“I write every day, but not always to share. When I am writing something that I want to share but the words stall, I remind myself what a privilege it is to voice my thoughts, to have access to language, put ideas to page, and to by and large feel safe doing so. Let’s be real—those of us in the world who have the time and space to do this, and who can do so without fear of persecution, without threat to safety are privileged—this not a given.
If that doesn’t do the trick, I go outside. I stretch. I breathe with more attention. I meditate with the dog. I comment on student work. I clean the house, scrub the tub. I remember that my hands are weathered and toughened by labor and age—but chosen labor, and thank god for each day of that age. I read. Dickinson for the cold no fire can warm. Castillo, Rankine, and Baldwin for the fire no cold can extinguish.
If still the words don’t oblige, I trust it. I don’t force them. There is too much else to do to ever think this is the only thing. Eventually, the words come again—sometimes it takes ten minutes, sometimes thirteen years, but they do return.”
—Felicia Luna Lemus, author of Particulate Matter (Akashic Books, 2020)