It would seem I still dream of you.

And wake, unsettled by this little unlocking. To find after-all that you are still there. Still here.

I wonder if I’m there in your nights too.

Every word I wrote (revisited)

“Writing — has self-respect in it. You’re working. You’re trying. You’re not lying down on the ground, having given up. And one thing I love about writing is that we can speak to the absent, the dead, the estranged and the longed-for — all the people we’re separated from. We can see them again, understand them more, even say goodbye …” – Sharon Olds

Every word I wrote. Every.Fucking.Word was for you. Trying to draw us out through a hundred memories, trying to tell you a little something about my life. And yeah, I still think about that song. Hey, I even drank from the fountain and you know something? It tasted like an anchor, all salt and metal and something heavy in my throat. Safety nearly sank us both in the end, how about that? I went to a temple (me, I know!) and that is what I heard. Something assured in the banging drums and incensed air, like a hand that settled on my lowered head. It told me that it was only safety that could hold me back, that it was security that would drown me. I knew this hand from its place at my back, the one I trusted a lifetime ago – and I cried another river right there. To think of just how close I came (to someone else’s idea of fine).

Every word I wrote. Every.Fucking.Word was for you.

Sunrise on Halong Bay

Eidyia’s Note: Truth is, I don’t even remember writing this. But it remains no less true for my forgetfulness. Sometimes your life becomes the story. Or the story becomes your life. Visiting that temple in Vietnam was a turning point for both …

Do the thing

Hey there readers!

This is my 150th post at body, remember. This little project that started with a tag line – all the things we remember to forget  – and a post about endings:

body, remember blog

My very first post at body, remember

… or earlier still, when I sat up in bed one morning struck by the idea for a novel where the lover dies on the first page. Or earlier than that morning even, when I fell into mad, true, ridiculous love for the first second time and the world turned into a mass of metaphor … and not a little pain. Or before that. Back when everything starts – as a kid, lost in my head, wondering about life and love, and quietly sure it was going to be something bigger for me.

Rock and Teish

My co-conspirator, Teisha

Why do we write? Why do you write? Anais Nin said it is to taste life twice. I think it is as much to taste something new, to explore the life not yet lived. Or perhaps just this life, differently. As a kid I rode horses, and I would spend hours wandering around the countryside and my head, creating a new character for my favourite TV show or picking up a story thread from whatever book I was reading at the time. Taking what I knew – and pushing it further. I never really did have an imagination. Just curiosity and a heightened empathy for the human experience. And always, always that desire for something more.

Why do we stop writing? That is as much the question. I have drawers full of notebooks, scribbled lines and crossed-out confessions, but for the longest time I could not get past these beginnings. I wanted everything I wrote to be perfect. And so I stopped writing anything at all. I wanted what I wrote to be beautiful and fully formed from the start, I wanted to write like Anais, or Alice Walker, or Jeanette Winterson, the women whose words could break me apart with their impact. And because I couldn’t approach their genius, I wrote nothing.

Until body, remember. Until the exercise of writing this blog. 150 posts in and everything is different now. Or back to what it was when I was a kid, riding my horse across that wild Antipodean land and turning everything into a story. I write every day. I write imperfectly. I write the occasional sentence or paragraph that I’m actually proud of. I write to tell you something. I write to tell myself more. I am inspired and frustrated and committed. I’m a writer. I am a writer!!

And that book idea that struck me in the chest all those years ago, well it is finally here. For all of my readers who have watched me make my way toward this, I wanted to share the first 15,000 words of body, remember with you here:

body, remember cover

Link to the first 8 chapters:

Aaaaaaahhh! I cried yesterday when I put it out there on Authonomy. Maggie Valentine and her story that started off as mine, but became that something (so much) more. The novel itself is nearly done, it now features three strong, passionate female characters (and one dead lover!), and as I edit the existing content I’ll put more of their stories online. I had to take a deep breath and do it. I was ready.

Which brings me to the point of this 150th post. Do the thing. That thing you have always wanted to do. That thing that has followed you. The ‘if-only’ thing. The ‘next year’ thing. That project, that dream, that desire. Do the thing!! Start. Start now in fact. Because to start is to change every thing. And you never know where that beginning can take you. The story really does expand. Once you’re in it. Once you are doing the thing.

Oh! And if you are going to fall in love – make damn sure it is a love worth writing about 😉

Thank you more than ever for coming along for the ride xxx

body, remember

What does the body remember of another?

What memory sits at the tip of the tongue, ready to burst? Does desire constantly swim in the veins, little pieces of longing that warm the blood and rise to the surface at the slightest provocation? Do they reconstruct and orient the desire toward that which we cannot forget? Is remembering merely the act of desire trying to make itself whole again?

I miss your body. I miss how I made it mine. I miss the caught breath and the shifting weight. I miss the switch that flicked, the way your hands would suddenly tighten and pin me down.

I miss the safety of this certain surrender, the risks we took. The weeks apart, how time would build a tension in the muscle, a coiling of need that unravelled so beautifully on those nights we came back.

Sometimes a fast and furious unwinding, the release like a firework that explodes in the dark. At other times a slow and tremulous untying of knots, working into the early hours and seeing the sun come up on each other’s skin.

I never lost the craving, even when we were in our wars, all those battles finely played to lose. The body has always been the ultimate traitor, don’t you think?

Jo Piechota image at body, remember

Image by Joanne Piechota

Eidyia’s note: Today I was curious to see just what I was writing this time last year – to see who I was, where I was at the change of seasons. It had been a tumultuous winter, no doubt. But I can see that I was finally beginning to explore memory and desire in the deeper sense – the universal sense. A year later, the work continues …