October 10, 2010

Weekend with friends, coffee, pie and different kinds of writing for life


On Saturday, I had coffee with a friend who is going through a drug rehabilitation program in San Francisco. We used to lie on my bed, listen to Scissor Sisters and make collages together. He would cut out lines of text from magazines and weave them into his collages. I have not seen him in almost three years and until he contacted me a few weeks ago and set up our coffee date, I thought it was very possible that he was no longer alive.

Part of his rehab process involves making lists—a practice of writing that moves him to new and internal places, away from drug use and toward better strategies for his mental health. He explained to me that I was on his list of resentments, and from his anger and hurt, he mined another list of people he wanted to make amends with. So, there we were on Saturday afternoon. He told me that he is now working on writing a milestone speech, after six months of being sober, to give to the 80 residents who live in at his treatment program. He is working on ways to express his respect for the people around him and he wants to try to convince residents who are new to the program to stay with it. I just sat quietly and tried to listen, grateful that he is here in this world and grateful to his healing writing.

Later that same day, I met one of my very best friends for banana pie in the Mission. Every year, she visits from Hawaii to engage in special yoga retreats/trainings. She is a few months pregnant with her second child and this time, her yoga sessions were all about gestational yoga and teaching yoga to pregnant women. She told me about her concerns over labor and delivery, her fears around the medicalization of such a natural phenomenon as birth, her interest in midwifery (like having a patients rights advocate for birthing!) and all about her fascination with the processes her body is going through. She saw a flyer in the yoga studio for a writing class on “mama memoirs” and it made her think of my Write To Connect project, about the endeavor of writing the body through transition.

I smiled as we ate and chatted, thinking about a gorgeous poem this friend wrote years ago, when we were college roommates. One line went “Story me the ones you love”. And I thought about how she had “Verde, que te quiero verde!” scribbled on a piece of notebook paper and taped to her wall while she was writing her thesis. Now, her two year old daughter has huge green eyes. I made a mental note to email her after she got back to Hawaii and encourage her to write some mama stories.