It’s been a year + …

… since I’ve posted a blog. My silence due to a combination of overwhelm logistically, personally, professionally, with a dollop of self-doubt on all fronts.

My last post, about being kind to ourselves and giving ourselves permission to disengage from situations and individuals that damage us, received an ugly anonymous response (I don’t allow anonymous and/or hate-full comments). Since then, I’ve heard that some experience my reflections about my difficult experiences as “white woman tears” and thus not worth considering.

And I bought into that. I thought: I’m a person of privileged social, economic and educational class. I don’t really suffer. I don’t have anything to offer to the unfolding bedlam. I put my head down, finished my MFA, quit blogging here, and prioritized family and personal matters.

That withdrawal put me back in a headset that I’ll call “juvenile,” reflecting that stage of development when we have inklings of our gifts, but not much mastery over them, or power in the world.

Reading Women

As when I was an actual juvenile, chronologically, I’ve spent a lot of this withdrawal reading. Muriel Spark and Zora Neale Hurston and Mavis Gallant; Deborah Levy and Penelope Fitzgerald and Zadie Smith. All writers who happened to be women, all writing despite bedlam of various degrees, all writers who tell Truth and truth.

I’ve been reminded by their Truth and truth that it’s not what others think that’s important, it’s the showing-up-and-writing that’s important. Maybe my stories will be meaningful, maybe they won’t; maybe they’ll be beautiful, maybe they won’t. But it’s not for me to say: it’s for me to write and publish.

Why have I needed to go through this cycle of self-doubt and -awareness, again? I don’t know. I wish it didn’t suck up so much of my time. But it has, and so far as I can tell, there’s nothing to be gained by lamenting what has been.

So I’m taking my own advice and sitting down and writing. Trusting the stories will show up if I do. Remembering these words from Alexandra Stoddard (note hole at the top: I’ve pinned this card to many bulletin boards in front of many writing desks):

Slow down calm down

May it be so.

17 responses to “It’s been a year + …

  1. Lesley,

    Welcome back!

    Your words were exactly what I needed today. I’m going to print out that quote for my writing desk as well.

    Also, these discussions of privilege are getting out of hand. EVERYONE has a story and life experience to share. We need to stop promoting under represented voices by silencing others. Keep speaking your truth! You make such a difference in my life journey.

    Hillary

    On Mon, Feb 11, 2019, 4:07 PM the Art of Practice wrote:

    > Lesley Howard posted: “… since I’ve posted a blog. My silence due to a > combination of overwhelm logistically, personally, professionally, with a > dollop of self-doubt on all fronts. My last post, about being kind to > ourselves and giving ourselves permission to disengage from ” >

    • Thanks, Hillary. I’m glad I’ve been of service to you, and that you are writing regularly–your stories are important!

  2. A total delight to see your name show up in my inbox. I value your work and your contribution to my work. Please keep going as you are able.

  3. Hey, there, Leslie. Nice to see you back. It appears this past year (for me it’s been two years) of withdrawal was what we needed in some way or another. I’m inching back into the world of social relationships abet somewhat cautiously. Maybe all of us need to take a break from time to time. J.

    • Janet: YES to the cycle of engage-withdraw, and using caution aka wisdom in how we interact with social relationships/media. I hope my next withdrawal is considered and deliberate rather than reactionary 🙂 Looking forward to your next post!

  4. Space to breathe and focus are often the catalyst for what is to unfold in our lives. I am glad to see you back.

  5. Thanks very much for coming back. I look forward to reading you more.

    • I appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment–it warms my heart and feeds the “good” neighborhood of my brain!

  6. Your stories matter.

    We all suffer in different ways.

    When you’re on a true quest, agency matters.

    I’m glad you’re back.

    Big love,

    Jeffrey

  7. So good to hear from you. I get it! As long as you keep reading I promise you will be fine.

  8. Always lovely to read your words. Some years you may just need to live. I believe this may have been one of those for you!

  9. Dear Lesley,
    Your words touched my heart, your reason to retreat for a year inspired a cascade of emotions including wanting to give some anonymous hate-spewer a piece of my mind. But those wouldn’t be kind words, and they would run counter to what you are striving to spread. Just this morning, struggling in church with an unfamiliar hymn, my memories suddenly shot back in time fifty plus years to a fifth grade teacher making a cruel remark about my attempt to sing a solo. Why does that stuff stick with us? Then I shudder to consider, have I ever made a remark so critical that it dammed another’s creative flow? How unconsciously we can tread across others’ psyches, not considering the power of our own words.
    You have pondered the impacts of words and how they can stick with us, with wisdom and insight. Your own words: “there’s nothing to be gained by lamenting what has been”, bring re-direction to what is possible and that to be true to ourselves we often need to let of what others may think about our own truth.

    I am glad to be reconnected to your blog and to your new site, and I look forward to reading your words and your stories far into the future.
    Earle

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