Sorry…I’ve Been Away and I’ve Missed You

voiceLast year—as if in a class of one—I learned a lot about these two words: empathy and energy. Each of us, within our lifetime will experience a family member or friend or acquaintance or stranger who shares their voice: “Oh, it was so unexpected.” “I was so scared.” “I thought he/she would die.” “Yes, the loss is hard.” Do you remember how these moments FELT for you?

I earned an A in class when it came to listening to the variety of voices whose goal was to save me so others would not need to share: “It was so sudden!” I invite each of you to truly listen to the voices of others. It is in these moments that we are in the state of empathy: a word that means compassion. And, whether or not you remember who it was that shared their voice with you it is the energy of the moment that will remain for all time!

If the physicists out there panic as to how it is a writer identifies with words like energy and all time; I say “Sorry!” But what I minimally do know is that energy is always conserved meaning it cannot be created or destroyed. Or maybe this portrays it: energy just gets transferred.

Know that the next time a voice shares with you a sanctified moment in their life the state of empathy is now energy that just transferred to the everlastingly!

“Maternal Tapestry” That Which Is Or…”

tapestry

Maternal is a word that reveals itself in actions and Tapestry is the interweaving of its consequences. There are women who weave with an artistry that is life itself and others who lose a thread here and there weakening the embroidery over time.

Women of the World—from time itself—entwined in the stillness of their Maternal Tapestry to guide and teach and love and train and pray for those of their womb. Their tapestry sewn tight into the yet unborn and each stitch after birth intended.

Yet, we still have wars and we still hate and we still throb to control and those in the womb must surely feel this energy. And yes, some Maternal Tapestry still exists in the voices allowed to speak; but even they are growing quiet.

My question is this: “If the current voices in the Cosmos of Maternal Tapestry should be silenced by fear or ignorance of its import—who then would become the Maternal Tapestry Storytellers of our future?”

“The Voices…”

liberty_000Year 2014: Can’t you hear our wailing? Do you not sense the rise as we lift from the ashes of war? Have you not yielded to the whimpers of the children? Has not power been revealed as an Achilles’ heel? Humankind’s voice is shouting: even when silenced by tyranny or partition. For it is within the privacy of every  thought that each voice cannot be denied its intention.

220px-Emma_Lazarus

Year 1903: Perhaps American poet Emma Lazarus (1849-1887), born in New York City, said it best in “The New Colossus” {a sonnet written in 1883 and on a bronze plaque in the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty; placed in 1903.}  

Give me your tired, your poor. Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me. I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

THE VOICES: Those yearning to breathe free then and now—one-hundred and eleven years later—shall not be silenced. For once a lamp is lit its glimmer is cast for all time. 

“STORY ITSELF…”

Janet's logo textStory is a word that means chronicle, narrative, legend, fable etc. But Story Itself, well that’s different. How do I know? My clients taught me. What my clients continue to teach is that each voice is a powerful tool. And, that each human being has a unique memory voice that does not change over time. It just rests in the ether of silence; that is, unless someone inquires.

The ITSELF cadence of a STORY looks something like this…

  • At the beginning of an interview client voices are quiet, unsure and falter between thoughts. But once they trust their individual cadence they never waiver.
  • The pace of how a client breathes between words discloses their unique speaking voice.
  • The easiest disclosures are about what they love, who they love and why they love.
  • How they love is revealed in a pause between words or a subtle deep breath.
  • I feel their disappointments that rest in the tone of their voice and the pace of their telling.
  • Their choice of word informs me that they are happy, afraid, joyous or sorrowful.
  • When quieting their speaking voice they are about to reveal a secret.
  • To laugh aloud at their own words means they just learned something about themselves.
  • Regrets are never given freely; but, a long-held breath or a deep sigh says it all.
  • Hope, on the other hand, is expressed fully and genuinely.
  • I’ve learned to listen closely to inflections and word choice. These reveal intention.
  • During transcription there are deep sighs, long pauses and even dead space. Sometimes I can garner a meaning; but most often the space is for their remembering. 
  • All clients say: “…my life was just so ordinary.” But, their intonation in speaking these words begins, maybe for the first time ever, to cause them to wonder what ordinary really means.

“THE IMMIGRANT PORCH…”

immigrants

The Ship Hector Ledger, 1773

Inevitably, spring arrived and the warmth of the sun brought forth new life. As people worked together, communities formed and began to prosper, creating new opportunities for the future generations to come.

Stories—lived or told—of yesterday’s immigrant porches are of generational gathering places where the past and the present were inseparable: an assembled sense of place.

My mind’s eye recollects a childhood in Corazon de Trinidad (Heart of Trinidad) where Italian and English emigrants gathered on our concrete porch. The elders rocked in wooden chairs and talked quietly (not always) in their native tongue. The women, in turn, exited a squeaky screen door near the kitchen: a warning to every wayward child that the guards were on duty. The men—their hands stained yellow with nicotine—leaned against the two red brick pillars that supported the porch or sat on the four crumbling concrete stairs that led to the front door. It was here they verbally wrestled one another—sometimes all at once—over the politics at the coal fields where they worked.  

Me… Well at seven I finally left the security of those red pillars wearing new tap shoes that clicked and clacked as I danced down the four concrete stairs and onto the red brick that lined our streets. My mother had determined: “Tap lessons might just cure your shyness.”

Today, black-and-white photographs suspend my immigrant family in time without end. And yet, to this day, I measure my sovereignty by the immigrant voices on our porch.

So I ask: “Might we, in some way, find our Immigrant Porch once again in the integration of family and values somehow lost as we all tapped away from our past?”

“MEMORIES…”

typewriter_legswtypewriter_sample_img_2The characters in my novel, “The Wedding Garden” (in process) tolerate and grace me with the arduous task of introducing their memories to a public stage. They did this freely and with intent; arriving in a group where I had to overcome a whole host of voices speaking at the same time. This felt, to me, like some life-force had finally freed them from their ether of silence. And, I knew, somewhere in my memory, it was their time to be heard.

Early this morning, this blog came to me as easily as the name: Rose Eva Thistle. She is the centerpiece memory in the novel—the glue needed to hold together the storyline. That mix together of the characters: like the idea of Six Degrees of Separation.

My experience of writing the memories of others (those of the past or the now) is said best by William Faulkner in Requiem for a Nun: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

“IT’S SUNDAY AND…”

In the heart of myself I ask this question: “Where is my Church of Place?

The God in each of us speaks many languages, holds many traditions and hears many voices that call to Him in their joy and sorrow. There are and always have been wars fought in the name of ideology. Yet, ne’er a whisper it was ever about God! So, I ask myself: “Now why is that?”

The question that rises immediately from the impossible to explain: “Why would we fight against the THAT that is US?”

Whatever and wherever Church of Place is for each of us, let us pray that God’s Prayers will always cover the whole of mankind.