It is a delicate thing, this gathering of spirits, this communal bloodletting on paper. It takes a degree of trust… in yourself, in the kindness of others, in the words that spill from the pen. That is the ultimate trusting – in the words. That they know the way as they eke out the DNA of a life – yours or another’s, real or imagined, 10 words or 10,000. It is a cautious thing, a playful thing, ridiculous and bold.
Tonight is one of those nights when the wind howls through the alley, whips around corners. Those nights when it insinuates itself into our writing, intrudes on our quiet, and makes itself known…in memories of wind or disruption, in poems of longing, in complaints. The wind complains tonight because it is left outside, because it writes with leaves and branches, because so few read its tales.
And there, amidst the howling, is a tune. Is it a flute or another reed instrument? The wind growls less, or growls in counterpoint. Has some daft soul set out to tame the wind? To jam with it? To calm it down or call it home?
And chords, just one, amidst the howling. And thoughts – just now – amidst the writing. This is how we intrude on one another – man and wind, wind and woman, wind and worry. I wonder what worries the wind.
Tonight, the word deck offered up trust. And the key question: What can I trust?
I trust words, the ones we pull and the ones that follow. I trust that which is in me, driving the words. I trust its wisdom and its rhythm. I trust that, given safe space and time, stories will claim their place. I trust my students to be kind. And I trust the delicate dance of four writers, four notebooks, four pens, and three words. As loud as the wind gets, as much as sound amplifies in the alley – sounds strange and new – four heads bow, four pens scratch, and the words come slyly, shyly, with abandon, however they come, with a life of their own, filling the page, bleeding across the page, until the timer rings.