Natalie Goldberg has a section in her book “Long Quiet Highway” about the role writing played in her journey to “waking up in America” as she put it.
“Writing became the tool I used to digest my life and to understand, finally, the grace, the gratitude I could feel, not because everything was hunky-dory, but because we can use everything we are. Actually we have no choice. We can’t use what someone else had – a great teacher, a terrific childhood. That is outside ourselves. And we can’t avoid an inch of our own experience; if we do it causes a blur, a bleep, a puffy unreality. Our job is to wake up to everything, because if we slow down enough, we see we are everything.”
We have been forced to slow down now, so we can see we are everything. We can no longer hide behind words that do not tell the truth. Peter Guber in the Harvard Business Review of December 2007 wrote of “the crucial importance of truth as an attribute of both the powerful story and the effective storyteller.” Peter Guber is Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment, and author of “Tell to Win” where he shows how to move beyond soulless facts, and figures to create purposeful stories that can serve as powerful calls to action. Among his techniques are the words: “motivate your listeners by demonstrating authenticity.” Encourage people by telling the truth, but what is truth? In this time of fear and confusion we can easily lose trust in truth and become discouraged so that we deny ourselves and others. That denial becomes a death by fear.
As writers I believe we can express the truth. Past FAWQ President, Poet and Journalist, James Devaney called writers the “torch-bearers.” In these dark times of exclusion and isolation, we need that light more than ever. I would encourage all of you reading this to open your heart in your writing and share the truths you are discovering in our time of reflection. Our website has the facility to enable all members to easily share their writing. Bear the torch of truth and encourage the connection that will help us see a better future. Jim Higgins