weaving the threads

“Draft a post with three parts, each unrelated to the other, but create a common thread between them by including the same item — an object, a symbol, a place — in each part.” – Today’s DP Challenge

rock cairn by ocean

I am due to report on the results of using a contact form to get readers’ opinions about cairns – their artistic, functional and expressive functions. The short summary of what I learned is that their ephemeral nature is what makes them beautiful. They can be reassembled to suit the moment’s mood.

Colorful stack of expressive words

Weekly I lead a circle of women in prison writing their lives – for better, for worse, for creativity, for healing. Their piles of words express where these women have been and where they are headed. They speak to the moment’s mood. Their words can be reassembled, as I do each week by rearranging lines of writing into one united poem. This ‘found poem’ takes on a wholly new meaning from its respective referred-to-parts. The authors delight in the challenge to see where I will take the collective meaning of disparate and unrelated phrases and feelings from one week to the next.

black-and-white graphic of women in a circleLast night, I was treated to a surprise  reunion dinner in honor of my return to my writing roots among Women Writing for (a) Change writers in its hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.  A third of our original Wednesday writing group from 20 years back reassembled itself around a corner table at a local Italian restaurant. As I surveyed the glowing and ageless faces of these women I love like sisters, women who are a part of me, I felt layers of years and shared experience pile higher and higher. A monumental stack of worded moments, laughter, meals, losses and dreams as testimony to our coming-of-age as a community of becoming-conscious women. Though on separate journeys, we remain joined by our shared passion for words. One moment, one mood, one meeting at a time.

circling the fire

fire at the center of the circle

the flame of inspiration

We huddled close as wind rose, pelting rain hard overhead. Our feet nearly touched at fire’s edge as we circled still tighter together. Was that possible? After four months together around this same flame – the one we first eyed with suspicion, the one we longed for between gatherings, the one that inspired us, woke us up, whispered the necessary permissions – here we were at our final gathering.

Words swirled about us, savored from souls stirred inward and onward by silence beneath pounding rain. Or was that our collective heart? Our words prevailed over storm, goodwill over good sense. We stayed later than expected in our own intensity of focused feeling feedback.

And then, one final round of blessings basked in new-found silence. The storm passed, our stories spent, our hearts stirred by the stunning strains of our voices found and shared, we bid farewell into the silence of the stilled storm.

May your going forth be filled with wondrous words

to lead you deep and return you safely home.

i’ll stay dumb, thanks so much


My 'antique' cell phone

It may be dumb, but it still works just fine!

Every time folks look at my cell phone, they have a hard time suppressing the expression on their faces that says, ‘How do you get that antique to work, anyway?‘ When I patiently remind my students to email me the night before group to inform me of the next day’s absence – because I have neither internet at the writing studio, nor smart phone – they do not seem to register my meaning. Even last week, when I was at the Verizon store purchasing a smart phone for my daughter, she, the salesman and my husband tried their best to persuade me to buy one for myself. I simply could not figure out a reason to do so.

OK, maybe I am the dinosaur here. Continue reading

weekly photo challenge: escape


gate to St Lucia beach

gate from our beach room in Labourie, St. Lucia

Escape from the chill of Vermont April; from the final days of my daughter’s senior high school year; from North American life as we have come to live it.

Escape into leisurely warm days and balmy beach walking nights.

Escape into time away, together. Memories.