the poem I am writing
already wonders about its worth. – from “From Los Angeles Looking South” by Eloise Klein Healy
On mornings like this one, when I begin to doubt, when the openness of “other” feels like breath and time, when I wonder why I do what I do and think – for only the 457,894th times about not doing it – I force myself to sit in the discomfort.
When I think that my words have no edge or not enough weight to shift a heart much less a mind, when I begin to compare this quiet office with a building where people come for job training, or a field where a well is dropping into the ground, or a classroom where ears are open (at least sometimes) and grades equal goals . . . I force myself to pick up a pen.
Because I know words have a brutal edge that severs sinew and scar tissues. They have the power of a cupped hand with water just at my chin. Words begin wars far more often than then end them, but that is not the fault of words – but of the clumsy, selfish tongues and fingers that issue them.
In Greenwich Village, Kathleen Norris’s words steadied my soul and mind when I faced the reality that my dream wasn’t really my dream at all . . . but more an obligation I had been handed for 22 years.
In the months of black silence after Mom died, Meghan O’Rourke lent me her language.
When I have caused hurt and been called on it, Peggy McIntosh shapes privilege so that I can recognize myself in it.
So in the face of grave harm, grave injustice, grave despair, I am not standing with a shovel or tutoring women who have been battered about job skills. I’m not there in a classroom of 18 year olds, helping them interrogate their own beliefs. That’s okay – other people are called to be in those places.
I’m off to the side, observing, recording, sharing – the voice that amplifies other voices and whispers comfort and challenge in their eyes.
Tell me – what value does your writing have? (And it does have value.) I want to hear what you want your words to do.
I’m getting so excited about our Writer’s Retreat on the Farm this July. Spaces are filling up, so please get more information reserve your space today at this link – http://godswhisperfarm.com/writers-retreat-on-the-farm/.