With Gratitude

Photo by Meghan Schiereck / Unsplash

I’m fortunate and grateful to belong to two groups of wonderful writing women. Each of the groups have been together for over sixteen years. We meet monthly, usually exchanging prompts beforehand and we encourage each other in our writing endeavors. Over the years, as we’ve shared our stories and life challenges, long-lasting friendships have formed.

This past Sunday afternoon, the larger of the two groups gathered around an outside table at a local café. The weather couldn’t have been better. It was surprisingly warm (but not too warm for hot cocoa!) as we settled in with our notebooks. Each time, before we get down to what we’ve written, there’s always catching up to do.

One of the women at the table mentioned that she’s recently been attending a weekly session that brings seniors together to kvetch. Their facilitator suggests they reflect on their experiences by considering a rose or a thorn. I love that idea. It’s a great way to be alert to, and mindful of, even the smallest positive things that happen in our busy lives.

Another person in the group remembered once hearing that if everyone wrote down their problems and the slips of paper were all put into a bowl in the middle of the table to be drawn at random, it’s very likely each person would want to have their own problems back.

Around the table we go, talking about recent trips, plans for the holidays, musical gigs, the search for a new home and the like. Then we share what we’ve written—in response to one of the prompts or otherwise—by reading aloud. Each voice, on and off the page, is unique. This is where the magic is. As I post this, I’m still holding those pieces in my head: a heart touched by the exuberant chatter of a seven-year-old, a walk on the beach with a stranger and an unexpected but sentimental evening of Latin music.

I’m inspired by the women in both of these groups, and I always come away from our time together feeling enriched, blessed and thankful.

“Writers make us feel less lonely in the world.” —Terry Tempest Williams

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