The Writer as Shaman, Ruth Schwartz, and Dank Smelly Snippets…

I spoke with a soul doctor today. No, not a priest or minister, although they attend the soul too, but rather a psychotherapist who specifically works with authors and poets.

This psychotherapist is also a writer. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a B. A. in Women’s Studies.

Yet what actually drew me to Ruth L. Schwartz was her advertisement on Facebook that stated, The Writer as Shaman.

So much, if not all of my writing is about healing–that of my characters, and mine as a wife, mother, writer, and person.

Writing is about digging–inside the character and personalities of your protagonist, their antagonist, the supporting cast, and alas, me, the writer.

Why am I writing this story?

What does it mean to me?

What grips me about it disabling me to let it go, even though I don’t seem to be progressing?

I’m stuck,” I said to Ruth during our 30 minute session this morning. Regular appointments or sessions with Ruth are 2-3 hours. Prior to that you speak with her detailing the writing challenge on which you desire help.

I’m not a book doctor,” Ruth said.

That was not what I needed. Her words were refreshing, not simply because she held what I needed, but because what I required signified I that my skills at crafting fiction have improved to a point where they are taking me into the unknown places within my psyche that hold aspects of me of which I have yet become familiar.

To complete this novel on which I have been working since 2001, I must become acquainted with the dark spaces, enter the murky rifts of consciousness and find those lost pieces of rot, reconnect or rather acknowledge those dimensions of self that I despise and that I now realize are treasures.

These jewels that I once perceived as dank, smelly snippets I’d rather ignore if not cut out of my life, are the spaces from which I write.

They are the rooms that hold my pain, that have over the decades guided me without condition, have not forgotten me, though I have done much to wipe memory of their presences from my brain and consciousness.

Detach from the outcome. Focus on putting one word after other on the page,” writes Martha Alderson (on her Twitter page) and then expounds on in her blog post, A Short Cut for Writers on a Spiritual Path.

To do that we must often recall, reclaim and embrace that from which we have detached and abandoned.

This Thursday morning I have my first session with Ruth. I am looking forward to it.

~ by Anjuelle Floyd on May 20, 2010.

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