Monday, December 12, 2016

A Chat With Elizabeth Crawford: A Poet's Task in a "Post-Truth" World


 In the turmoil that followed the United State’s election, Elizabeth Crawford, who posts at Soul’s Music and 1sojournal, issued a Creativity Challenge: to express our feelings about the state of the world, and to try to add some light to the dark forces swirling around us. In my distress, I found this a valuable outlet for my emotions, and my deepest convictions. During the course of that challenge, Elizabeth wrote some very powerful poems. She and I chatted by email and, as so often happens, in this way the foundation of this chat was laid.

In news reports that the president-elect plans to limit journalists access to the White House, the well known journalist, Christiane Amanpour, Chief International Correspondent for CNN, issued a statement, expressing her  concerns about recent  comments made by the president-elect about the press, which she considers “a threat to the very relevance and usefulness of our profession.”

Ms. Amanpour stressed how important it is, now more than ever, to not lose our nerve, to write our truth, to stand up for what we believe, in a climate that she considers hostile to journalists.

Oxford Dictionary recently declared “post-truth” its word of the year. We are living in a post-truth world. What is our place, as poets, in that world? Do we hold to the truths we believe most relevant? Do we remain quiet and politically correct? Accept the unacceptable, in the name of a prickly peace and  enforced “unity”? Do we speak up, even against the tide, when lies are presented as fact, and sway multitudes?

I filed those thoughts away for this chat, as we consider our rights and freedoms, the things we hold dear, the issues we care about the most, all of which are about to take a 180 degree turn under a new administration. What is our personal way forward, as writers and poets and lovers of freedom, when repression is heading our way?

[Disclaimer: We recognize that many of our readers may feel completely the opposite about the recent election, and we respect their right to differ, and suggest if this topic might upset you, please feel most welcome to skip it. I do know many others of us feel unsettled, worried, afraid and concerned, and to those we hope to shed some light and, hopefully, a path forward.]








Sherry: Elizabeth, here we are again, considering weighty issues. In our emails, we have been sharing our concern and distress over recent events, deciding this conversation might need to go public.

Elizabeth: So much of what is going on is so incredibly distressing. My grandmother was Native American. My niece and her three beautiful daughters are African-American. And I absolutely hate the fact that it looks like the president-elect and his cronies might try to take the few freedoms we women have worked so hard to get, away from us.

Sherry: Your poem “Take Back” addresses this so well.


I am an old woman
living alone, remembering.
That night, so long ago,
when the women on campus
participated in a ‘walk about’
to Take Back the Night.
How we sang of being
women, of freedom,
with arms clasped,
around each other,
and hands wrapped
around small burning
candles, laughing
and teasing one another.
Knowing we would never
walk here alone in the darkness.
Because we had been taught
from little on, that we were prey.
Always singly responsible
for making sure the predator
never crossed our path.
But, together, we were strong.
Could resist that fear.
Now, living alone, afraid
of the darkness, I watch creeping
over this land where I live.
This land, where lights of reason
seem to blink out, faster
than can be counted.
Blown out by racing wind
of a Predator far more frightening
than any other. Fueled only by
insatiable greed and hunger
for power.
I reach for small candle
from that long ago night,
but it is so fragile. Only
a faltering flicker of hope
that we might stand up
once again, together, hands
clasped in unity, to Take Back
Our Future.
Elizabeth Crawford  11/27/2016
Sherry:  Well-said, my friend. Amazing to think we will be marching again, for civil rights, voting accountability, women’s rights. Sigh. An old tired heart grows weary. So many civil liberties appear to be in jeopardy.
Where to start? Let’s begin with your Creativity Challenge, which you issued soon after the recent election. For me, it was the only positive thing on the landscape. It helped me to express some of what I feel. We shall soldier on, but while I always try to put hope in my poems, for the first time in my life, I have very little hope, at least short-term. (Long-term, hopefully the planet will survive, with or without us.)
The new administration will seal the deal for climate change. And the situation at Standing Rock is very upsetting. I do not do well with injustice, and there is so much of it going on now. We are being set back fifty years in civil rights.
Elizabeth: First of all, I have to admit that there are two things I step away from in most gatherings: religion and politics. For me, they lead to arguments, heated discussions, and even violence. The Challenge came about because Rosemary featured one of my poems, The Call. At the end of her post, she asked some questions, based on my sense of the symbolism and meaning of the words I had written. I said that I believed, right along with J.R.R. Tolkien, that the artists and poets of each generation are its prophets, most often telling the story of human growth and further possibilities, because creativity is an element of healing. A rather lively, and deep discussion ensued.

