We read to know we are not alone. —C.S. Lewis
The past few weeks have been a swirl of blessings. I read one time that Barbara Kingsolver said, “To have my first novel published was like singing in the shower alone, only to realize after that there was a room full of people listening to me.” Meadowlark’s release, has thrown all windows and doors open on my intensely private journey of the last decade. The journey is richer shared.
Story connects us to one another and to the world. Christina Baldwin describes this journey beautifully in Storycatcher: “Story—the abundance of it, and the lack of it—shapes us. Story—the abundance of it, and the lack of it—gives us place, lineage, history, a sense of self. Story—the abundance of it, and the lack of it—breaks us into pieces, shatters our understanding, and gives it back over and over again, the story different everytime. Story—the abundance of it, and the lack of it—connects us with the world and outlines ourrelationship with everything. When the power of story comes into the room, an alchemical reaction occurs that is unique to our kind: love or hate, identification or isolation, war or peace, good or evil can be stirred in us by words alone. The power of story is understood by the powerful, yet the power of story belongs toall of us, especially the least powerful. History is what scholars and conquerors say happened; story it what it was like to live on the ground.”
I received a note from one of our dear family friends, with this photo from around 1975. I treasure this. I remember the moment vividly, as we kids listened to a rousing rendition of “Jack of the Beanstalk,” by one of the dads, Frank Lunetta. Mary Main wrote, “From listening to the story, to telling the story.”
This intensely private journey that is now out in the world, I’ve discovered, gives voice to others’ own intensively private journeys in ways that I could never have imagined those years that I spent writing alone. This has been the greatest gift—to share the journey of ‘what it was like to live on the ground.’
Here, some images of this shared journey:
The day that for so many years I thought might never happen. The first time I touched Meadowlark.
Noé arriving home to celebrate after our first copy of Meadowlark arrived.
Books to personalize and mail. As I do this, my mind returns again and again to all of the moments of the past years when I doubted this moment would ever happen. Then, I pinch myself, give a prayer of gratitude, and I reach for another book. Each book I sign, a private letter between the two of us.
Meadowlark’s first public reading, hosted by Heidi Chase.
Heidi surprised me with the world’s best cake. I had no idea this was even possible!
I marvel at the blessings that have come from a time of deep crisis. Two worn and tattered quotes were taped to my refrigerator during this time, “When you’re going through hell, keep on going,” and “I may be changed by what happens to me. I refuse to be reduced by it,” by Maya Angelou.
This is what I’ve learned from this experience, not only for myself, but the potential this holds for each of us. It is a time now of a blessed busy. There are not nearly enough hours in the day. The kids are back in school, the new semester ready to begin, and all that goes with each.
The “Raven’s Time: Wildness and Beauty” online class through Story Circle Network started last week. Oh, what a gift to share this time with incredible, thoughtful, wild and beautiful people sinking into these ideas!
This first week, we’re exploring the ideas of water, language, and story. It has been a time of deep learning for me, as well, as I try to texturize the online environment. I’ve learned how to post videos within the course. Somehow, this makes me feel as if my students and I are all together.
Here are a few videos, of Introduction and of the writing process of clustering and reading from Anne Lamott’s brilliant essay, “Shitty First Drafts.”
Water, Language and Story: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=yeq7VCSnyFo
Clustering and Shitty First Drafts (Part 1): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1J1fBVzlSU
Clustering and Shitty First Drafts (Part 2): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yRgNyCj8yp4
As I write this morning, I prepare to leave tomorrow to give a workshop on Cultural Diversity and Awareness to people in the construction industry in Seattle. Yes, it is indeed a chapter of blessed busy, with the focus on blessed. Wynn Elizabeth turned 14 on August 14th. When Wynn was a little girl, she loved tiaras, which she pronounced to rhyme with Chihuahua. Clearly, she needed one for her party for old time’s sake.
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