“If you do not breathe through writing, if you do not cry out in writing, or sing in writing,
then don’t write, because our culture has no use for it.”
— Anais Nin
“Muriel Rukeyser asks, “What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life?
The world would split open.” Betsy Blankenbaker did the thing I haven’t read anyone
else do before. She said all the things out loud.”
— Rochelle Schieck, www.loveqoya.com
What is the story you yearn to read? The one that could help you make sense of your life. It’s probably the one you need to write.
My first book, Autobiography of an Orgasm, took two years to write, but that was because I spent twenty-one of those months writing a different book. The original book I was working on was about my life and spiritual path as I travelled between the US and Zimbabwe, and it included a very short passage about a sensual encounter with a man in Africa. When author Joyce Maynard evaluated a chapter of that manuscript, she said, “You should be writing about your sensual path.” At the time, I remember thinking, I could never tell the truth about my sex life – it was filled with so many lies, so much sadness and shame. It was a part of my life that I wanted to hide.
I was not brave enough to tell the truth about my sensual path, so I continued to write the book about my travels. A year later, Joyce read another chapter from the manuscript and told me the same thing again. This time I listened.
Maybe it was because I was turning fifty and no longer cared as much about what people thought about me. Maybe it was because in the end, the discomfort of not telling the story was worse than the transparency of telling it. Maybe it was a little of both. My book opened with the line: “I had my first orgasm when I was thirty-six, which means I spent half my life faking it” and for the next 40,000 words, I wrote all the stories that I felt were unsayable, unlovable and unforgivable. I learned that the real story I needed to tell was the story hiding behind the one I was writing, and once I tapped into the source of what I should be writing, the story flowed out of me like a I was watering a garden ready to bloom.
It was a relief to write the truth. It was also uncomfortable but ultimately I found strength in being vulnerable.
After releasing, Autobiography of an Orgasm, something unexpected happened – the transparency was where readers connected to my story. I began to receive story after story from readers who thanked me for putting words to their own disconnection from their sensual being. For some, it became a starting point to look at their relationships to their bodies. For others, it became a launching point for reclaiming their bodies as holy and experiencing healing through orgasm.
Look at your writing now. Is there something you’re avoiding writing about? Where can you write with even more transparency?
“In order to be a writer, you have to learn to be reverent. If not, why are you writing?
Why are you here?”
— Anne Lamott
My advice to any writer on writing the passages that make you uncomfortable is whatever you choose to do, offer it with reverence. Offer your writing in the same way you would make an offering at a sacred temple. And remember, you will find the most connection when you write the scenes you would rather hide from.
Can you honor yourself enough to write the real story you want to tell?
Join Betsy for a Qoya Writing Workshop in London
Saturday, December 12th — 10am-1pm
Soho Location given upon enrollment
The workshop is an invitation to connect to the wisdom of your body as a portal to your stories. Through movement and writing prompts, you’ll learn to let your body guide you deeper into your storytelling.
“Qoya is a form of sweaty spiritual enlightenment.”
Betsy will share some insights from her book, Autobiography of An Orgasm, on the importance of honoring our womb as a sacred place of creation. Each person will leave the workshop with a daily ritual to inspire their writing.
Bring a journal, pen and wear comfortable clothing
All levels welcome
Investment: $60 USD
Email Betsy to sign-up by clicking here.
“Autobiography of An Orgasm is an honest memoir so worth reading. Many will be
helpedby this book… it might shift your entire life.”
— Tosha Silver, author of Outrageous Openness
**Free London Event**
Monday, December 7th, 2015 — 7-9pm
Join Betsy and storytellers for an evening of spoken word and discussion from the book, Autobiographies of Our Orgasms
The Gallery Cafe, 21 Old Ford Road
Food, drinks and books available for purchase at the event.
“Autobiographies of Our Orgasms goes far beyond the physical to the mental,
emotional and moral experiences of women.”
— novelist, Dan Wakefield
**Join Betsy in Costa Rica**
April 9-16, 2016
Betsy is one of the teachers at the 2016 Qoya Collective Retreat
Save your place with a $500 deposit