grind, grind, repeat

Each week co-director Sarah Bartlett works her magic by weaving our most compelling writing into a single collective poem called a “found poem.”

I love the symbolism of this blended format.

To me, it represents the reconstitution of words and voices of a diverse, ever-changing circle of women to create new meanings and insights for the collective community, as well as for each other.

The “found poem” represents what we work at diligently week-to-week – fashioning healthy, trusting community where all voices are equal within the circle.

This week Sarah crafted our “found poem” entitled Grind, Grind, Repeat from her European vacation destination–THANK YOU!

pencil sharpener by muffett68


Celebrating new ways
to express myself
where it is less complicated,
precious hands guiding me along my path

the one thing I know won’t change
what defines me, is mine —
my writing, curvy and slanted.
It won’t change –

a rollercoaster across the page
squiggly lightening bolt
bleeding off the page
representing the freer woman I am becoming. 

I never got to be a child myself  –
rebelled as soon as I could
meet a man just like my father,
set out on new journey of life.

Body covered in freckles
slowly sharpened one leaded hexagon
each circular crank ease up my pressure –
gears grind, lead is sharpened.

Pain sifted through
beliefs that kept me imprisoned –
massive pressure to conform
until it is picture perfect.

I searched in all the places and faces,
an adult mind that is capable and sound
the final loop-de-loop.

watching me from doughnut heaven

I am massively jazzed when a new woman joins the writing circle and folds into our community process seamlessly.  It’s a testament to the woman’s personal readiness to reflect more deeply upon her life.  It’s also testament to the power of the Women Writing for (a) Change model we use, and its ability to facilitate safe, trustworthy space (quickly) for all participants.

Inside-writer SV joined us for the first time this week and shared this whimsical piece about her Aunt Shirley.  For many incarcerated women (all of us, for that matter!), it’s the memory of someone who loved us unconditionally that holds together our orbits during difficult times.  Read on…


My Aunt Shirley loved to eat doughnuts and chocolate and pizza from the microwave.

She loved to feed me my favorite foods – and that was the way she loved me.

She loved me through macaroni and cheese.

She loved me through Alfredo and broccoli.

She loved me until the day she passed; and yet, still, I feel her love.

I would not be who I am today if my Aunt Shirley wasn’t there everyday to love me the best way she knew how. In fact, I don’t think I’d even be here if I had to go through life without her.

She is in doughnut heaven now.

She is not always by my side – but, oh, she really is.

Her love, her faith in me, that was unwavering.

She made me believe I was loveable.

She made me believe that I was so special to her – and I was.

She watches over me every minute of every day, I am sure of it.

As sure as she has a doughnut in her hand!

..visioning a New Year from ‘inside’

P. Robinson-Smith

  ‘Inside’ woman-writer TM shares her vision
for ‘beginning again’ in 2012. 

  Generous thanks for your support
of writinginsideVT this year.    

  New Years blessings to all,

                -Marybeth & Sarah


Personal renewal guides
a lingering journey.
Perhaps this will be the time
I begin again.

Many dreams have been lost
through selfishness.
Believing in my inner power and integrity,
regaining dignity.

I need to validate
these desires.
Losing a battle for so long
increases the stamina to move on.

Meditation, honor, builds my power,
letting go of negative energy,
holding onto the divine.
Is it real this time?

Powerful Solstice.