Are You Shining Your Light as a Woman Writer?
By Susan Tiberghien
We are women writing to the world. And today we are called upon to write through the darkness of the coronavirus to the light of tomorrow.
Let’s remember Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ words to a young activist after 9/11. “One of the most calming and powerful actions you can do to intervene in a stormy world is to stand up and show your soul. Soul on deck shines like gold in dark times.”
Today the stormy world has darkened tenfold. How can we stand up on deck and shine? I asked this question to my breakfast candle this morning. I spoke to it. Tell me candle, how can I shine today. It was a simple question. I closed my eyes and waited. The candle told me to keep it lit, to nourish the flame. How? I asked. Again, I waited. With acts of love, it replied.
Each act of love lights a candle. Our words are acts of love, whether they be in our journals, in our fiction or nonfiction, in our poems or in our blogs and op-eds. We can go into the dark, into the storm, and find our stories. Each story is an act of love, shining on deck.
I found a story this morning about my candle. A story has three parts. A beginning, someone wants something. I wanted to shine in the darkness of the confinement. A middle part, a struggle. I had to close my eyes and speak to my candle. I had to wait for an answer. And a third part, an epiphany, a transformation. I started to shine in sharing this story with you.
We are stories. When we write in our journals, we are writing stories. We are describing experiences which lead us forward. So it is when we write our stories in our pages of fiction or nonfiction, in our novels or memoirs, in our poems. And we share them in our blogs and op-eds and letters to the editor.
We share them also in our email messages. When I write an email to a friend about watching a tulip open, I am sharing a story. It was on my walk yesterday. The tulip was in the middle of a glorious flower bed on the side of the road. One squat red tulip. It caught my gaze. I too wanted to open like the tulip to the light. I wrote this to my friend. A story in an email.
These are our stories. We hold them up and they radiate. Our stories are exponential. They create circles of light. The circles of light touch one another. Together they lighten the sky.
This is what happens when we write together. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of candles lightening the dark. Each of us casts a circle of light with our words. In writing to the world, we open the way to the light of tomorrow. We can do this.
Please join us for the four-week webinar, Women Writing to the World, April 21, April 28, May 5, and May 12.
Susan Tiberghien is an American writer living in Geneva, Switzerland. For close to 30 years she has taught creative writing at IWWG, C.G. Jung Societies, and writers’ centers, both in the U.S. and in Europe.
She is the author of four memoirs and the acclaimed One Year to a Writing Life. Her two recent books, Writing Toward Wholeness and Circling to the Center were published by Chiron, 2018 and 2019. She has recorded three online courses, available at the Jung Society of Washington. An active member of International PEN, Susan founded and directed the Geneva Writers’ Group (200 members) for 25 years. www.susantiberghien.com