by Carrie Conner
Call it instinct. Call it gut reaction. We’ve all had that feeling when our bodies are trying to tell us something.
Eastern traditions teach that our bodies are talking to us all the time, storing up memories, thoughts and experiences. In Western culture our philosophies lean more toward “Just Do It,” “No pain, no gain” and even “There’s no crying in baseball” – all effectively shutting down any connection to our body.
Maybe that’s why writers create their most intimate work while exploring the human form. From Alan Ginsberg’s “Footnote to Howl,” Walt Whitman’s “I Sing the Body Electric,” to Margaret Atwood’s “You Begin,” writers revel in the celebration of the body.
When Eve Ensler premiered her little off-Broadway play in 1996, she unwittingly gave voice to a body part “down there” shunned in virtually every corner of the world. The Vagina Monologues sparked a conversation that became the rally cry against violence and oppression toward women.
Similarly, Lucille Clifton’s poem, “homage to my hips,” speaks to freedom and independence:
they don’t fit into little
pretty places. these hips
are free hips.
Read Clifton’s entire poem here.
What does your body have to say? Close your eyes and see if a body part draws your attention. If not, just pick one. Now give that body part a microphone. What does it want to say? And to whom? Use the conversation in a work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
A friend once asked Carrie Conner why she writes. “Because I have to,” she said. “You mean like publish or perish?” he asked. “No,” she said, “It’s more like … breathing.” Carrie has spent 20 years as a staff and features journalist and freelance copywriter for a variety of publications and companies. One day, while interviewing an emerging novelist about her new book release, she realized she was done writing about other people’s accomplishments. She’s currently putting together a yet-untitled collection of short stories and a screenplay.