ABOUT AN AMBER HEART
I have something in common with trees. With each passing year, my life bears a ring of experiences — a layer of actions and emotions not necessarily visible from the outside. To see this map of my evolution requires an inward view.
Nearly 25 years ago, I received an exercise that was originally meant to remove writer's block. Writing only one page a day, using my opposite hand, I was to pull a title out of the air — and begin. Once a page was completed, I wasn't to look at it again. Consequently, each page was written fresh the next day without benefit of what had already been logged. The title came effortlessly; words waiting in the wings. For my subject, I chose to write about a simple object, and the seemingly simple way I'd acquired it. At first, this exercise resulted in a very long day. In extreme fashion, I'd either write very quickly first thing in the morning, or resist sitting down to my one page until late at night. Nevertheless, I managed to produce a page a day. So began my curious relationship to An Amber Heart.
One morning, another title occurred to me. I began writing an additional page-a-day on an entirely different piece — a light-hearted teleplay based on mythological themes. The humorous nature of the teleplay provided a kind of "comic relief" from the more intense writing of An Amber Heart. Now writing in tandem, from two opposite points of view, my two projects began to grow. The page-a-day expanded to five pages. Five pages expanded to ten. The passion for writing returned to me. And the unfolding story of An Amber Heart — like magic words appearing before me — completely captured my attention. Subtle, suspenseful — the writing surprised me, drew me in. It began in a third-person narrative, then changed to first-person. Little did I know that my "block" consisted of layers of judgments, attachments to old wounds, and a bank of unresolved feelings that, over the years, like the rings of a tree, I had allowed to grow around and close off access to my heart.
It is an unusual read — not a typical memoir-style of writing — and shaped with parts instead of chapters. The story "unfolds" in a series of contemplations that were formed one evening while I was watching a sunset in my front yard overlooking the Big Sur coastline.