Monday, June 13, 2011

Body Writing

I googled the phrase “body writing” out of curiosity. I had just a snatch of a dream last night in which someone had written words all over my body. It wasn’t a pleasant experience and I got the impression that I had not been a willing participant in the process.

It would appear that all one needs to write on one’s body is something to write with – preferably something non-permanent. It’s not like a tattoo that stays forever. If one makes a mistake with the eye pencil, or the lipstick, one can simply wash it off and start all over again.

One website I checked out seemed to think that there was an erotic element about it. In the tattoo parlour, it’s a stranger writing the words, and it’s a business transaction. Body writing, however is done in the privacy of a home, a bedroom perhaps, by lovers or friends. What you write is…what you feel at the moment. I have enough surface area about me to write Tolstoy’s War and Peace, and still have room left over for footnotes.

With the right person I would not be unwilling to pen a poem or two on interesting parts of his anatomy. In my dream, however, I was not happy.

I have my moments of understanding the message in a dream. Not a certain interpretation by any means, but it speaks to me.

Some weeks earlier I had been talking with friends about the power of the spoken word – not so much about the written word, and whether it is possible that we end up cursing ourselves without really intending to. Just days earlier, a group of young people and myself had been looking at the story of creation in the book of Genesis. Everything, apart from people, was created by the spoken word – “God commanded…”

God’s words are creative. We are made in the image of God. That means that our words can also be creative. The trouble is that too often they are destructive, pulling something or someone down, rather than building them up.

I think the words in my dream were not about written words – but about spoken ones. The physical body was not my outer shell, but my inner me. The spoken words had somehow stuck themselves to my heart and soul – words that were not spoken to edify and to build up, but to pull down. They were words spoken by other people, and also perhaps, words that I had spoken to myself. Not poems written by lovers, but harsh and critical words.

The good thing is that like all good body writing, the ink is not permanent. It washes away. And once washed there is space again for more words to be written.

Best to let God fill those cleared spaces with His words.

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