During that discussion, some individuals spoke of the distress they felt about the results of the election. And, that’s when I realized that I wanted to show them that their own creativity could and would soothe that distress and perhaps, that of the larger world. So, I wrote that I would create a Creativity Challenge, using a one word, daily prompt. Sat back, and said, “Oh, crap! I just told these people I would do the two things I really don’t want to do!” In other words, in the spur of the moment, I had issued a Call, to them, but more importantly, to myself.

I oppose everything this man stands for, everything. And yet, I myself would have to concentrate on writing, without anger, or hatred.  A very tall order, indeed.

The Creativity Challenge has shown me, not only that is possible, but that my own further healing is dependent on it. And our exchange of emails only deepened that reality. We have all been impacted, on some level, by this man’s win and his current gathering of right winged cronies. I think what distresses me most, is that there is so little time remaining. We as writers, have been given the gift to express what others might only feel. I truly fear that our freedom to voice those things is imperiled by this election. This is a man who stays up all night, twittering about anyone who opposes him. How long before he begins to attack our freedom of speech? 
   
But, don’t give up yet. More and more people are realizing what is going on at Standing Rock. They are standing up and being counted and their numbers are growing. If enough of us say no, we can and will defeat him.

This has never been about Democrats and Republicans. It has always been about simple human decency. (Some people may appear to have none). But, Americans do. Americans are watching, and they will stand up, and they will say no.

And I, for one, am pleased as punch that it will start from Standing Rock. Native Americans are not a myth. They are an incredible part of our History. We tree-huggers learned from Native American belief systems and their love of Nature. We won't fail them this time. We shamed ourselves too often in the past. We won't allow anyone to shame us and our deeply felt ideals. One of the most important lessons we learned from those Natives was pride in self, even in defeat. We may have been defeated by the outcome of this election, but that doesn't mean we will not stand up and say NO. I just wish I could be there at Standing Rock in more than spirit.

Sherry: Me too, my friend. Your Challenge is “to use your creative talent to bring light to the current distress in the world around you, in whatever form that talent takes. Please remember that we are reaching out to a world that is facing upheaval and possibly a great number of changes. Let us reach out to that world and bring it the lessons we have learned by becoming artists and writers.” 

I love that mandate. It has been the only avenue I felt I had to speak up for what I believe in. Let’s look at your poem “In Defense of Myth”, as it speaks to our role as poets in interpreting the world we see around us.


History is a story
sometimes wrapped
round myth and legend.
But, all too often, myth
holds a shiny gem
of truth at its center.
Like the folk-tale
from a long-ago time,
about a Changeling.
Someone brought in
to exchange good for bad,
darkness for light.
In current times, people
want change. A government
that will serve their needs
instead of its own. I fear
we’ve been given
a Changeling.
Someone who says one thing
then denies, changes it the next day.
Someone who calls scientific
proof, a hoax to be ignored
because there is money
to be gained in that ignorance.
Someone who thinks women
shouldn’t have the right
to fight for control
over their own bodies. And that
sexual preference is to be
denied, even punished.
Someone who would exchange
the strength of diversity for weakness
of bigotry, because if we are busy
fighting one another, we won’t notice
how much money he will make
from our fear and hatred.
Someone who seems to believe
that twitter makes his words,
the voice of God, only better.
It is time to draw forth that gem
of truth from the myth. Polish it,
and allow its inner glow to light
up our darkening world.
Time to stand up, say “No,”
to this Changeling thrust upon us.
Elizabeth Crawford 11/28/2016

Sherry:  Oh, I like the idea that he is a changeling!

