[See below for events before or during sabbatical.]
SOME months ago, I knew I needed time off to write. In my early years, children and family, teaching, activism and holding community formed an essential unit and still I managed to write in the between times. My first published book, Skin: Shadows/Silence: A Love Letter in the Form of a Novel is composed of short entries that could be written between taking my sons to school and picking them up, or during naps, or their visits to friends. Many of my books were written that way. Several times I rented an office. Wherever we lived had enough physical space – a writer needs little – but rarely had enough mental or spiritual space. When my sons were teenagers, I rented a trailer in Valyermo, CA, a desert area two hours away from my home where I went, when I could, for weekends alone to write. When my children were grown, I could do healing work and teach and write at the same time. I was able to take time off, to go into silence. The books appeared. But over the last years, teaching, healing, community building, activism filled the spaces that should have been occupied by creative work, walking the land, speaking with the spirits, family and companionship. Pondering this, it would be easy to blame age, an inevitable slowing down, but I find myself working longer and harder with equal energy. I think the difficulty is with the times in which we live. A deadly combination of increasing administrative nonsense and extreme need caused by the global and national descent into violence, brutishness and environmental destruction demands our constant attention, willingness to bear witness and to grieve.
Yesterday an interviewer asked me how I had been affected by and what am I thinking since making the pilgrimage to the Death Camps in 1989, which I wrote about in The Other Hand, the novel that wrestled with the two koans of the 20th century – the Holocaust and the Atom Bomb. My answer surprised me.
I remembered how we wondered about the Germans who didn’t respond to the Concentration Camps. We wondered how they allowed the Holocaust – not directed only at Jews – to exist and continue. But now, we live with Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, rendition and waterboarding. We are involved with secret prisons, houses of torture and global scrutiny. We know and yet these unconscionable activities continue. Also DU, white phosphorous, Agent Orange, GMOs, Round Up, Fracking, Keystone Pipeline. Yes, we know …. and yet! The mind of WWII continues; it seems we have ingested it and become what we claimed to have gone to war to oppose.
The Holocaust itself has morphed into Ecocide. Genocide, still existant on the planet, has developed into the murder of the Earth and all Life. Attending such times with heart and compassion takes every moment of every day.
I started a novel three years ago. It has a certain necessity to it. I am determined to follow this new urgency. I am taking a sabbatical to write this and another book, and to be with Spirit in order to gain, if I can, some wisdom and perspective with which to meet these times.
My sabbatical begins July 1st. It will go at least until December 31st. A few events are still scheduled between now and then and I am listing them here. I may or may not post anything on this Blog. I make no other commitments except to Spirit and where I am called as I listen as deeply as I can. My hope is that you will accompany me with deep listening and prayer. Restoration, sanity and beauty depend on our doing the work and changing our lives. We have to do this together.
Writer’s Intensive May 24-30, 2014 Topanga CA
http://deenametzger.net/special-events-2/writers-intensive/rs’ Intensive –
Writing Workshop: Finding the Stories of Our Lives. June 6-8, 2014
Rowe Conference Center, Rowe MA More info: http://rowecenter.org/events.php?event=287
Healers’ Intensive – June 21-27, 2014 Topanga CA http://deenametzger.net/special-events-2/healers-intensive-vision-training-and-initiation/
Healing Stories – Sept. 5 – 7, 2014.
Sacred Wisdom Centre, Guelph, ON, Canada
Contact: Barbara Booth firstname.lastname@example.org
ReVisioning Medicine Council and Clinic, September !3-15 2014 , Minneapolis MN Contact Michele Rae <Michele@centerwithin.com>