From my very first post I wanted to pay homage to the speech which inspired the title of my blog, Ain't I a Woman? by Sojourner Truth. Such a beautiful speech, such a beautiful name, such a beautiful woman. It is one of my favorite pieces. I strive to emulate this style in my own work. Poetic and powerful. Honest and unafraid. Memorable. And I like brevity. It too is beautiful. This is the standard I wish to be held to as I explore the question with you ~ ain't I a writer?
"Obliged to you for hearing me, and I do have a few things more to say..."

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Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Back In My Own Room

A Little ChickLit for my 2015 AROHO Sisters
     “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!’ yelled Chicken Little. She’d been running around for quite some time, crossing roads without reason, like herself with her head cut off.
“Yes, it is dear,” said her plucky elders. “Come and lie down with us. See, feel, hear, how beautiful the falling sky is.” They made a space for her on their blanket where they watched the enormous sky above, willing it to fall. Naturally, it did. Spectacularly, it did. Their collective energy moved the stars, created new constellations, reshaped heaven.
So she stopped being Chicken. Then she stopped being Little. Now she is a huge hen. Each of her feathers a quill for writing stories as big and infinite as the sky. She is content in knowing she will live mostly happily ever after if she does. Though she will stop occasionally to do that funky chicken dance.



     With the exception of the silly little ditty above, I have been putting off my post-AROHO blog post for a long time. Re-entry, as we like to call it, was especially difficult this time. Much more so than in 2013. That summer, upon my return to real life, I felt like a fish, immersed in a swift current I belonged in and knew how to navigate. This year, I feel more like a fish that has mishapped out of the stream, gasping and flopping about, foolishly expending energy meant for a more graceful purpose.



     But I am not a fish. I am quite capable of righting myself, and wading, or even taking a headlong dive, back in. So I'm now sharing my original thoughts. I thought of deleting them, but could not. Though delayed, they have not changed much. This is what I came home with.
    The opportunity to work and commune with Maxine Hong Kingston, Janet Fitch, Breena Clarke, and more than 100 other women writers, is to make constellations on the surface of the earth, while at night the heavens try to tease with the fast bright trains of the Perseids. It is all meteoric. A transient brilliance. A big, ballsy, white hot celestial rarity. You can bear it witness, but you cannot hold it. Yet, I've decided, to bear it witness is enough.



      My Post-AROHO Post

      Maxine Hong Kingston came to Ghost Ranch. Like the rest of us she brought her ghosts. All of our ghosts, too many thousands to count now, are happy that here they can spread out and relax. Ghosts find freedom on the ranch.
     Tiny though she is, Maxine lifted us all up and hugging us fast around our waists, she hung us from the windows. She urged us to call out clever lines to the grandfathers as they pass by, waving, maybe applauding. But the applause is of no real significance. The important thing is not being shy, which means afraid of falling. The important thing is knowing that your elders are behind you, holding you fast with their strong sure hands.
      Later, we will take our places, inside the rooms of our own, and we will hold the tender young ones who come after with our own strong, sure hands. We will dangle them out the windows and watch their pretty hair blow in the breezes. We will say, "Tell your poem, yell your words, do not be afraid."
     And they will tell.
     And they will yell.
     Dangling unafraid.