Elizabeth: The Changeling poem is, by far, the most politically aimed poem I have written for the challenge.  

Sherry: I love it! Tell us why you thought the challenge might be helpful to those of us who are struggling with our current reality.

Elizabeth: I have, for a long time, believed that creativity is a built-in healing agent. It is a form of active meditation, and when employed, brings about a sense of soothing to our distress and dis-ease. It allows us to breathe more deeply and sharpens our intuitive faculties. That, in turn, helps us to reach deeper within, make different connections, and express our deepest truths. Given a voice, it can counteract the vitriol, and violent language that is so obvious on social media, and elsewhere. That vitriol is based in fear and anger. And fear and anger are reactions, not reasonable actions. Nothing good or positive, can come from such reactions, they only incite more of the same. When you shout at me, I have only two choices: stand and fight, or run like hell and hide behind the wall you have just created between us.

Creative energy allows us to stand still and express ourselves with calm sensible reason. And that calm voice has a much better chance of being listened to and heard. Creativity is a path of learning, the more we do it, the more we understand. Not just the craft we are employing, but about how we ourselves work. How we feel, what we really think, how we ourselves would choose to be treated, and treat others.

Sherry: The Challenge gives me a place to put my emotions, which are distressed, and makes me feel I am taking a stand, defending all I hold most dear, even if only within the confines of my blog. You suggested I include a poem I wrote in response to your Challenge, so I will include it here as an example of how we poets can, at the very least, use our pens to raise awareness of the plight of the planet and its wild beings and even, hopefully,  inspire others to care, too.



What will I defend,
in this topsy-turvy world,
setting off in a direction
we never expected?
I will stand for the wildlands
and its creatures, who are
fast disappearing.

I will stand for their habitat,
being laid waste for dollars,
and for the dying whales
in the warming sea.
I will speak for the polar bears,
swimming ten miles for a meal
where the ice used to be.

I will wield my pen till my last breath
saying: "Please! Stop!
Take measure of what we are doing
to Mother Earth,
who is patient,
but who can't withstand, forever,
all the good we are taking from her,
all the bad we are dumping into her waters,
and expelling into her air."
  
I will defend the indigenous peoples' right
to exist, free from oppression,
and corporate takeovers
of their sacred lands,
for they love and understand the land,
and we should be listening to them.

I will defend Mother Wolf
and her babies from harm,
as the helicopters hover,
and the men raise their guns.

I will stand for the wildlands,
the trees and the birds.
I will stand for the last of the last
wild creatures,
lion and elephant,
tiger and bear. 
As they pace their slow way
into history, I will sadly
and tearfully
wave them goodbye.


Of course, I hope things can be reversed in time to stop where we seem to be heading. But with the current political situation, I have considerably less hope than I once did. 


Elizabeth: Our blogs might feel like an extension of personal space, but internet space is public. I’ve been blogging for eight years, and often find others search my blogs' content and look at things I wrote way back in the beginning. We have no real means of knowing who, what, or even when, something we’ve written will encourage another, lift them up, or help them feel better about themselves or the place they are in.

Sherry: That is very true. Elizabeth, has the Challenge brought you the results you were hoping for?

Elizabeth: Yes, most definitely. Because I was giving the prompts, trying to be an example, I found myself digging deeper and exploring my own belief system with a greater degree of scrutiny and understanding. And the poems reflected that reality. I was facing off with my fears, and finding both spiritual growth and deeper understanding.

Sherry: What is the bigger question here? What is our role, as writers, poets and defenders of our various causes, in a climate that threatens all we hold most dear? What is a poet’s task, when times are dark?

Elizabeth: I can’t speak for anyone, except myself. I started writing because I wanted desperately to understand me. I needed healing, and writing was the cheapest form of therapy. I did not start out to write poetry. Underneath it all, I am a North Wisconsin Hillbilly. And I can assure you, NW hillbillies do not write poetry. Their eyes glass over at the mere mention of the word.

