I leave Saturday morning for Squaw, the writer camp/intensive program I got into this year. As my friend Honduro says with despair, "I'm too excited about it." We're nervous about loving Squaw too much. Why does the excitement feel explosive and doom-like? Like I'm preparing to die from happiness there. Honduro says he looks forward to having conversations with the aspen trees along the Truckee River. I said, Ooo oo, I'll work on my hawk call and hope to get answers back from them. We happily surrender to our inner nature-word geek and we feel unashamed about it, though Husband looks at me with side glances as the time nears and says, "ookkaayy" a lot. My geekdome is busting at the seams. It's ok. Because during this week, diving deep to string words together well will be unobstructed. I'll get to freefall into understanding them. I will be un-obstacled by work, by any regular demands. I won't even be blocked by the self consciousness of my charged sense of observation, a trait I usually try not to put on display. And I won't be hindered by the self-consciousness of obsessively wanting to assemble words until they click together perfectly. It's safe for everything to be a wonder there.
I'm bringing Loops too, to commute to workshop in the morning, in the summer-mountain air, and for overwhelming rides around Lake Tahoe where the sheen of lake water will blind me. Wait until you see pictures of this place. I'm also going to meet one of my favorite writers, Dorothy Allison, who has been on staff at Squaw a few years now. She's going to sign my crinkled copy of Two Or Three Things I Know for Sure, and I'm going to be awkward, bursting with nothing to say. And I'm going to ask Rebel Girl if I can stow away in a back cabin room for the rest of the summer, well beyond the seven days of the intensive. Just until I can sort out my feelings and compose myself. My stomach hurts from loving too much what's about to happen, even when I told myself I wasn't going to let anything lilt too high or dip too low. But really, I just want to release it and let me feel it and pay the consequences later. Go ahead. I'm down for the ride.
I thought of something recently, about the corralling of feelings and why it's destructive. This has nothing to do with writing, but it has all to do with real emotion, and writing falls in that category for me. I was remembering how people used to tell Mama not to baby me when I was little. She would've coddled me to death, and I would have gladly let her, but the advice from everyone else deterred her. She'd spoil me, she was told. Don't baby her, they said. I didn't see her that often and I didn't know why she wouldn't just let me sleep with her or at least fall asleep with her, until my stepgrandfather would tell her to put me to bed to keep me from being spoiled, which is really exactly what I needed. Man, I ached for it. And Mama, who was not strong, didn't let me in her bed, she pulled the reins on how much she wanted to love me, but she did baby me as much as she could get away with. Then she died when I was still young. So really, what was the point of rationing the love? The absence of it hurt more after. And I kind of feel that way about anything where real emotion and love is felt. Like, why be scared to love Squaw or anything or anybody too much. Love the fuck out of it for god's sake. Love it now.
Come on. I'm ready for the ride.
14 hours ago