This September I am revisiting journal writing from the past to see what it has to say to me – and you – today. Tomorrow’s entry will include a reflection on Joan Didion’s famous essay about keeping a writing notebook, a practice I keep as well.
Below is a snippet from my journal in May, 2012. The simplicity, brevity and honesty ring true. then and now. The other irony is not much has changed. Oh – one note of preface. Sometimes I write poems in the third person that are about me.
Sometimes I write poems in the third person that are not about me.
Sometimes I write poetry in the first person that have nothing to do with me (I am trying on a new voice.) Sometimes I write confessional poetry in the first person.
This particular prose poem includes the she as me.
She made it seem like what she wanted was a Denny’s grand slam.
It appeared she was seeking pancakes, eggs, sausage and one other…. more likely than not unhealthy breakfast item.
That wasn’t it at all, though, to the careful observer would realize what she wanted was time, attention, affection.
Perhaps even to be thought of first, before anyone or anything else.
Perhaps that was too much to ask.
Perhaps her oft-recited self talk was right: she clearly didn’t deserve time, attention, affection.
She retreated into the darkness of silence.
Reminded herself asking for what she wanted was dangerous.
She didn’t turn any lights on as she changed into her familiar cotton nightgown.
The sheets, at least, welcomed her.
And next, five minutes today to reflect on the journal from six years ago to see what it has to teach me. This writing is stream of consciousness style which means no editing, no forethought, no planning. Typos are embraced, grammatical faux pas are part of the process.
I post raw and return, later.
Being heard and receiving a response to what I have spoken is something I value highly, right up there with showing up.
Showing up and listening and reflecting to me what you heard me say will earn you a life long friend.
I will go out for something as simple as a Denny’s breakfast special or a Starbucks cup of coffee or a walk around the block if I will be gifted conversation that feels significant an honoring.
Last week I went to a doctor who listened to me.
The third specialist I tried after two who obviously didn’t listen to what I said from their responses. They went to medical school to type into forms on a computer and barely make eye contact or connect at all with their patients.
This doctor listened, reflected and even made a different assessment than any other doctor has, perhaps a life altering assessment.
She wasn’t warm and fuzzy and I didn’t wish we could go out for dinner or become facebook friends or swap Instagram images but she listened to me.
Why is this extraordinary?
It ought not to be and it wouldn’t be if together we chose to listen to one another. Earlier today I was in a shop buying groceries. I had my eyes down and passed the clerk the payment and was ready to take the change, turn and leave without even thinking of the person making the exchange with me.
I lifted my face. I looked into his eyes and said, “Thank you. I hope the rest of your day goes well.” I waited until he responded to what I said and made sure he felt heard by my face, my eyes, my posture and my head, nodding in the affirmative.
It is so simple. Show up, look up, love one another by simply listening.
We are proud to announce our New Women’s Circle is open for registrations. The link below will take you there.