Writing Workshop: Listening to a Loved One

The assignment came via email: 

Please read and consider the following quote from Natalie Goldberg's excellent book, Writing Down the Bones.

"Writing is 90 percent listening. You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you....You don't only listen to the person speaking to you across the table, but simultaneously listen to  the air, the chair, and the door. And go beyond the door. Take in the sound of the season, the sound of the color coming in through the windows. Listen to the past, future, and present right where you are. Listen with your whole body..."

I'd like you to practice listening to someone you care about, someone you feel close to. Perhaps during a conversation with them sitting across the table from you. Practice listening the way Goldberg describes. What do you hear beyond their words? What else can you capture as they speak? Write about it. 

Wishing you all a week of listening with your whole body!

Late Night in Tzfat
We are spent, physically and emotionally, but we lay across from each other in the dark sharing thoughts, secrets, our hearts’ desires and pains as if we were teenagers again. I can’t see her, but I know the crinkle of her eyes as they smile, the furrow of her brow as she worries, the wonder in her face as we reminisce. 

“This reminds me of when we used to do this, what, 18 years ago?”  she says. 

I hear: 

Remember before we were sisters? Before legal-ties bound us, before our childrens’ blood bound us?  Even then, we were soul-sisters. 

I know you better than anyone on this earth. Better than anyone, now. I understand you. I know your fears, your pain, the place where it all begins, and I understand the true roots of it all. 

I was there, I watched it all.  I saw you fall for him and watched him love you. I know that it is because of me you were together. I know you are grateful for that. 

I hurt with you and for you.  I hurt for all that love you. Most of all, I hurt for me. Because I loved him too. Because I love you and love all who love you. Because I understand your emptiness. 

What more can I do for you? How can I help you through? I am doing everything I can think of, everything you ask, but I will do more. I need to do more, even though I am  beyond exhausted with my life, my challenges, I will shoulder your burdens. I will bear more. More than I can. 

She listens to my tears. 

I hear the darkness. I hear the peaceful night. I hear the whispering, mystical Tzfat wind. 

I hear that there will be light again, there is hope, and no matter what, I have love and am loved. 
The night sky, Safed, Israel

This travel blog photo's source is TravelPod page: Megila reading, Museums, Night Hike


rutimizrachi said...

This is so beautifully crafted, I cannot tell for sure if I am crying because of the art of it, or because you take me inside the pain.

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