As luck, fate, or the Universe, would have it, I met a man who saw something in me that I could not have dreamed possible. He, with a gentle smile, challenged the rebel (another NWH trait) in me, daring me to write some poetry. I did and was floored by the outcome. For the first time, I knew I had been heard, that my words could be a light in a world, where before, I had only ever been a small blemish.

And that, for me, is the essence of my role as a writer. To bring light, understanding, into darkness, because by working, staying open to the craft, I have learned so much more about life and living it. We are all individuals. We all see ourselves in light of that individuality. Others may see their role differently, but the Challenge, for me, was to encourage that particular role in a world that needs it badly.


Please remember there were a multitude of prophets in many different religions. Each was an individual and spoke in his/her own dialect, and often by enacting the message they brought to their people. Everyone would like to be Elijah with a lashing tongue and miraculous works. Me? I am definitely a Jeremiah, constantly looking up and shouting, “How in the hell am I suppose to say that?”

Sherry:  You stated it so well during the Challenge, when you said, “ As writers and artists, we have been given a gift to express ourselves in defense of whatever we choose. I believe our world is being threatened on numerous fronts. Now is the time to step up and defend it, or, by remaining silent, aid those who would destroy much of what we have worked to attain in the past. What are you willing to defend? To say “NO” to?”

What I take away from this Challenge, and from Christiane Amanpour’s statement, is our right – and our duty? – to defend the writer’s right to free expression, without suppression. To the peoples’ right to accurate and truthful news that has not been twisted to serve a certain faction. And to my soul’s need to defend all I hold most dear.

As a note of hope, I would like to include your wonderful poem,  “This Poem.” Your poem  inspires me to continue believing that these words we write down and exchange do serve a purpose in the world, can offer hope, and unity, and perhaps even transformation.


This poem is an old woman.
This poem is a glass window.
This poem is a drop of rain.
This poem is an old woman
standing at her window,
remembering the taste of rain.
Leaning on her cane, thinking
how, as a child, she played
in the rain. Sticking out her tongue
to count how many raindrops
she could catch, while giggling
with friends.
This poem is a glass window,
giving a view of the outside world,
while sheltering that one within.
This poem is a drop of rain
looking for a tongue to taste,
and to tell its story of a newly
washed world.
This poem is hope for a world
in need of inspiration
that might fall like fresh rain,
from the tongue of an old woman,
who has finally opened
her glass window.
Elizabeth Crawford  11/26/2016
Sherry: I love this poem, Elizabeth. I adore Hannah Gosselin’s Boomerang form, and I love the image of the woman standing at the window, looking out, looking in, wishing to wash the world clean with hope. Sigh.

Thank you, Elizabeth, for your Challenge, which provides us with a forum for expressing our emotions around this, helping us through these uneasy weeks. Thank you for your wonderful poems, for your wise, instructive and inspiring thoughts, (you are such a good teacher!), and for this clarifying chat.


My friends, we hope this chat has helped you in your resolve to use your gifts to stand for what you hold dear in the months ahead, that it has reminded you our words do matter, and that we have a task, as writers, to reflect the world we see around us, to bear witness, to offer hope, and, optimally, to inspire. We say, in our poems, “This is how I feel. Do you feel this way too?”

Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!



39 comments:

  1. Aah but you do write poetry Elizabeth - and truth..your own..which is the very best kind.. And always, always gently encourage us along showing the value of creating and being..and hopefully one day healing. You stand up there. With all the elder stateswomen of our community. Thank you all for that and how wonderful to see you here.. And your line about oh crap I have to do It comment made me smile - funny how we can love words but at times they feel like they might tell us a truth we've not quite acknowledged to ourselves yet.. Thank you both xo

    ReplyDelete
  2. Elder stateswomen, huh? There go the oversized T-shirts and soft flannel lounging pants! And the "Oh, crap.." statement. Please remember the North Wisconsin Hillbilly. She's still a bit freaked by all of this. Thank goodness Elizabeth is standing by to soothe her, one day at a time, one poem at a time. Never the less, I thank you for the high praise and your caring. You make both of us feel shiny and even somewhat new, if that's possible.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, totally me too, re the over sized t-shirt and flannel lounging pants (when I dont have my fleece ones on, LOL). I knew we were soul sisters.

