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  • Sometimes, I forget the mysterious beauty of this community as it weaves us into one another’s world with a boundless generosity of spirit. Lately, I’ve struggled to find my inner “story whisperer” enticing the tale onto the page. Rather than wandering through the mists of memory dismissing the illusion of destination, I’ve been the master builder, moving words around like cement blocks, focused on the facts. I took a break and then I did what you courageous, gifted and inspiring tellers have taught me through example. I put words down and hit send. There was no big AHA moment, no shiny shimmering as my writer’s block magically disappeared into the ether. It was as the title of my story described it, the husk of a seed. Like a child who must finish her homework before she’s allowed outside to play, I remained at my desk making marks on the paper, hoping to pass the corrections of a discerning parent before the descending sun dims and my friends drift home. Then, burdened or blessed with a writer’s ego, I noticed my Cowbird mentors were loving the husk. I’m not to sure they loved the story as much as they were supporting my effort. And Retells started to appear. I never used the Retell feature before but I’ll be ever grateful to the Cowbird team as it opened up a deep well of renewal.

    “I believe in you..Some days the inner doubt sounds like the clanking pipes of an old radiator, about to blow, or a malfunctioning engine room in a submarine where, if it blows, you are full fathom five. Those noises stopped me cold for years. An ice age ensued...Have your self-doubt sit in the corner facing the wall until she behaves...You will have a knot in your stomach. But the idea is not to get rid of the stomach knot, but to become familiar with it. 'Ah, yes, there goes that feeling again...Your work was important to me. Write on!...We're here, our arms are open...” And putting all the wisdom of experience in perspective with a broad smile and a gentle reminder not to take myself to seriously - “Keep sharing and writing. Your work and story have kept me keeping on. The spark you save could be my own. Selfishly, Tony”

    I’ve attended my share of writer’s workshops and master classes. I’ve participated in writer’s groups and listened to the supportive but less than useful comments (and occasional threats) of friends and family. I’ve learned the difference between brutal honesty and constructive criticism from experts and professionals. No where, however, have I experienced such a reverence and respect for the unique beauty of individual experience that makes artistic expression not only possible but necessary. There is a wisdom in this community that intuitively nourishes and nurtures souls through the dry spots on the journey. Sometimes noble, sometimes snarky, most often clumsy but always well meaning.

    Thank you all encouraging me to have faith in my writing. Thank you for helping me to hone my skills through your examples. But most of all, thank you for reminding me that the worth is not in the words that wrap the story but in the spirit that gave it life and the willingness to share it.

    Now I’m off. I’ve memories to make and stories to tell.
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