“Find a place inside where there’s joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
— Joseph Campbell
Happy Holidays! Celebrating a Year of Joy
Each year, I pick a word or phrase that carries me through the year—as many of us do. This year, I was surprised when the card I drew to determine my special word was blank. Through poetry, the phrase, “bountiful opportunities for joy” emerged.
Indeed, in my writing circles, I’ve experienced that over and over again. It’s been a joy to hear the words of so many women (and more than a few men) share their stories and acknowledge their lived experience throughout the year. I held circles with doctors and nurses, poets, memoir writers, incarcerated women, neighbors, leaders and change agents, women writing through transition, immigrants, artists, hikers, library visitors, cancer and sexual abuse survivors, and many, many more.
‘Joy and woe are woven fine’
In all of that, I found the joy linked inextricably to sorrow. As the poet William Blake reminds us: “Joy and woe are woven fine.” Each circle was an opportunity to unmask our true selves—an act of courage—and sometimes, tears followed. But such is life lived more fully, consciously, vulnerably. It is how we access joy and create more conscious community.
“Then a woman said, “Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.”
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.”
I’m so grateful, each year, to do this work, to hear writers young and old refine their craft, develop new stories, and expose their truths. It’s vulnerable, but it’s real. It’s how we connect. As one of the folks in my Happiness Project group once said: “People respect you for your strengths, but they love you for your vulnerabilities.”
I hope to see you in a circle next year! We’re planning all kinds of wonderful things activities. As we enter this season of contemplation and reflection, I do hope you’ll consider bringing your own words, your joys and sorrows, and your vulnerability to us in the coming year. We’ll be here to welcome you.
Happy holidays to all.
Owner, Women Writing for (a) Change, Jacksonville
- Wednesday, January 24, 6 p.m.: Spring Sampler 2018: The Memoir Project, focusing on writing the stories of our lives (although writing of all genres is welcome).
- Friday, January 26, 12-1 p.m.: Fourth Fridays at the Main Library, in the Jax Makerspace
- Wednesday, January 31, 6:00 p.m.: Spring Series 2018; The Memoir Project, a 12-week series ending April 18, focusing on memoir as a theme but welcoming all types of writers and writing.
- Friday, January 5, 5:30- 7 p.m.: Party with the Riverside POETS group and soft opening of our latest art show, Truthtellers: Telling the Stories of Women’s Lives, featuring local women artists Erin Kendrick, Debbie Pounders, Sylvi Herrick, and Deborah Reid.
- Friday, January 12, 5- 8 p.m.: Opening Reception, 1st Things 1st, The 1st Amendment Show, featuring First Coast artists with readings by members of Women Writing for (a) Change.
- Sunday, January 14, 6-8 p.m., Jane Austen Book Club, hosted by Women Writing for (a) Change.
- Friday, January 26, 5:30-8 p.m.: Artist Reception for Truthtellers: Telling the Stories of Women’s Lives, including presentations by the artists on their work.
SAVE THE DATE!
- Saturday, Feb. 3, 8-12 noon: Generation Works, a women-led all-volunteer initiative to transform Jacksonville! Let’s meet for the opening at Unity Plaza and disperse to do good everywhere! Organized by Donna Orender and the Generation W team. Register here.
- Sunday, February 11, 4- 7:30 p.m: Women’s Trivia Night at Moon River Pizza in Murray Hill. Sponsored by Women’s March Jacksonville. Let’s create our own trivia team! Register here.
- Friday, February 16, 8 p.m., comedienne and author Paula Poundstone at the Florida Theater. Details and tickets here. Dinner beforehand at 6 p.m. at Super Food and Brew.