Winter Wren’s Sisters of the Soul Journal


Sisters of the Soul Journal Round Robin
Pen & Ink and watercolor
(Click to see enlarged view in separate window)

I received Wren’s book last week and was inspired to work in it right away. Not only was the book a journal that appeared to be hand made by my very good friend, Kelly Kilmer, but Wren’s sub-theme was women writers and their worlds/words. How could I not be inspired?

Writing has been an important part of my life, too. I’ve been reading and writing for as long as I can remember. I chose to share and illustrate one of my favorite Margaret Atwood’s poems, Corpse Song, from her collection of poems entitled You Are Happy circa 1974. There are several more of my favorites among them. Margaret was a great influence on me stylistically, and remains one of my favorite writers.

Many years ago I read Nathalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones which had inspired me to use writing as a spiritual practice. Although I’ve since become rather sloppy in this practice, writing from the soul, whether in a journal or more publicly (like on my blog or incorporated into a piece intended for public consumption), has brought me closer to myself, and made me aware of my soul on a level I would not have otherwise achieved.

Another whose work I admire is Jim Morrison, whose better known by some as the lead singer of the Doors. His lyrics (and the poetry from which the lyrics are derived) are haunting and surreal, no doubt influenced by the hallucogenic drug, LSD, which he consumed copious amounts of for a time. Inspired by Timothy Leary and the Aldous Huxley book Through the Doors of Perception (from which the band found its name), Jim was attempting to use the drug as a mind expanding tool, much like the Mexican indians used peyote to travel to the underworld.

As writers, we all write down the bones… the stories of our lives and of those around us, disguised or shamelessly exposed, so that they are not forgotten… so that the people in them live on forever, and we achieve a sort of immortality long after our mortal bodies have turned to dust.

Corpse Song
by Margaret Atwood

I enter your night
like a darkened boat, a smuggler

These lanterns, my eyes
and heart are out

I bring you something
you do not want:

news of the country
I am trapped in,

news of your future:
soon you will have no voice

(I resent your skin, I resent
your lungs, your glib assumptions

Therefore sing now
while you have the choice

(My body turned against me
too soon, it was not a tragedy

(I did not become
a tree or a constellation

(I became a winter coat the children
thought they saw on the street corner

(I became this illusion,
this trick of ventriloquism

this blind noun, this bandage
crumpled at your dream’s edge

or you will drift as I do
from head to head

swollen with words you never said,
swollen with hoarded love.

I exist in two places,
here and where you are.

Pray for me
not as I am but as I am.

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