these women

I am fortunate to have many people who encourage and inspire me. Sometimes I hesitate to write about a few because of the automatic result of leaving others out. This isn’t a post intended to exclude, but to honor these women, who after dinner went for a walk and spent time, unrushed time, just talking and listening and laughing and crying.

I share unabashedly in my writing. I write from my heart. I write raw and real. However, in person, I’d much rather listen than talk. I’d much rather let someone else’s story wrap around my heart than being the one in the light, which, perhaps, seems completely ironic given that my word for the year is shine. I supposed, I prefer to shine quietly.

These women, Linda (far left), Ramona (peach shirt), Elsie (red sweater), and Christy (far right), gave me the gift of gentle listening. They waited for me to talk. They waited for me to say the things I didn’t want to say, the things I was afraid to say, the things I didn’t even want to admit I was feeling. It was an incredible gift, a gift of friendship and story, and one I needed more than I knew.

This is what I mean when I say writing always gives more than it takes.

Because we write, we were connected before we even met. Then, through meeting, the writing kept giving. Through them, I found pieces of me. I understand myself more. I trust myself more. I believe in myself more. All of this by meeting once?

Yes. (And no.) All of this because we write and then met.

This is the power of writing.  Our words weave together, creating a web of relationships, which makes the world a better place. Meeting in person is simply the icing on the cake. I hope you join us by writing some words too. Joining Slice of Life at Two Writing Teachers is a great place to begin!

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  1. This was a conversation I had several times last week…how people you have never met are friends. But if you are part of a community, you are connected whether you have met face to face or not. I love the picture of you all–feel like I should print it off and frame it!

  2. We missed you! I'm glad you had a good time at “the other” conference. Someday you and I will stand shoulder to shoulder in a photo!

  3. Ruth, this is a beautiful tribute to a lovely group of ladies. What a fantastic experience this conference was for everyone!

  4. You amaze me with your words and insights. I feel honored to have been there listening as you shared thoughts and feelings. The connection was immediate because of the writing. You have encouraged me to tell my story, notice life, and think more deeply. I write because you invited me in. Thank you.

  5. And thank you for a particularly special several hours, Ruth. I really do believe that our words make that bridge, and I enjoyed each small moment of our times together. I wrote one line in my post, and I will write it here too, just think how sharing words will build such strong relationships in our classrooms! We have just lived the proof!

  6. Oh dear. Next year I want icing on my cake. I would love to come to the conference. To meet real people who I have come to love from reading their writing.

  7. There is something about the ease and pace of that evening that I want to hold onto. It just never ceases to amaze me the way relationships are already so layered through our writing before we even meet face to face (or shoulder to shoulder–I liked the way that sounded in your reply to Deb). Thank you for the incredible gift of friendship and writing (both of which give much more than they take).

  8. Yes I have experienced this with meeting Elsie in person and almost feel like I was there through the generous comments written today about that special experience. You(and Stacey) are dear to our hearts because you made a place for us, this community to be. Writing is not only good for us it boomerangs back with such precious gifts!

  9. Ruth, as I have been reading all the reflections, that was my take-away as well. One after the other, the word that continued to come to mind was connection. The connections have been made through this writing community and then strengthened and renewed when meeting in real life. I think, too, we learn so much more about each other because we are more giving of our words in print — I say with hesitation because at first we need that gentle push to write and share our stories, but eventually, those flood gates open up, don't they? Then our words tell more than we ever thought! These relationships are exactly the ones we need to create in our classrooms to allow our students to grow and learn and take-risks with comfort and support. Just as you and Stacey have done with the TWT community. Loved hearing your thoughts today as well.

    My mom and I look forward to meeting Elsie tomorrow. My first real-life slice meet up! One day, I hope to meet you too!

  10. I have been reading the slices about the slicer meetings. I keep smiling, because there are so many happy people. You and Stacy are leaders of an awesome community where we have both the gift of speaking/writing and the gift of listening/reading from the heart.

  11. Yes, it is such a great way to begin. I'm so glad that the girls gave a listen and that wait time. In our day to day pace, I don't do it enough…that caring act of listening. What a fabulous, wonderful gift. That was probably happening when I got lost on the south side…but wow my trip, meeting everyone was just the best!!! xo

  12. How wonderful! I love the amazing power of the community that you and Stacey created here — it's truly incredible! (I'm super jealous that I didn't get to go to All Write with all of you, but I've been loving my local Writing Project Summer Institute!) I know I was positively giddy when I got to meet you briefly last year at the Dublin Lit Conference, and I hope I'll get to meet some more slicers someday! We really have something special going here. Thank you for inspiring all of us with your words and giving us the courage to share ours! 🙂

  13. The joy of sharing and listening is so encouraging. I'm glad you had time to relax with friends. And you are right, writing does give back to us! Thanks for being our friend. :)Mary Helen

  14. I love that I didn't know this even happened, and yet reading your slice today, I am filled with so much gratitude for this community to which we belong. All of the women in that picture are beautiful in spirit and in words. I'm so glad you were brought out of your comfort zone to share things that needed to be said. What an incredible gift they gave you, and you gave them as well.

  15. It was a special evening. How lucky I felt to linger with you and these dear friends. Thank you for this place where “our words weave together, creating a web of relationships, which makes the world a better place.” I am blessed to have found this community, and I owe it all to my students who encouraged me to slice on TWT.