I do not remember a time before words. Perhaps no one does. It is words that help us construct our reality. Why else would Eskimos have 32 words for snow when I can only think of 4 related terms: snow, flurries, blizzard, freezing rain. (All of which, by the way, make my blood turn cold just typing them. I'm a hotter-the-better kind of gal and will use my down comforter into May.) Words tell us what is important. Words help us make meaning.
Words (written, not spoken) and stories were my solace growing up. My family was on the extreme end of the dysfunctional continuum. I learned to be seen and not heard. It was infinitely safer that way -- physically, emotionally. But the words poured out of me on every scrap of paper. At night, when things were scariest, I put myself to sleep by making up stories.
At 10 I got my favorite Christmas present -- a little blue typewriter. Christmas day I pecked out my version of the Christmas story on it. Then my sister and I began to write and write and write. The stories were always the same at heart: children who banded together to form families when their own were dangerous or torn away, children who overcame odds, children who ultimately found safety.
In high school we got a computer with the REAL floppy disks. Together my sister and I constructed our own world. She would write a section. I would respond by writing a section. We wrote three single spaced works each totaling about 300 printed pages. We couldn't talk about all that was going on in "real time." We could "talk" about it in these strange narratives.
So, words have always been part of my life. They have been a sanctuary of sorts -- a place to find safety. As I've gone along, I've continued to write. And then to speak. And over the last two years to blog. As I've opened myself up, things have blossomed and I've discovered that my writing is not just for me but that it is also a sanctuary for others.
And I am reminded of the power of the Word: to create, to heal, to give life.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. (John 1:1-3)
What I've learned about the Word from P31 has refreshed my soul and healed me in deep places. As I've continued to relate to them through reading blogs and such, they have even influenced me to start to run. (The operative word is start.) She Speaks, P31, is a place of safety where God can whisper your name and that you are deeply loved. Yes, the information is wonderful and helpful, but it is so much more than that.
I have gone to She Speaks twice now: once as a writer and once as a speaker. I feel somewhat selfish posting for a scholarship. (Click here for Scholarship contest info).I had planned on funding my way and worked the last year to try to do that. A car repair, miscellaneous mishaps, and finally an unrepairable broken refrigerator have put funding it all myself out of reach. I am living without a cushion.
I had hoped to go and go early. I talked to LeAnn Rice about coming in early and helping out. She warned me that none of it would be glamorous work -- more moving things, fixing tables, unpacking books -- scutt work. But I didn't care about that. I wanted to give something back since I've gotten so much my attending.
If you can go to She Speaks -- go. Don't hesitate. There is an abundance of blessings awaiting you there. If I go or not, I will be praying. If you read this and are going, please leave a prayer request below. I will print it out and pray for you as you prepare to go or, if you are a P31 person, as you serve.
If you just want to know about my experience at She Speaks there are three posts you can click on: one (She Speaks, God Delights), two (I Hope You Dance), and three (The Whimsical Side of She Speaks).