We gather at the writing table, huddled close in a room filled with women. The murmur is low, occasional laughter cutting through the hum. We look around at one another, maybe ten of us there with our laptops. One mama has her baby swaddled tightly to her chest. Another pushes her glasses up further on her face. I wonder if she knows she just did that or if doing it is so much a part of her that it feels like a breath.
They are nervous, I can tell. The conference is in full swing by now and this is the last of three writing sessions I’ve helped to lead. I shake my head and wonder how I got here, sitting at the front table, offering my words to encourage others, flailing through the day like a crazy person. I ask who wants to go first and a brave one passes her laptop to her neighbor. We don’t ask them to read their own work aloud, but to have another do it — so they can hear their own words read back to them through the voice of someone else.
She reads, and we are home. It is the fastest 30 minutes of the whole weekend. We fly through words like girls on bikes and in the listening, we learn more of ourselves. I can’t believe I was nervous about this – these women are amazing. They are funny, gritty, singing poets. They learn life by writing it down. I get them.
When you find your people, your soul breathes deep. You can do it alone, but it isn’t as much fun. Sometimes we are afraid of mingling with others who do the same kind of art we do because what if they do theirs better? But these women here, they are a gift, each one. We let one another in, so instead of a free fall it feels more like a jump.
When we write, we remember. When we read our own words, we understand. But when someone else reads words we wrote, we come alive. In this time of year for thanks and for giving, be thankful for your art. Be graceful in the giving of it.
How are you having someone else read your own words back to you in this season of your life? You don’t have to be a writer – you may be passionate about cooking or home design or accounting or music or architecture. Have you made your art available to others in such a way as to allow yourself to come alive?
Thank you, Darcy, for the top image of our writing group.Leave a Comment