Those Invisible, Hidden, Important Truths

IMG_0068There’s a circle of women, heads bent down to their journals, pens in hand. Each writer is navigating her own way of living an examined life and finding the words with which to gain understanding, to make something tangible and, maybe, beautiful of her days. Sitting down, out of the bustle of the day, she can discover the stories and poems located in the mix between experience and memory, mind and heart, imagination and language, and longing, oh, yes, longing. Where is the story I am living? Ah, yes, here it is, in this word and that brought together for the first time, here. Now.


How does what happened ten years ago connect to that which occurred just yesterday? What of the boy she can’t forget? What of the way those trees brushed against that window in that tiny cabin? The day gone but not gone. Our pens release their ribbons of ink in the notebooks we hold on our laps.

This particular group is comprised of women who are in their 40’s, 50’s, 60’s, and one woman who will turn 80 next week. One writer has long hair and bangs that touch her eyebrows. Another has a laugh that’s chest deep and rumbles. One writer’s face is brown; the woman on the couch is fair. This writer rents her mountaintop home; another owns the house she lived in with her husband for many years and lives there still though he has died.

Here’s what never stops startling me; time and time again, through all the years I’ve offered writing workshops: the hidden, invisible, important truths that the paper will accept when we write them down. One person tells of her child who died at the age of three, recalling the smallest things about her toddler-hood, how 40 years ago, she ran so fast on such chubby legs. The daughter may be gone, but not really, she lives in a writer’s memory and story. Another writer’s voice breaks at the mention of her son who’s lived through 4 deployments to the Middle East. Someone writes of alcoholism. IMG_3906

Within all of us, there are stories of the difficulties we’ve had to work through, the sorrows we live with. How little the face may convey and how much the stories will. Then, once told, once the paper holds our truths, they live more lightly in us, making the ways of our lives a bit easier, a bit less weighted, more room for magic and beauty to get in.

8 thoughts on “Those Invisible, Hidden, Important Truths

  1. Oh, Patrice…you’ve captured it. It’s why I come & go to your writing workshops. It’s why I’ve missed you and the “writing women” while I’ve been away. It’s a place where once in a while I find “the story I am living.” Thank you.

  2. Dear Patrice,
    It always seems to me that you are your most powerful and tender when you write about writers and the essential revelatory and healing nature of writing.
    Like kale—-we all need writing or some form of creative self-expression to stay healthy!
    Thank you for shining the light on the tribe of writers who make their pilgramages daily to the paper, who create sacred ceremony with pen in hand, who face darkness with the hope and faith in discovering truth and healing and, ultimately, peace.

    1. So well said… Thank you both – I am re- inspired to sit with paper and ink- and make time for this essential process.

  3. Thank you, Patrice….how very important and true you and your words are!! I am not sure I would compare them to kale……one never know what the latest food item/drink will be for improving health, but regardless……writing can be healing. Here is part of a poem for you, speaking of our memories ,from a poet I just discovered;

    When the last weariness
    comes upon me
    I will go to my village
    to kneel among
    the roses in the square,
    the hoops of the children
    and the silken fringes of shawls.

    Ramon Lopez Velarde (1888 – 1921)

  4. Patrice, My gratitude to you for getting to the heart of things. This is truly an inspirational piece of writing, encouraging me to sit down, exploring my thoughts, and putting them to paper.


  5. How beautifully you expressed why we all come to you. I have found memories I thought I lost and words I never thought I had. Thanks you!

  6. Thank you, Patrice. I will find my way back to your writing workshops. Your description above is beautiful.

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