Last week, we brought HEAR ME, SEE ME: Incarcerated Women Write to CRCF, enough for each woman currently inside who has ever written with us and chose to receive one.
About 17 writers streamed to our weekly meeting room clamoring for this long-awaited moment. Another 15 joined the line and left, book clutched to chest, no doubt to peruse the pages after laundry, kitchen or hall cleaning duties were done. A dozen women elected to stay with us for an impromptu reading.
Once again I was struck by the power of our process. Since we started the program four years back, we have sought to bring the voices of silenced women from inside themselves, and the prison, out to the world. We do this with regular blog posts, quarterly anthologies and semi-annual readings. We did this with the book and its launch.
And weekly, we do this in a modest circle in a windowless room through a safe, mirroring community that helps each of us see ourselves, hear ourselves and one another into awareness and speech.
We often refer to the ‘arc of experience’ a woman follows in her time inside, one we see intimately within the writing circle. During last week’s book celebration inside, I saw that arc manifest in the responses of three different women. Continue reading