Words To Live By

What has the writers workshop meant for you?

What has the writers workshop meant for you?" I asked Joe. He has been a guest, and then a volunteer, at our soup kitchen for several years. He’s been involved in the writing program for the last two. "Has it been a safe space?"

"Much more than a safe place!" Joe replied with some passion. "It has been more like a cauldron!"

This image of a cauldron - magician’s brew, or maybe just a humble soup pot - strikes me as weirdly, wonderfully apt for a writing program in a soup kitchen. The participants bring to it their hunger to tell their stories, to find their voices, to learn a craft, to be heard. The stew of poetry and prose, honesty and courage, nourishes them as they share their work and hear and support their colleagues. In the mix, there can be alchemy, though like all alchemy it is impossible to say exactly how it happens or where its magic resides. People touch a place within them where something new comes into being, and, maybe, they change. Sometimes the world changes too. In any case, the world is richer for the stories that have come into it.

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Sojourners Magazine December 2004
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