Reflections on Saturday’s Poetry Workshop with Joanne Diaz.
love is a place
& through this place of
(with brightness of peace)
yes is a world
& in this world of
–from love is a place by ee comings
Yes. Why not say yes? The whole world says no. So the morning began in Joanne Diaz’s own words, as the poet and professor responded simply to a poem shared by a GCC writer.
Of course we all know love is more than a feeling, as the song goes. Saturday it was a place. A place I scarcely wanted to leave. A place for which I have a key, both literally and figuratively. (But more on that in another post.)
It was also a person. Waiting for us in an unfamiliar space. It was a new friend, for some of us a new favorite poet; it was poetry and promise and adjective and action.
It was thick and alive and it is still speaking, still singing, still dreaming. I know this because I have been writing, others have been writing (and sharing with me) for days. And even though its been a week where I don’t have the time or the quiet or the right pen at the right moment, it still amazes me what Love can do, what it can change, how it can change me in less than two hours. Sometimes in less than two minutes. Funny how a full heart makes way for a full page.
Gathering in a studio loft in the city around a poet with people I respect and admire was simply divine. We related, revealed more of the creativity deep within us, and resourced desire (in this case to write) in a practical way. Who knew scraps of paper with uninspiring places written on them could be so, well…INSPIRING. You wouldn’t believe what came out of us. (We didn’t.)
The two hours are still a bit of a mystery to me—how fast they fled and yet how deeply they affected me and others around me. We ended the morning with poems declaring, “Give me back…” giving voice to desires to reclaim, restore, and in some cases revive dreams that have been hidden, silenced or stolen.
We saw with new eyes, spoke with new tongues (I can really put those adjectives together???) and wrote our hearts out in response to the freedom focus brings.
We uncovered underlying tensions that surprised us, even in the most familiar of places—junkyards, museum gift shops, and the like. We found the courage to believe—that we belonged there, that we have something to say, to write, that we have a voice with which to share it, and an audience cheering us on with yes, yes, yes!
If, as Ian said last week, faith needs a word to respond to, well, faith is pretty busy at the minute with the hopes, dreams and declarations of our writers. And faith’s reply might shock you, because despite the varying sizes of the dreamer’s dreams, faith seemed undaunted on Saturday, seemed always eager to answer with Y-E-S… and looks to us for even the slightest nod in response. Live a life of yes. Why not?
You’ll come and play with us next time, yes?
A brief sampling of thoughts from those who joined us:
It was really impactful to be in a room of (our) writers. It created a safe but forward moving place of pushing into the process while knowing there wasn’t ego or judgment, only support and encouragement. There were moments, because of the joyful atmosphere with the Holy Spirit, that fear was broken off concerning getting words on paper. There were a few moments when we all felt it… something once palpable just breaking off. Tears came with that, quickly and simply, a clean break.
Ms. Diaz is a powerful encourager and cultivator of words. My favorite thing she said after sighing, “yes” to someone’s shared poem, was “Why not say yes? The whole world says no.” It was like God was giving me an allusion, in this meeting with him, to one of my favorite e.e. cummings poems, “yes is a world.” –Megan P.
…she proved you don’t need 6 hours of uninterrupted silence in order to write.
I was impressed with what came out of me. Feeling tired and uninspired, I somehow found myself intrigued by the concept of a junkyard….who knew this could be possible! –Dana C.
Give me back the lofty ideals of painterly whims
Abstract in thought expressionless swims
Through an avant garde decade
Full of expatriates and movements well laid.