Writing Close To The Bone – Part Two

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I am sitting in a cozy chair in the living room while I begin writing close to the bone. I can hear the tic…tic of the clock on the wall. The sound of the fridge humming in the background is almost soothing. Too much silence can be loud. The cat is purring on the couch across from me. In a few moments, she’ll come over and lick my toes as I rest my feet near her. This is her nightly ritual and my nightly foot bath. An incense is burning in my potted Norfolk Pine and the smell is intoxicating. All I need now is for my heart to speak to me in a language I’ll understand. Maybe some music will help. The kind that melts the body and makes the soul cry.

writing close to the bone part two

Photo credit: Yigal Ozeri: Untitled (Priscilla in Ecstasy), 2007, oil on paper; 60,69 x 91,44 cm, Courtesy of Mike Weiss Gallery, New York; and Charim Gallery, Vienna

The Best Way To Begin

In last week’s post, I offered some examples of writing close to the bone and the opening paragraph above is another one. As you can see, I am just noting the facts of what some of my senses are experiencing in the moment. This has always, always, been my most favorite way to begin writing. Before I was taught this exercise, I would spend literally hours agonizing over the blank screen or page in front of me. I’ve hardly ever used another way to begin writing because this one has been so effective.

New Pathways Reveal Themselves

Usually at this point, the opening is beginning to reveal a new pathway to follow. It can be a flash of insight, a picture in my head, or an entire download of spiritual prose.

What I have learned through years of writing in this way is that I will never know ahead of time what I will be writing about.  I always think I know, and even have an agenda at times, but time and again I have been shown that I am not in charge of the creative process.

You Can’t Control The Creative Process

The creative process is infinite and expansive. We must never think we have control over it or try to impose our will upon it. One of my favorite quotes about this is, “You cannot control the process, but you must master the craft.” -Vinita Hampton Wright

writing close to the bone part two

So much of the very rawness of our everyday life can weave its way into our creativity if we are open and flexible enough to allow this to happen,  For example, just the other day I was involved in an incident at a well that I go to once a week to get water from a natural spring.

Usually, this is a moment of real peace and beauty because the well is located in the woods next to a gurgling creek. The sun is often filtering in through the trees and I love to just silently stand there and listen to the birds.

Writing Close To The Bone – Using Our Emotions 

On this particular day, however, there was an enraged father there humiliating his sweet 19 or 20-year-old son because he wasn’t filling up their containers properly. It was a toxic and vile energy to witness especially in contrast to the peaceful setting. The following is snippet of what I wrote about it. You can read the full article here.

“I assumed the other man was his father, and for just one split second I hesitated about getting out of the car, and then the warrior woman in me took over. As I reached for the door handle, my daughter reached over to stop me. I calmly told her that I was going to step between the two of them and try and stop this deep and now public shaming from continuing. When I got out of the car and walked over, I literally stepped between the two of them as naturally as I could to wait my turn to fill up my container. They had many jugs to fill but I stood there silently and made immediate eye contact with the kid. When I looked over at the father he smiled at me and nodded. I politely nodded back but inside I wanted to rip his eyeballs out.”

The Creative Process Helps Us Make Sense of Life

Sometimes when tough things happen in our lives it can feel like a deep disruption in our creative process. We may feel knocked off balance and feel the need to stop everything just to find our center again. While this may certainly be true in some extreme situations, I personally have discovered that using the creative process is a masterful way of making sense of something difficult.

I have come to believe that our creative inner genius is also our healer. It is the voice of an inner wisdom that we could not possibly fathom we have access to until we actually get down to the business of writing close to the bone.

In other words, we must just begin and trust in the process.

Spend Regular Time Being Filled With Wonder

Finally, as spiritual writers, we must make time in our lives to be continually filled with wonder. After all, it is our connection to Spirit that flows its grace and wisdom through us if we remember to do that which keeps the channels open.

I do this daily by either taking a walk in nature, listening to some beautiful music, walking the aisles of a farmer’s market, reading passages of spiritual text, endless gazing at the sky; listen to the sound of your own heart beating. Feed the art inside of you. Nourish your soul. There’s an endless well of beauty and wisdom living within.

Reach Out And Connect

I truly love hearing from you so should you have any questions, or you simply want to say hello, please feel free to leave a comment below or connect with me through my Contact page.

Warmly, Heather

11 Responses

  1. I love reading your article, it is very engaging and in my case I could feel even what you must have felt during the “public shaming” incidence.

    The way you wrote about it was very warm and soothing, at least that’s what I was feeling. I also love the way you talk about creativity and how it may come to us, or not.

    I too have my favorite steps to get things going. Before I start sitting down to write, I meditate first. Right now I am listening to Mother Nature’s songs. 🙂

    I also call on the Angels as well to support me in my personal endeavor to create something new.

