I was invited to a writing group....
About four years ago, I was invited by two friends to attend a writing group. Although I wasn’t sure it would be my cup of tea, I went anyway. I cried the whole way to the writing group and the drive was about an hour. I was scared for many reasons to tell my stories. I was afraid to feel them so intimately and I was afraid I wouldn’t be good enough. I was afraid they wouldn’t matter. Boy, was I wrong.
That day I met a woman that would forever change my life for the better. I walked into her AWA (Amhearst Writers and Artists) writing classroom and saw her. She looked like an artist and she was a warrior. She wasn’t afraid to say it like is and she wasn’t afraid to share her stories and her challenges. She was a woman that showed her nine lives and I will love her always for that. She had the most gentle approach to being with people. Her name is Janet Johnson.
Janet was the first person who ever taught me that it is safe to write and tell my stories. I didn’t learn this right away though. It took me time. She didn’t grade my work. She just listened with all of her heart and soul. She told me the things that moved her in my writings or the things she remembered because they were important to her in the end. Janet taught me that we are all storytellers and that writing is less about perfect grammar or rule following and much more about storytelling. If you have a friend then you have told a story and that means you are a storyteller. This, in turn, means you are a writer. Writing brings forth what's inside and asks you to find the courage to dig, find and express what's there. It brings the unconscious to the conscious. Whether your purpose for writing is artistic expression, communication with friends, or healing your inner life, the foundation is all the same. It’s about claiming yourself and strengthening your voice. It’s about being healthy.
I invite you today to grab a pen a piece of paper. I will teach you the way Janet taught me. Sit somewhere comfortable and be undistracted. Take some deep breaths and ground yourself in your body. Close your eyes and picture a face and see what comes to you. If more than one face comes to you, then pick the first one because there is usually something in it for you. Look at the face in your mind, then open your eyes, take your pen and write, “In this one you are….”
Set a timer. Write your heart out for 15 minutes and then read your story back to yourself.
See who shows up.
Write back soon.