pure music. And make sure you really take in Esther Morgan’s poem “This Morning” featured there and read by Fiona. Kim Rosen initiates us into the possibilities of poetry as medicine, and Esther Morgan delivers quite a potent spoonful.

There you have it, folks. Back to my tea and tissues. May your weekend be gentle and bright.

2 Comments on “And a few more F-words for good measure!”

  1. Oh, Sage, (f)eel better soon! I was glad to see your piece over at Fiona and Kasparita’s page. (I only just discovered them while contributing to “a river of small stones” for the first time this month). I’m (f)acing plenty of (f)ears of my own (loved your previous post also…made me laugh). Determined to get my own manuscripts done and out there this year (nonfiction book and a poetry chapbook). Grazie for the inspiration and laughter.

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