Qualified to live

In August I attended POWA‘s Cape Town workshop as part of the Women’s Writing Project. It was an unexpected experience – I went in thinking it would be an informal, structured writing course where I would have no choice but to share personal stories with strangers. Not that I was opposed to sharing – I simply was not prepared for the precious connections I made there with the talented sisters who attended.

The dialogue was stimulating, emotional, sometimes controversial, and always inspiring. We unpacked ourselves; we re-arranged beliefs; we discarded some myths and stereotypes that are irrelevant to our existence. We left at the end of the second day feeling like we had begun something that needed to continue

Yesterday, I met with some of the women again for a few hours. Over sweet treats and personal tales we worked on writing we wished to submit for the 2013 project – the value of feedback from fellow artists is indispensable. POWA provided a cool resource: The Wayward Woman’s Guide to Writing. In it I found this precious gem by Alice Walker:

Be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Take the contradictions
Of your life
And wrap around
You like a shawl,
To parry stones
To keep you warm.
Watch the people succumb
To madness
With ample cheer;
Let them look askance at you
And you askance reply.
Be an outcast;
Be pleased to walk alone
Or line the crowded
River beds
With other impetuous

Make a merry gathering
On the bank
Where thousands perished
For brave hurt words
They said.

But be nobody’s darling;
Be an outcast.
Qualified to live
Among your dead.


Don’t you just love when Art plays it’s part: unpredictable like the weather and perfectly-timed for each season.


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