But this morning I read Terri Windling's latest post about returning to the work of art, and felt encouraged all over again. It's a beautiful piece, and if you are an artist, writer, mother, human being, feeling uncertain yourself at this time, I advise you to read it.
I believe in narrative therapy. Mythic therapy. After years of watching masculine theories of psychology fail for women, I have come to put my faith instead in the old witchy wise theory of sitting down on the ground and telling the story. Singing the story. Drumming it with fists against the ground. Dancing, walking, digging, wailing the story.
And that doesn't mean necessarily the story of what has happened to the woman. There are many times when some completely different tale is called for. A consolation tale. A little tale of beauty to remind her that beauty still exists even though all she sees is greyness. A ditty. A poem to get her up and dancing just for the sake of momentary laughing.
This is what I believe with all my heart. Actually, I believe there's nothing more important than the stories we tell and do. They make our world, our selves, our languages for gods.
The fact I forgot the potency of small, quiet stories ... especially mythic stories and fairytales ... shows me how shaken I have been - shaken right off my foundations. And none of the clever, strongly worded, sensible advice of determined people could lift me back up. But Terri did. With her gentleness and her empathy, with her small quiet reflections from other people who hauled themselves back up too with ropes of sorrow, of tender song - she gave me a hand, and I am restored. This is the power of the quiet voice.
Now I want to delete my earlier posts and comments, and go forth as if I have always been calm and wise. But I need to learn to live with my fallings. They show me what I want from myself, what feels wrong, and how to get back up. I shall go forth, but not as a wise woman, only as a traveller, with my feet wrapped, feathers tied in my hair, and my hands covered in notes I've written for myself about where to go, how to go, and ways to tell the story.
Art by the incomparable Rima Staines