"The Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca once explained that all true art must be produced out of the "energetic instinct" that Spaniards refer to as the duende,
"the mystery, the roots that probe through the mire that we all know of and do not understand." In his essay on the duende, Lorca paints in a number of ways the necessity of the artist's intimacy with the Shadow Self, the "black sounds" that our words carry when, as writers, we have touched our own darkness and reemerged vulnerably awake, humbled, and even more alive.
We must fully reclaim the breath, because without it the body withers and so does our writing. The message written by the tight chest, the stilted body, carries no duende, no darkness, no belly stretched wide by the breath. Such writing is a mere whistle. It rises up like a ghost, substanceless, with a mask for a face, and we do not believe it.
What must we do to reclaim the body, the breath? We must address the fear that paralyzes us, the darknesses we have held back like stifled coughs and whispers. We must open ourselves, allowing the wind to enter and change us."
Writing from the Body, John Lee
WRITING PROMPT: Imagine a blazing bonfire. Breathe in that fire. Hear the crackling in your chest as you inhale the wildly leaping flames. Watch the fire grow within you. Each time you breath in, the fire rises higher. When you breathe out, the fire dies down. Now breathe the fire up to its greatest height. Feel its largess, its heat and its power. Now breathe out long, and let the fire go out along with the breath. Watch the fire dwindle to a few red coals. Keep breathing quietly in and out. See that only ashes are left. Coming back to where you are, taking a deep breath in, and a deep breath out. Rest a few moments, then begin breath-writing: With each breath in, gather your strength, and as you breathe out, place your pen to the paper and write whatever comes from the pen. Do not think that you are writing. Let the pen, the hand, and the arm write. Above all, let the breath write. When you need to breathe in, stop writing. As you exhale, let the writing begin again. Write as long as you need to. When the page is filled, read with respect what your body and your breath have written. Writing from the Body, John Lee