Waking Up in Hawaii
Waking up in Hawaii is the story of how Hawaii woke me up. That was going to be my first post on my new blog. The bigger story of that wake up call. But I woke up today wanting to tell this story about writing. So this is blog post number one.
Walking into the room
It’s early in Hawaii, a cold, rainy morning… a particularly introspective morning (for me, anyway), so it hit me hard when one of the first things I saw on facebook this morning was a photo posted by a dear childhood friend who recently lost her mother. It was a picture of the simple wooden rocking chair her mother sat in, tucked into a corner, accompanied by the words, “feeling emotional.” That’s all. I know how deep my friend’s despair is; I see it in these posts of hers. And my heart goes out to her.
And this is what occurred to me when I saw that post, and it’s about writing. If my friend could find her way into a room with others and write the story of her mother in that chair, stories pulled from the years of what was said, not said, imagined, experienced, shouted, mourned, held, celebrated, from that chair, not only would she have a way to connect to the stories that are sitting there, untold, but she would have a written piece about her mother. And that’s something she can hold in her hand and share with others who knew and loved her mother, or maybe didn’t know her mother, but we all understand the story of a daughter’s love. And while this doesn’t take away the sadness, it gives it a voice.
One of the things we leave behind are our words. Finding them and looking at them, even the hardest ones, maybe especially the hardest ones, heals us, and gifts others with our truth, with a thread of connection we don’t necessarily feel when we hold on to our stories and leave them unspoken. We humans must deal with loss in all its forms — with aging, with what haunts us, and if we’re lucky we also have joy to share. Bliss, even. This may sound like an ad for my writers’ workshop and yes I want to fill my workshops, but they do fill. This is more than that. This is the reason to enter one of these rooms and it doesn’t have to be mine. People who are curious about these workshops often ask what we’re doing all day. This is it. We’re bringing our truth to life; we’re connecting to a universal experience of what it means to walk on this planet and we’re holding a light on it. We’re pulling off the covers. I think of it as mining for stories, and maybe that’s as good or better than gold because we can wear all the gold there is and still walk around in despair, or we can write our truth and share it in a room.
I’m telling you, and I see this now, after all these years — writing our truth and having it listened to and held by others is healing. It breaks the chains. Because we all feel shame, we have all had our hearts broken, and we will all lose our people we love. But there is also happiness and laughter, often deep gales of laughter. And if a piece we write in the room finds its way out into the world, well that’s another gift. Because at the end of the day, the words remain.
Blow the lid off everything you’re sitting on and and write your truth in a room with other people who are doing the same thing. It will change you, I promise.
You don’t have to be a professional writer. Just pick up a pen and start digging.