Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Recovering the Storyteller

I am back from a long Labor Day weekend at my favorite geek convention, DragonCon in Atlanta, Georgia. We had a great time and this year my eating situation was the best ever! I attended a wonderful writing workshop presented by Michael Stackpole and Aaron Allston for most of the weekend. I feel like my creativity and passion has been reignited and I’m looking forward to writing fiction again for the first time in years.

As a writer and a storyteller, I often find it easier to express myself in these long, kind of weird analogies. And sometimes I run across creative tales, poems, or analogies that sink right into my heart; they stay with me and speak to me as I journey. I keep copies of them on my desktop so that I can get to them easily when I need them again.

One of them was the poem about a hole in the sidewalk, oddly enough entitled: “There’s a Hole in my Sidewalk” by Portia Nelson.

Chapter 1 
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2 
I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend that I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in this same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3 
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4 
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Chapter 5 
I walk down another street.

Another big favorite is The Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann, which I won’t repost entirely here because it is quite long. My favorite line of all is this:

Beyond a wholesome discipline, 
be gentle with yourself. 
You are a child of the universe 
no less than the trees and the stars; 
you have a right to be here.

And finally, a very nice analogy was blogged by the comedian Margaret Cho earlier this year. Here’s the part I loved the best, I loved it so much that I pasted it into a background and it pops up on my computer desktop from time to time as an image:

“I fly my flag of self-esteem for all those who have been told they were ugly and fat and hurt and shamed and violated and abused for the way they look and told time and time again that they were ‘different’ and therefore unlovable. Come to me and I will tell you and show you how beautiful and loved you are and you will see it and feel it and know it and then look in the mirror and truly believe it. If you are offended by my anger and my might at defending my borders and my people you do not deserve entry into my beloved and magnificent country.”

Here’s a link to an article about it on the magazine site, Jezebel, and to Margaret Cho's original blog, but be warned that the language is coarse and raw and honest. 

And as for me? Well, here’s a metaphor I came up with in July of last year, still pretty new to the recovery thing but facing the long coming year of caring for my dying father. It was tough, it set me back, but like so much of the ebb and flow of recovery, it taught me to take care of myself, to be stronger, and to hold on. Here’s what I wrote:

“I didn’t like who I had become, and I am in the process of pushing her out and emptying the house of all her shit. What’s left is an empty space for me to fix up, redecorate, and move into. But the cool thing is that I can put whatever I want back in here. I can keep the stuff that was good, get rid of anything I don’t need, and bring in new things if I want to. 
I get to start over.”


  1. I am moved to tears and beyond words.

    You have completely blown me away this morning.

    I am having such an intense start to the school year.....and all of this.....especially your words, are exactly what I somehow needed.

  2. You are stronger than you know, Cassie. Trust in yourself and you will come through. Love you!