medicine for a broken hearted world

From the very beginning, we have told stories. We have walked them, carved them, sung them, and made paper so we can write them down. Stories have always been important to every culture in the world. They are the thread that weaves everything together.

And so for me, when trouble comes, I turn instinctively to story. Poetry, song, woodland path, novel. I read and listen, but I also weave too. It is almost always the only thing I can do. I have no wide garden. I have no money. But I can tell story. (Not very well, but still it is something.) This is my small medicinal offering to the world and to myself.

Lately, I've been unable to do much of that weaving. I know all the stitchwork, but I haven't yet found my story. But the longer I sit aching and restless from the silence, the closer I come to understanding. Sometimes stories can be drawn from the air. Sometimes they wash in on an inner sea. But some stories need to be mined from the heart of the earth, and that takes perserverance, patience, and most of all deep courage. Not bold courage, dashing at daily arrows and breaking through noise. But old, slow courage - the kind that allows you to stand still and listen, listen, to the pulse of the dirt, the intricate language of the grass no matter for how long or what tempest blows.

Such courage comes from trust. And trust comes from knowing that, despite elections and  economy and all the awful things of the world, there will always be herbs growing in shy places, there will always be forest song and the wild ancient dance of continents. The best stories remind us of this. That is why I can hardly wait to read Tatterdemalion by Sylvia Linsteadt and Rima Staines. You all know by now that they are my favourite writer and artist. Rima's website was one of the very first I found when I discovered blogland, and her art, and later Sylvia's words, have kept my heart opening. I wish I was more like them. I wish I had their deep courage and their connection with the land. At least, though, I can have their story. It is rich medicine.

If you have particular stories, books, poems, which help you in troubled hours, would you share them with us?


  1. I had a feeling you were struggling when I have read your latest posts - they seemed dark as if you couldn't find the light. World events seem to affect you deeply. I read these things and don't let them get to me as there is nothing I can do about them. The world will keep turning things will change and change back again - life will go on.

    Would you call your present struggle writer's block - the right words will find you when you least expect them. Keep smiling.

  2. oh, many poems. fairy tales. ursula le guin's earthsea books. old classics like those by the brontes. when i'm truly miserable, i read beatrix potter stories.

    i'm waiting for "tatterdemalion" with great excitement, though i am sure that it will make me weep.

    but for today, my inspiration or solace came from theodora goss's poem "today i joined the resistance".

  3. Have a lump in my throat reading these words. Telling your stories as medicinal offerings, oh yes. And you *do* do this well. Very well, indeed.

    I'm so looking forward to reading Tatterdemalion. And like nofixedstars, I turn to Ursula le Guin's Earthsea books. I also find solace in John O'Donohue, and in Irish mythologies. There's a gentle home for me in them that isn't easily explained. It's an old ancestral knowingness that thrums in my blood and grounds me in times of fear and confusion.
    Love to you. x


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