power of the few

mother with son

credit – aperfectworld.org

This past week was one of those intensely bittersweet writing groups. Small, intimate and familiar, we have written with these women on and off for more than four years. Each has enormous odds to overcome in her life, inside and out. Each has suffered small triumphs and overwhelming setbacks. Heartache, loss, and self-loathing snake their way through each woman’s writing.

Yet within our few minutes of writing in this circle of a few women, a power was unleashed that needs to be shared to be understood. In contrast to our usual practice here, I am going to post a writing every other day this week so you, too, can be moved by the power of these few.


My mind was awakened to the early morning’s shuffle of women coming back from breakfast. My eyes popped open and met the dim light peeking through the crack from the door. I’m rested, wide awake. I reach past my alarm clock and make use of my pen and paper. I feel as though, while I was asleep, I was heavy in thought, pondering on my ins and outs of this place and what may become of my future. My second son is at the center of my universe, my third son is in tow. Continue reading

autumn unfolds

Credit: Jim Hester

Toward the end of October, we had a sweet writing circle in which we reflected on the subtle changes that occur as Autumn unfolds. The prompts included what is being asked of that which is changing; or what is being let go and what is becoming in this season of change? Women chose a wide variety of ways into the writing — fond memories of Halloween, the challenges of dysfunctional families at holidays, personal in-turning with the darkening season, moving testimonials of the natural world.

Yet, assembling a poem from each woman’s written lines has created a completely unique reflection filled with hope and tenderness alongside the often harsh realities of the past. The following poem is the product of lines from 15 different women’s writings:

As Autumn unfolds,
from dusk to dawn
falling off slowly,
wind weaving through what’s left.
Time to wait.

Autumn unfolds –
fat lady, geisha, lady gaga, rapper,
tootsie roll and ladybugs;
vampire, princess with a plastic pumpkin
spiders hanging off her dress;
robot, clown, zombie –
how scared their faces were
running house to house
living with the skeleton in her mother’s closet.

Autumn unfolds;
beautiful moon full and high in the sky
the memory that comes to mind.
Trees show their bony limbs.
After two hours it started to snow;
no more leaves to look at,
cover up, hide
our sweet greed.

Autumn unfolds
change for the best, not the worst. Continue reading