This morning a review of HEAR ME, SEE ME: Incarcerated Women Write went up on the Wellesley College Women’s Review of Books. And tomorrow afternoon, a handful of previously-incarcerated women whose words appear in HEAR ME, SEE ME will read before assembled students, faculty and townfolk at Middlebury College.
We are being graciously hosted by Chellis House, Women’s Resource Center in concert with the Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies; Feminist Action at Middlebury; the Program in Creative Writing; and the Office of the Dean of the College. Tomorrow’s format will differ somewhat from our formal book launch in October. After the reading, a Q&A will permit listeners to ask the questions they would otherwise take home with them. And of course, there will be book sales and signing to follow.
Marybeth and I are so proud of the hard work these women continue to do to try to unravel the tangled threads of their early lives and reweave them into a meaningful life ahead. They stumble, they fall, they get back up. And they have one anothers’ backs, a crucial support network too often woefully lacking on the outside.
At last night’s group, populated with a tender mix of new writers and returned-from-prior- release veterans, one woman penned the following – her words anything but academic!
PLACES OF BROKENNESS
Never before have I been thrown into a place of such brokenness as within these walls. Every woman has her own story to tell, and I have yet to hear one that does not include pain, loss and hopelessness. One thing I have come to see is that no matter what pain I have inside, I still wish there was something, anything, that I could do to help each and every woman who is stuck here behind these walls with me.
We are all broken in some way, but are also some of the greatest women I know. We may be different, but we are also so much alike.
As my time here begins to come to an end, one of the many motivations I have – to keep myself from being locked behind these walls again – is to not forget those women I have met along my journey. I pray that someday I will be that special connection, that even one woman can count on to help her show the rest of the world just how amazing I know she already is.