May 27, 2023

A Woman’s Voice is a Red-Inked Line.

I am a writer.

A few years ago, I was standing in the woods somewhere in Newcastle. I was bare-breasted, skirt lifted, squatting to the earth, my lips parting, my mouth open and roaring to the sky, the trees, and to life itself.

Part of a performance and photography project, a group of warrior women had come together to reclaim a voice so ancient that the first images born onto stone would tell the truth of who we are as women:

With big, round, soft bellies.

With strong mamma Earth beneath the soles of our feet and birth-bearing, haunched thighs.

With majestic wild-fur cunts exposed and fierce. And with a voice. The voice that roars from the beloved primal space between our legs.

I am a writer.

I gave my voice away when I was a young girl. All meek and shy and trying to fit in, a square peg in a round hole. My voice left the building, and I didn’t know how to retrieve it again.

When we don’t give our voice to life, something curdles within us. Our cries become muted and the palette of our lives suffers from this dilution. We change shape on the inside and our hidden voice rages away. Its unseeded fruit growing trees in our bellies, in our wombs, webbing our insides with sticky, sweet berry threads of resentment, frustration, and rage.

I am a writer.

A woman’s voice is a red-inked line, one that figure skates and twists and turns, pulsing with life force, and connects us all together like an ancient thread, long borne of myth and medicine and of ritual and ceremony. It’s truth and complexity. It’s regret and sorrow. It’s fire and wisdom. It’s obscenity and the strange raucous, knowing, gut-wrenching laughter of the old ones.

I am a writer.

My voice comes through when I place the words like a puzzle onto the page. A jigsaw of all the pieces of myself that fill me up. I write to make sense of the nonsensical. I write to taste life again, once more—modified and amplified. I am a truth teller, a wordsmith, and a storyteller, telling tales of all that gestates and births in rivers and pools of violet and violent blood.

Our voice as women is in our blood. How can it not be so?

I am a writer.

Writing is a prayer from my heart to my hand. The pen scribing, God’s messenger and secretary, especially in those rare moments when flow takes over and I can’t write fast enough to catch the tumble of truth that falls from my fingers.

When we write we empty ourselves of secrets and lies, of those places that shame has sticky taped to the dark corners, clogging up our channels where life desires to pour itself into. When we keep these words inside, they form a mass of spaghetti letters, coagulating and choking who we are. Sometimes these words don’t come out as they were intended. They are not the right shape nor hue or texture. They feel alien to us, imposters pretending that they fit in when they don’t.

Sometimes our words elude us, vanishing before we are even conscious of their presence and their power—for our words have power.

Our words have power.

I am a writer.

I have long since been awed and humbled and often surprised when the words that pour out of me like lava, such a wild force, come true. I have written stories and then had those very events and characters come visit upon me for a while. They say to be careful what you wish for, but I would add that being careful what you write is more apt as a caution for a writer of soul and truth.

When we spell, we become witches, sorcerers of storytelling, and spell crafters of the modern day, lying hidden in plain sight in coffee shops and standing next to you on the Tube.

I am a writer.

Have we swapped our wands and brooms for the quill and pencils? What magic are we manifesting each time we color the blank, white page with the blackened ink of our inner sense? Our innocence. The fool’s gold-like shards of illumined light. Lighting the way, like little forest dapples leading the young ones to find the way, the path. Literary breadcrumbs leading us home.


I am a writer.

I had a dream last night. A woman sat in the bath. The water turning ink black as everything that needed to be cleansed from her was released. Her skin was alabaster white, her hair stuck wet and shining to her long face, neck, chest, and breasts. Writing is like this bath. It baptizes us so that we can be renewed once more, emptied, opened out, and freed. The woman in the bathtub.

I am a writer.

The forgetting comes in a wave, or like one of those swings that you find in the park when you swing too high and for a moment you are lifted away from the seat, a liminal flight without any ground. Busyness. Distractions. The edging away from the relationship.

For being a writer is like being in a relationship, an intimate one—a sacred one. A real one with its glad tidings and joyful connections as well as its frustrations and maddening misunderstandings.

Sometimes boredom comes scratching at the wooden post of our chair and we go chasing after its tail, abandoning the tale we most need to stay with.

I am a writer.

Words form me into substance and into meaning, purpose, rhyme, and reason. They permeate the thin membrane between life and the felt sense that swims like a mystery within every cell of my being. They bring me to life when I sink below the surface of the waters. They consume like fire when rage burns from my molten, marrowed core.

I am a writer.

I listen, pen poised, and the truth snakes in, wrapping its surprisingly cool skin around my arm and hand, hissing with its forked tongue dipped in ink. The truth that has waited patiently in the dark void of my womb. We have to place our ears to the ground and feel the mores-coded beat of the earth’s symphonic beat. We are the translators of this truth whilst the deer looks on blinking, whilst the hares jump and hop around us in delight, and whilst the skies turn, the stars shine, and the cycles of the seasons of our lives turn in their spiral way.

I am a writer.

To be a woman and a writer is a privilege. A devotion. A calling to create our stories, whether of turmoil and truth, or fairy, fantastical escapism.

Our stories are who we are and what we are made of.

Our stories give weight and weft to the tapestry of our lives.

Our stories feed us and our young.

Our stories help us to remember when it’s grey and foggy and our eyes are heavy with woe. And our stories lift us into celebration, into togetherness, and into the infinitesimal experience of being a living, breathing, wild-hearted, tender, sweet, and juicy human being.

I am a writer.

At the beginning of the past year, I breathed this in and out possibly for the first time ever, claiming the shape and breadth of these words, the affirmation, the declaration, the space behind, between, and beyond what these words mean.

I am a writer. I stand rooted in this truth. It’s a knowing so deep that my roots twist in compliance. It’s a truth so clear that doubt has left the building. It’s who I am. It’s who I am.

Tell your tales, sister, that only you know.

Beat your finger-tipped drum.

Curl your pen toward freedom.

Speak that which has never been allowed.

I am a writer.



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