Friday Dispatch: The Heartbeat That Holds Us
Why writing 11 things always brings me home
It’s almost 1:00pm already and I’ve been sitting here on the floor of my son’s room for the past hour or so trying to start this week’s Dispatch. As I texted my daughter earlier, I have one more day in Covid jail, ahem, I mean, my healing sanctuary :) I tested negative this morning (YAY) and will wait another 24 hours to test again before venturing out.
When I don’t know how or when to start writing, I often turn to writing “11s.” For those of you who don’t know, I created this practice out of my affinity for the number 11; my birth time is 11:11am and that has always felt special to me. Once, in a land about three hours away, about a quarter-century ago, I was wandering around a new-age bookstore when I found a book about 11:11. That’s when I learned that there is a LOT out there about this number (Google “11:11 cosmology” and you get more than 14 million results).
In any case, I’m also a Capricorn sun and a pretty big fan of real life. I trust my intuition and talk to spirit guides and angels and believe in all kinds of mystery, and I’m also at my best when I ground myself in what’s tangible – what I can see, smell, taste, feel, and touch lest I get lost in my mind, as the lyrics go. As someone who can get pretty heady, dropping into the senses is a way of connecting to what’s here and now, and when I’m anchored in the here and now, I feel freer to wander into less concretized, more imaginative territory. It’s all in the balance. (Is that because my moon is in Libra?!)
James Kerti, who has been in my year-long 11s groups for the past two years recently asked me where I first heard about writing 11s. I made it up, I told him! It struck me as so wonderful and funny that he thought I had learned about it somewhere. Here are his most recent 11s.
Isn’t it cool that we can just make shit up?
Also, here’s a writing prompt for you: “You can’t make this shit up.” Set a timer for 10 minutes and go.
My ass started hurting so I’ve relocated to the bed. Other than a couple of expeditions to the mailbox, I have hardly left the house for two weeks. The tree in the front yard, visible from the windows of this bedroom, is teeming with bird activity. Leaves have turned solidly red since my first positive test, which seems like eons ago. My congestion has finally cleared up almost completely, and tasting my coffee this morning was a gift.
A fellow poet shared “The Future Loves You Already” on Facebook today. That project was such a high point for me from the past few years, and I’ll always be grateful for the collaborations that unfolded with such grace and power, ease and amazingness. I’m sharing the video below just for fun.
Something Kerra Bolton wrote this week has stayed with me: “I don’t do boxes. My life and career are more like squiggly lines.” I read her words nodding in recognition, and wondered what shape(s) I would assign my pathways through life thus far. Words this evokes: Multitudes and throughlines. Contradictions and continuities. Maybe I’ll take out my sketchbook after this to see what comes.
And something Skylar Liberty Rose wrote this week stayed with me, too. “But aren’t we all tired of trying harder?” OMG AMEN. Yes. So tired. Too much trying. Not enough being, landing, trusting. Skylar’s piece (“Things I’m Not Afraid to Tell You”) made me want to write my own list of such things. Even more than that, it invoked curiosity in me about what things I would be afraid to tell you. Hmmmm. Those would both lend themselves really well to their own 11s.
And here we are, at #11. There is so much more I could write, which helps me realize something obvious: the need to write! Without regular practice, the words and experiences and thoughts and musings get all jammed up. Writing 11 things is a way of unjamming them, a way of lengthening out, moving the stuck parts, and jostling the internal places where everything has congealed. It’s a way of listening to oneself and also the world – the birds outside, the sound of the heater, and how it makes me think of the cost of oil and winter coming, my spouse on the phone with one of their daughters in the next room. Real life happening, not yesterday or next week but right now. Right now. Right now. The heartbeat that holds us all.
Shabbat Shalom and love,
Let’s Write 11s Together
On 11/11, I’ll be getting together in a private Facebook group with some fellow travelers (you?!) to write 11 things a day for 11 days. Together, we will listen, write, and witness each other. If you are an 11s fan, or this is all new to you and you’re intrigued, hop over to my website to sign up today:
This group costs $111 – the same price it’s been for five years now.
If your writing practice could use a jumpstart and you miss being in community with other writers, this is a perfect fit for you!