A SURVIVAL LIST FOR WHOM I’D LIKE TO WRITE

To:

There is a notion in my mind, an inkling within a space, an inclination of inexplicable intuition I may classify under or as “Sorts,”

for which I feel a necessity to seek out answers.

I remember reading The Artist’s way by Julia Cameron as a girl. I was in those pre to early teen years. The 90s, pre-Nirvana.

A Way to Relate to The World

Reading provided a response to my most inner thoughts. Thoughts I had no words or names for. Thoughts I found myself afraid to speak even if I did know what the words or names were for— mixed within a bevy cocktail of unfathomable offerings — I so desperately craved to convey.

Writing one could say, was my first act of honest speech. Before I knew the name of a word, I may have learned a sound. Before I could have scribbled a name, I may have drawn a mark. Before there were computers for writing, there was paper and utensil. This, perhaps, is what we may call The Artist’s Way: A way to get around the thing one cannot do. A space for innovation and invention. A space for translation. A space for language to be born.

Julia Cameron said Writing by Hand was Writing by heART

Because the veins from the very tips of your finger ran straight back to your heart. Or the other way around. Either way, it was an untethered link — heart to word, word to heart. Direct contact. And once it flushed through your veins, spilled out your fingertips onto that ever-so-patient free-of-stealth-mongering judgment — that deep wide open catch-you-as-you-are paper mitt — it was for all intents and purposes, audible. To an extent.

What one writes. What one says. What one chooses names for, must be honest. To be heard.

Names Must Always be Honest

If a word has not stained itself pure, it should be said it is still en route to finding its way. And for those words yet lacking names, still finding their ways, it takes a learned listener.

Only a seasoned picker may pick the right grapes.

Ripe.

Not over or under.

But perfectly.

Perfect doesn’t have to look perfect. It just is. Attainable. Perfect. Because of ripeness. Like a knowing. Like being four feet tall. You just are.

And then you can ride roller coasters.

I Always Thought I would Maintain My Clarity as I Age

I believe that my melancholic temperament as a child led me to believe I understood hardships. What I have learned with age is that we cannot account for what hardships we might face. Those encounters have proved me thick within a forest searching for daybreak, not always recognizing my search had inadvertently been put on hold for a lesson in survival.

One cannot search if one is surviving.

That’s why there are search parties:

To find those who

are

out there

surviving.

There Are Perhaps Negative Connotations to Our Naming of ‘Surviving’

Although, one may also look to its naming as an experience of delight. “I’m surviving!” one might claim bearing an unnatural display of glee, with or without sarcasm. And if one does choose to say so with sarcasm, it could be said the evidence of trifling toward humor inspires a degree of integrity in its delight.

On the other hand, there was in fairly recent times what they call a “real life princess,” who made the acknowledgment that it is not enough to survive — that one must thrive. In such a context it appears that one must be equipped with more than the minimum for one’s quality of life to be worthwhile. Or life is branded as pained. The suggestion it would seem, is that if you are not thriving, you are merely getting by. Surviving.

It Would be Nice to Thrive

Just like it would probably be nice to vacation on a yacht in St. Tropez. I could also in this instance be severely miscalculating what “nice” is and in actuality yachting in St. Tropez may be closer to what someone who suffers from Aquaphobia might deem as their own personal type of hell.

I suppose a more astute way of making something more accessible in its niceness might be to say “nice” looks more like being one of the first five or so people in line at the DMV. That would be nice. That would be for many people, thriving.

To thrive is to flourish. To survive is to continue to live or exist despite hardship. But is it realistic or possible to thrive unscathed? And if not, is there shame in getting by? Should we feel like we failed or have been failed if we are surviving and not thriving? What if I get to the DMV late? I can’t very well change the circumstances at that point. I’m at the end of the line and Katie up there in the third spot is apparently winning life and thriving. Must our hardship be devalued by negating the name of surviving with associated pain? Is anything wrong with my spot at the DMV other than its devoid position of a “thriving” spot?

Surviving is Continuing to Live or Exist Despite Hardships

That sounds like hard work.

It sounds as if

one was quite certainly making a go at it and

making every attempt at wholeheartedly surviving in spite of hardship

while hammering out the DMV line 

that one should in turn and deservedly so —

receive a Girl Scout badge. Or at least a box of cookies.

If Surviving is Not Enough, What do We Need More of?

And do we truly need more of it? Do we need food? Do we need Joy? What do we need? Water? Air? Sunlight? Eyelash extensions? If we are indeed surviving, are we not actively striving to give and meet ourselves with what we most definitely need despite hardships? Is that not enough? Or must I do so donning tassels and glitter? Does the homeless person, the maimed, the mentally ill, the person who is so busy surviving they put off their searching — does that person have the emotional or cognitive wherewithal to establish what a sense of thriving might entail for them?

I wonder.

If We Didn’t Have “Real Life Princesses,” Would it be Enough to Survive?

Could the process of survival be a genuine delight? To explore our “Sorts?” To find a manner in which we are able to name our honesty? Could surviving in theory, be an act of thriving? Is not having duly survived an upheaval of weighted proportions worth double the pay of ease? To have earned your place and made your name?

I do not think this real life princess was intentionally or unintentionally playing out the trope of named privilege. I believe when others share their stories, they do so to be heard. I do not doubt her pain or that she wanted out. I believe we all want out. But what if we switched the narrative of experiencing pain? Might our tolerance be altered as a result? Our comfort ever so slightly appeased?

An alternative reading might concur that the real life princess, in her seeking for answers, was searching for a survivor, someone for whom she could see the valor of surviving. A way to discover how we may rename our words. Alter the forecast of stigma. Allow nature to unfold as intended: magnificently and undeterred in its knowing.

Refingrere, Refraindre, Refrain

Only a seasoned picker may pick the right grapes.

I’m not sure I’m a seasoned picker. What I’m hoping to name is the nature in which we name things. Because I think people are paying attention. I think people take our names to heart.

Because the veins from the very tips of your finger [run] straight back to your heart. Or the other way around. Either way, it [is] an untethered link — heart to word, word to heart. Direct contact. And once it flushe[s] through your veins, spill[s] out your fingertips — onto that deep wide open catch-you-as-you-are paper mitt, it [is] for all intents and purposes, audible.

I Have the Desire to Write Letters to Some People Who Come to Mind As an Act of Survival

Because I see them surviving. Through the life they are continuously living. Despite hardships. Everywhere.

I want to reach out

and know

for myself.

What it feels like.

In Lumine Tuo Videbimus Lumen

When I am thick in my forest and looking for names, I vow to survive. Shooting words through my veins until they flush and spill,

Audibly.

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Heather Shorey

Heather Shorey

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Working the Craft. Experimenting Work(s) in Progress. Interested in Feedback for Further Development.