Thursday, October 13, 2011

news and a new project, maybe?

The barns begin to pop up right off the highway. Red dots on the horizon, silver columns rise next door. The familiarity of those pieces of landscape touch something sacred within me. It is home. It is a home I walked around but not in. I am a stranger in the suburbs. I belong only because we all don't belong.

I try to clear my mind as we drive. I never know what to expect when I walk into a room of others like me. I am sharing my Lucia, sharing my walk through hell. There is always so much more that I want to say, and also nothing left to say except I am here. I can't say I feel nervous. I only ever need to be me, but I still have those old vestiges of anxiety to shed. I used to be terrified to speak in front of others. My voice quavered. I tear up. I once broke out in hives every night for a full month before being in front of people. I took public speaking courses. I still cried every time I spoke aloud. And then, something changed after Lucia died. I stopped being afraid. I stopped worrying about that part of me. I speak in front of people all the time now. I volunteer for it. It suits me, I think.

I have attended a number of readings from the book They Were Still Born, the book where my essay "Mothering Grief" appears, and I always feel such a deep soul-satisfaction doing that. Thank you for everyone who turned out for the reading and to share their stories with us. Jennell Paris also read, shared her story and her cards and art with us. And of course, Janel Atlas. She spent the day in the area, speaking at different places. I feel fortunate to share this journey with so many amazing women and men, truly.

I have heard others from the collection read their words before. There is something so different about that--hearing intention, breaths, emotions. I find myself so drawn into a story I have read twice, three times. And conversely, I think others hear something else in my piece when I read it aloud. You hear the humor. Janel said that, "Your piece is funny." And I retorted, "Yes, I meant it to be hilarious." And I really did.

It had been nine months since I read my piece in front of an audience, a piece written at one year out. It caught me up in places I hadn't expected. I was in so much pain.  I don't know. It was so visceral. I could feel that agony written into every sentence. I write because I can dissect that pain, remove it from my heart a little and play with words, rather than tears. Writing separates me from the ache, while connecting me deeply with it. Could you hear it when it was read in your head? The other strange sensation this time was that I was so...little. That is what it feels like. Like I reading something by someone so young. Two years ago, I was so different, so lost. I have forgiven myself for that.

All this is to say, that it inspired me to start another project in this community. This last reading makes me want to hear blog posts out loud. Can we do that? Can we organize a blog round-up where writers read a blog post aloud, post it on their site? Either via camera, or mp3. Let's pick posts that you feel would be helped by being spoken, words meant to be connected to with a voice. Let me know what you think about that project. I can post a Mr. Linky, and we can connect that way. I can pick a date that is a few weeks from now to give every one time to choose a post and record it. Please please let me know if this sounds cool. I'd love to hear you read a post of yours aloud.

In other news of the Philadelphia area, Saturday is the MISS Foundation Kindness Walk. Please please come out to walk with other families in the area. It is being held at Ridley Creek State Park. Registration starts at 9am. And then the walk starts at 10 am. The Kindness Project starts at 11a. Everything goes to support the amazing work of the MISS Foundation, a group that helps supports families after the death of one or more of their children. As you know, I am a HOPE Mentor.  I'll be saying just a few words (It's not a speech, just a quick word about MISS.) So, please catch me after to talk, if you are going. I'm hoping this identifies me a little. I am also donating a painting for the raffle, which includes a number of other items including gift certificates and other amazing treats.

This is the exact painting I am donating.
Mizuko jizo.
9" x12" watercolor on canvas.

So, come, win a mizuko jizo painting, walk, remember our babies, do a kindness and connect. You won't regret it, I promise. I would love to meet you. If you are unable to make it, please consider supporting Team Lucia. We are so close to our goal. We just need a little push.


  1. I wished I could have been there. Would have loved listening to your story being read by your beautiful voice.

    I think the reading aloud of blogposts is a fantastic idea. I always read them aloud to myself (helps me to find errors) and they have so much more impact than when just being read silently.

    Needless to say: I'm in (already have a post in mind). Keep me posted. xo

  2. I know I want to hear posts read aloud, I'm just not sure I'm brave enough to read aloud myself, but I think the idea is a good one. x

  3. Like Jeanette said, i would love to hear some of your posts read aloud. Especially one from Glow in the Woods.
    What an awesome Idea! I love the idea of others express their writings with their voice!
    Sadly, i was forced to make my blog private, so I am unable to participate other than being a listener.

  4. I never understood the point of readings until I went to one. I mean, I can read myself, why do I need to hear the author read? But then I went to one and the way she read it was so different from the way I read it.

  5. Thank-you for sharing your journey (including the road trip)! As my father-in-law shared with a group last night, until one experiences such a loss, it's not real and one doesn't realize one truly loses a child (grandchild, sibling. . . .). Readings by those those who have "come through the deep waters" enable the stories/experiences of others to become even more "real, tangible" without the barriers which can arise in the more conversational or educational approach of a presentation which tries to 'get across a point.' The seeds are cast. The story stands and speaks on its own. Those in attendance can choose to embrace and join reader in their story or not. Although being present with a person is a unique, I love the idea of blog post readings with mp3 & video recording. . . . ~ Tom

    I think the difference between a "lecture" and an author reading to an audience is that the author has the advantage of having thought through the material thoroughly, having edited it and ruminated over it. So as they read, the words are so well-crafted that they jump out at the listener. Sure, they are the same words that a reader can read for herself, but there is also the personal element when the words are read by the author. In fact, storytelling seems to be having a resurgence of sorts as evidenced by the various programs popular on NPR now like This American Life by Ira Glass and Story Corps. ~ Theresa

  6. I wish I could have been at the reading! I think your idea is great. Count me in . . . that is, if I can figure out how to participate, technologically speaking.

  7. I love this idea. I'll see if I can figure out enough about audio to join in.

    I hope the Kindness Walk is a good one!

  8. I think the reading aloud idea is a lovely one. There is such richness in this community - I think our voices would add to it. I have always loved Jess' out loud stuff.

  9. I think reading aloud sounds like a lovely idea. I guess I always write with my own voice in my head so it would be really interesting to actually hear the voices other's write with.

    I'll just have to work out the technology. x

  10. I love this project. I don't have a clue which post of mine I would want to read aloud, but I would love to be a part of it with you.

    I hope the MISS walk brought comfort and love to all who attended. xo

  11. hey Angie

    I had disconnected from this blog world, trying out a normal that somehow still doesn't quite fit. And reading and hearing some of the posts tugs me towards you all. I'm also terrfied to have a complete melt-down in my freshly decorated new life. Don't know what to do really, to terrified to open this can of worms just now but i might, just might join in...

    love to you


What do you think?