The book that I just finished is "The Wednesday Sisters" about five young women who become friends while watching their young children play in the park every Wednesday.Eventually ,they let be known that each of them has a desire, a thrilling pull ,to write and so they do as a group at an old wooden picnic table.Through the writing and reading of each others work,they bond in a deeper way than any of them thought possible.
From the first page,I wanted to crawl through the paper on my hands and knees,with pen and journal, to join them.Only someone who writes knows the magic of it.I am not talking about publishing and paying,but writing. Taking a crisp blank page of white paper,a black ink BIC medium point pen and telling your story.How you see the world that day:what gold is bubbling in you that wants to see the light of day.
I once was part of a memior writing group in a small town in the Catskills.We met in a quaint bookstore on a narrow one lane road in that clean air that I love so much.There we shared our writings.Nine of us,around the same age and these were women who had such depth,such character.Overcomers,lyrical poets,cancer survivors and a woman who wrote in a startlingly moving way about clothes drying on a line in Brooklyn.
Memoir was just an excuse for us to write and share;we wove our tales in the stillness of the small room.I was so touched by everything that I heard.We were given permission to cry by our tender leader and we did ,copiously.
The day that I recall most vividly was when I shared the story of the monk my family had met at Gethsemane in Kentucky in the '70s.He was losing his faith when we met and eventually he left the Trappists behind, and moved to Florida with his new wife. He and I corresponded for years,me sharing my faith,the monk avoiding all such talk.And as I write ,I remember the simple beauty of his letters.
The week before our last class in 2009,I received a note from him.Just a few lines from the touching poem,"The Hound of Heaven."."I fled Him down the night and down the days"...and as I read,I realized that my monk had finally turned around to the Hound who never stopped chasing him, and let himself be loved at last.
When I finished reading my story about all this,our tender ,so beautiful teacher had tears streaming down her face.This is what writing can be.Not that my words were so perfect,but that my story of grace was.
We all have these things to tell.