    Something which will hopefully awaken others with what I have to say and to share.

    Will watch out for what you have to share next time.

    Sylvia

    • Hi Sylvia,

      You have some great ways to begin your writing!

      Meditation, sounds of nature, and communicating with the angels are incredible ways to begin anything.

      Truly appreciate you stopping by.

      Warmly,
      Heather 🙂

  2. Thanks for this advice, Heather! Is writing close to the bone something that you recommend for all kinds of writing? Or is it more appropriate and helpful for blogging as opposed to other kinds of writing?

    Relatedly, is it helpful when writing about religion? I ask these questions because I myself write about religion quite often, and often in a way that is investigative and academic.

    Thanks again!

    • Great questions, Keifer!

      Writing close to the bone can be used in any form of writing, and yes, even writing about religion.

      Perhaps you’d be able to ‘marry’ your investigative and academic writing with this to give your readers a look into why you personally write about religion. Readers love to ‘feel’ who the writer is.

      All that truly counts here is that your authentic, deeply passionate voice be heard and felt by the reader regarding your subject matter.

      That voice is the voice of your Soul or Spirit (call it what you like) and when we can write from that place freely and without inhibition then we are writing close to the bone.

      Hope that answers your questions.

      Warmly, Heather 🙂

  3. Hi, Heather. I’ve not heard of writing close to the bone before. What does it mean? Is this more of a spiritual conditioning of the mind? A communication between the mind body and soul?

    I admire your courage stepping in between an irate father and his son. I have had to do that once myself, and it was a very stressful experience.

    Barry

    • Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your great questions and interest in this topic.

      I think the best thing would be to direct you to Part One of this post which I wrote last week.

      https://sacredscribe.com/writing-close-to-the-bone-the-art-practice-of-coming-undone

      It goes into more detail explaining what writing close to the bone is.

      Here’s a little snippet of the definition from that post.

      “Writing close to the bone means to get to the truth of a matter. It should come out raw, real, and honest, and should have the power to move the heart of your readers. It’s most often those words we feel but are afraid to say and yet we don’t want to offer up our ‘vomiting onto the page’ to the public. With some editing, we can turn that brutal rawness into grace, eloquence, and something that has the capacity to touch and transform others.”

      If you have any more questions after reading Part One, I’d be more than happy to help you out!

      Warmly, Heather 🙂

  4. Hi there. Interesting article

    I have been struggling with writing. I want to be creative but most of the times it doesn’t come naturally, and I feel frustrated because of that. Feeling that I wasted so much time for nothing is what really bothers me. I don’t know, but it seems like something really difficult to a achieve.

    I am going to apply all you have said and treat the writing process not so seriously.

    Do you have any other recommendations? Thank you so much

    • Hi Stefan,

      Love your honesty about your writing process.

      I think what happens to a lot of people when they start writing is that all the ‘perfection’ demons swoop down and begin relentlessly screaming in their ears. I also think this is natural for new writers.

      The writing process can really only flow and feel good when, like you say, we don’t take it so seriously, and rather, approach it as simply having a meaningful and warm conversation with a trusted friend. Your readers want to feel like you are right there with them, talking to them over a coffee, sharing your knowledge and insights with them in a non-pushy, non-preachy way.

      Hope this helps you out a bit. Give it a try!

      Warmly,

      Heather 🙂

  5. Hi, Heather.

    Your article “Writing Close To The Bone” as I read its tone took me back to my childhood days in many ways.

    I love nature when it is undisturbed, especially very early in the mornings or very late at night, when everything seems to be still. At night, as you mentioned, I would sit alone in my living room and listen to the ticking of the clock that was not audible during the day. And, yes, the humming of the appliances: it seems as if everything has a meaning or some message in the stillness of that moment, whether night or day.

    I do not know your spiritual background, but I am a Christian. I mention this only to point out that it is in the stillness of of these moments, that I can truly say that my connection with the Lord is at its best. Away from the chaos: the busy traffic, the phone ringing, the children screaming, television, etc…. And I do believe that this is why so many people have a get-away spot or time just to be with oneself.

    I am not a writer, but I do write only if I have to. Thanks for sharing, and nice to meet you, Heather. Continue to stir up the gift that is in you.

    Have a blessed day.

    • Hi Ann-Marie,

      It was such a pleasure to read your comment and the beautiful way you expressed how my article made you feel.

      Are you sure you are not a writer? 🙂

      My spiritual background is one of deep respect for all religions while not being affiliated with any in particular.

      What you call your connection to the Lord, I would call my connection to the Absolute, and I’d venture to guess that they both meet in the same divine place.

      Like you say, it is in these still, quiet moments that one can truly ‘feel’ that connection…the love.

      So happy you stopped by, Ann-Marie.

      Blessings, Heather

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