My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
Adler didn't just look at someone; he looked into them, without judgment, with the sort of empathy they couldn't find anywhere else.~Elizabeth Brundage (From The Vanishing Point)
There is nothing like being truly seen by another. Have you experienced it? Sometimes the beauty of being seen catches me off guard. I remember one day in a counseling appointment, my therapist said something like, "You couldn't 'rock the boat' in your family system, could you? I mean being the youngest by so many years, you had to keep the peace, help maintain the family protocols that were in place long before you came into the picture." At that moment in the quiet space of the therapy room, I felt seen. Comforted that perhaps my tendency toward "keeping the peace" and "people pleasing" had some reasoning and validity regarding my adult behaviors. Then sometimes my husband will say, "Oh, Priscilla, you look beautiful," and I touch my face or hair and say, "Oh, but I'm a wreck right now. I'm still in my pajamas, or I don't have on any make-up." And my husband responds, "Why I like you in the natural, because it's the real you." And I relax, and don't try to hide. Or feel embarrassed. When one is seen for who they really are, it extinguishes shame. Ignites love.
She made asterisks next to passages she liked,
little stars that kept shining after she closed the book. ~Billy Collins (From Musical Tables)
This week I found a poetry book in the library, Musical Tables, by Billy Collins. All the poems are short. The author stated that when he peruses poetry books, he looks for the short poems. I do too. Maybe when I look for short poems, I am really searching for simplicity.
I recently talked to a friend who told me some painful, unexpected circumstances had occurred. He said, "Honestly, I feet gutted and I don't really know what to do next." He said he was trying to "keep things simple" in order to survive. He told me that on one horrible day, he cleaned his house and listened to music. He stated that it seemed rather trite to clean house and listen to music when his world felt as if it was imploding. "But it helped," he said. Another day he said the feelings of uncertainty felt so overwhelming he turned up the volume on worship songs he was listening to, fell on his knees and sang, praising God. That simple, authentic act of surrender encouraged him.
Molton was full on gospel blues, "truth music" as she referred to it, which dealt with the struggles of everyday life.~Kreg Yingst
Last week I slowly walked an art gallery featuring Kreg Yingst's woodblock prints entitled "Psalms and Lamentations." Each woodblock featured a black performer who sang the blues and the gospel. Beside each square block of wood, Yingst provided a narrative of the person's life journey, showcasing their tenacity to keep singing. I kept returning to read about the life of Flora Molton.
Flora was legally blind, but didn't let that barrier stop her. She often performed on the corner of F Street NW and 7th Street NW in downtown Washington DC where she played a bottleneck slide guitar. She sang while tapping a tambourine with her foot and played a harmonica that was mounted around her neck. She collected change from passers-by in a plastic pail. But the street life was tough and she wanted out. Despite her attempts to pick up work she wound up back on her corner, strumming her guitar and singing her combination of gospel and blues.
Flora captured my attention, I think, because sometimes it can feel futile to keep singing, to keep writing or painting. To simply bury the poems in a drawer, throw out the paint. And like Flora, realize that to make ends meet, there must be other income besides what the songs bring in. Yet she kept going back to her art, back to her corner to belt out her blues and gospel tunes.