April 29: Your other shadow

Yesterday we wrote about our real shadow on the ground, or at least that’s where we started.

Now, let’s write about a different shadow, and we can start with these words from the playwright August Wilson:

“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”

From The Poet’s Companion, write about your shadow, what Robert Bly has referred to as “that long bag we drag behind us.”

First, to warm up, write something that you would never show to anyone. Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux say, “Get it out, as much of it as possible, in as much shameful or horrifying detail as you can manage. Afterwards, feel free to tear it up or burn it; the exercise is successful if it has enabled you to get in touch with that place in yourself.”

Next, write a letter to your shadow as a specific being–with an appearance, with habits. Or describe your shadow’s reactions to specific actions that you perform. The book lists “tucking in a child, making love, going for a walk, writing a poem.”

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