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Writing and the Body in Motion
Excerpted from Writing and the Body in Motion: Awakening Voice through Somatic Practice
by Cheryl Pallant | November 3, 2018
Resonant somatic writing arises from a coherence of mind with flesh, thought with motion, being with becoming, a complexity welcoming feeds from a multiplicity of sources. Awareness is situated in the present moment as it unfolds.
The expressiveness of our flesh is not easily reducible to a singular statement or movement, but responsive and reflective of a rich tapestry. Even a simple statement like "I am" can warrant a tome of explication.
The sum achieved through somatic writing is not equal to its parts but greater, creating an integrated and synergetic whole. The coherent awareness, or synergy, is akin to hitting a target while simultaneously taking into account the larger picture. Synergy recognizes how borders spill into and enhance each other.
Creativity, knowing, inspiration, and embodiment enhance and expand. Here's where ideas feel paradoxical and challenge balance, like trying to hold water in our hands while walking without losing a drop. Both central and peripheral, we focus on placing words on the line, aligning with a point of view, our narrative, while also accessing currents of inspiration and creativity and allowing their surge.
This is writing from the body, with the body, of the body. Writing is framed as movement, awareness, and expression of our personal existence. We write to be. We write to form being. We write as being. Writing taps into our individual vitality. Our presence is a dance of words. Our being comes across in words as a fragment, an extended passage, a question, exclamation, phrase, comma, and dash. We transcribe ourselves and splash our essence into verbal form. Wave after flesh-born wave crashes upon the shore of the page.
Your body. Your body in motion. Your body stilling itself. Your body in process of articulating itself, reforming and redefining. Your body expressing its aliveness.
Words crossing the page stir the blood, heart, and hormones. Ears vibrate with sound and meaning. Images reflect upon the mind and cells. Rhythm influences phrasing while phrases influence our body, a continuous loop. When we allow the process. When we apply somatic awareness to inform expression, when we embrace momentum and allow our expression to manifest. The approach reveals the relationship between word and body, the word made flesh and the flesh made words.
We recall ourselves. We write impressions. The impressions form and inform us. We move with all of them. The writing opens us to ourselves. The opening furthers who we are. Writing and then movement or movement and then writing deepens expression, a powerful practice of embodiment. Words happen. Movement happens. Expression happens. Emotion happens. Attention happens. We connect to sensation and to words in the body and on the page. The life pulse, always present, asserts itself with biological delight. Our depths rise up.
Somatic writing is a process of witnessing and expressing the coalescence of the inner and outer worlds and articulating them as an embodied, vitalized, and sustainable verbal knowing. This creative expression enlivens how we dwell in our body, how we show up, feel presence and present ourselves on the line. The words carry weight, energy, and awareness rooted in the listening, moving body. The words carry our knowing and unknowing, furthering understanding, our being in the process of becoming.
The resistance of pen or pencil against paper leaving a trail of ink or lead across the page is a sensual experience, the tapping at the computer more mechanical and repetitive. In writing by hand, the sensory motor skills required to form letters lubricates the writing muscle. We are forced to go slowly, our fingers wrapping around the instrument of expression making micro-movements while ideas link to words. Like a painter brushing colors on a canvas, there's an intimate and artful connection to each letter and word forming.
Researchers suggest that writing longhand enhances memory, creativity, and overall learning. They fear losses in brain development among young students whose teachers promote computer use over paper notebooks and pen. Writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Susan Sontag begin writing by hand and switch to typing once a writing momentum is established.
The best method, however, is the one that encourages a writing flow. The best method is what works best for us. Experimenting with writing by hand and typing will determine the difference for ourselves.
©2018 Cheryl Pallant. All rights reserved.
Cheryl Pallant is the author of Writing and the Body in Motion: Awakening Voice through Somatic Practice and several other books in nonfiction, memoir, and poetry. ...
Q&A with Author Cheryl Pallant
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Moving Into Writing and Sensate Awareness
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Resonant Writing as Somatic Path
We initiate an experience with the body and words with integrity, deep listening, and openness.
Synergetic Awareness in Somatic Writing
We write to be. We write to form being. We write as being.