BodySoul Writing

Posted on 11 July 2005

It’s been a long hard week and thank goodness my beautiful daughter recorded our group feast or you might think I’d disappeared.

I’m still absorbing this BodySoul writing week so it’s difficult to give an overview.

On Friday night we gathered at the “Light” house for our final feast prepared and served by Gill. We began on the terrace that leans over the Esplanade – a stretch of grass, sand path, and trees that runs along one length of the village with a view over the valley, so soft and senuous that it always reminds me of a woman’s body – talked, nibbed tiny saucisses, brochetta, and deviled eggs, and sipped some delicious wine – white or rose or red. We are a quieter, more serious group this year but the six of us with Marlene and Ursula and Gill too, though she was not a part of the workshop time, have grown close, are comfortable, easy with one other. How could it be otherwise when one writes one’s thoughts and reads them aloud. I don’t think anyone apologized for the quality of her writing but some (myself included) had to swallow hard to read where her thoughts had roamed to. One memory from my childhood appeared that I have never told anyone, was particularly difficult to tell but I did. I did.

After the appetizers, Gill called us to a table, set once again with our sunflower gold tablecloth, and served a tomato and mozzarella salad and fresh bread. She told us she was going to give us one dish, one flavour, at a time, French-style, so we could savour each one. Next we feasted on a ratatouille made with the help of Susan in her kitchen. My mouth, throat, thought themselves in heaven. (Writing this I am reminded of Susan’s words from many years ago: “The two best things in life are food and sex and people don’t talk about or enjoy them enough.”) Then a chicken smeared with pesto and feta, the juices soaked up with more bread. Gill then cleared the table and set a caramel mousse cake, topped with tiny berries and miniscule pears – a masterpiece from a French bakery – at one end and cut portions onto plates, added French ice-cream, and each one of us let the riches melt into our mouths. Oh la la. And those, who desired a savoury, finished with cheeses and more bread. Need I mention the wine that accompanied each course?

The meal was followed by poetry – each person read or recited – and music and dancing on the table. This night everyone had her turn to everything from “Dance me to end of Love” to “I’m a Red-neck Woman” (when two especially sassy wenches climbed up and strutted their stuff (not me.)

Saturday morning we had our finale session. How did I feel? Sad. Happy. Grateful. Another ending and I realized that I’d come a little closer to understanding myself… This individuation process, a la Carl Jung and Marion Woodman, is too slow for me at times. I want all now, get impatient, don’t want to deal with the fear, sometimes feel ridiculous, but I know, especially when I look at Marlene and Ursula, that this is the direction I want to take. A line from Mary Oliver comes to mind, that goes something to the effect that when I die, I don’t want simply to have visited this world.

I want to say that this intensive was unlike any other that I have participated in, that I spent too many sleepless nights, and explain, but I cannot. What happens inside an intensive is confidential… Marlene and Ursula were more than wonderful in their teaching and listening, and more than generous with their time. Me too. As onsite administrator, I did everything I possibly could, to make sure every woman felt at home in my tiny, lovely village.

I must end here and try to be more religious about writing this journal, in the few weeks that follow before I return home.


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