      Delete
    2. One can't be wise in binding trousers ;) lounging pants all around xo

      Delete
  3. And thank you very much Sherry, for all of your hard work and continued encouragement. The Challenge continues, perhaps until the end of the month, and everyone is welcome to join in wherever and however they choose.

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Your challenge is really what has kept me going this month, kiddo, as I have been so distressed and it gave me a direction in which to write my angst. Thank you so much! I am glad it will continue through our break, as it might just keep me writing.

      Delete
  4. Elizabeth, Ah - I remember the "Take Back the Night" days. This seems almost innocent now that we are worrying about the idea of "take back the future." Your first poem chilled me. Good, very good.

    And you are right - it is not about Democrats and Republicans, but about human decency. There have been candidates of both parties in the past that were not my first choice, but after the election I moved on. This time I cannot / will not move on, as the situation is crucial to the survival of this country, the natural environment, the world.

    I am heartened by Standing Rock, but wonder what will happen after t___p becomes president. I am not optimistic for the long haul. I wish I were.

    Your poem "The Changeling" expressed what he is about perfectly!And, yes, he does think he is even better than the 'voice of god' with his twitter. Such power in his fingers.

    I could comment on your other poems as well, but I will give others a chance. Thanks for starting / carrying out the "challenge." If I felt I had more time / energy I would definitely take part... I do know there is a place for poetry in all this.

    Thank you, Sherry, for organizing and presenting this chat. Very timely & thought-provoking conversation, both of you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Mary for your high praise. I'm glad my poems spoke to you, but mine is only one voice, and so many more are needed. I think Standing Rock proves that. So many felt a need to "do" something, to act out. And they did. I don't know what the future holds, but I breathed deeply of the energy these Indigenous People brought to the scene of our current reality. It was so past time for their message to be heard. And their very clear peaceful protest should give all of us insight and courage. They went from a single tribe to over 5,000 individuals standing together in a blizzard. Together they made a noise heard around the world, wrapping that world in a hug that could be felt by all of us.

      We can not do less. We must collect ourselves and defend our country, just as they defend their land. They do it with prayer and music. Poetry is a form of music, and, for me, always a prayer. My poems are my soul songs. Forever seeking light and guidance in the darkness.

      The poems I have written for the challenge, have been both surprise and pleasure. I had no idea that I would benefit so richly from this experience. And thank you again, Mary.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
    2. I love "My poems are my soul songs". And what a wonderful soul it is! The Lakota prophesied that the seventh generation would arise and change the world. This is the seventh generation that was prophesied. They are saying Enough is enough. I have been so deeply moved by their brave stand. As one of them said, they are standing for all of us, for the water, for the land, for the future. It is a choice now between justice and greed. It may look temporarily like greed is winning. But Big Picture suggests there may one day be a reckoning, and then the greedy will be the least able to withstand, and those of us used to sheer survival will finally, perhaps, have the chance to find a better way to live upon this land.

      Delete
  5. yes and by example too.
    Your argument... of your observations and in your writing I believe, are sound. I was having flashbacks from the 60's and early 70's :-)
    ZQ

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hello R.K. and thank you. The flower children of my generation did help us to find a new level of understanding and acceptance. And I saw, in the videos from Standing Rock, that some of the women were offering both flowers and food to the policemen harassing them. I am both old and disabled, but can hope that my poems might be offered with the same sort of energy. Theirs gave rise to the Civil Rights Movement, as well as the Women's Movement that followed it. We have great role models in both. Can we afford to do less?

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems the Civil Rights Movement and the Women's Movement both need restoring right now – not only in America. Yes, we MUST speak up / speak out, as loudly as we can, and be heard as widely as we can. While I have not found time to take on your daily Creativity Challenge, I do plan to visit it some time soon and address the themes you propose, as I am sure there is never a wrong time to do so. Meanwhile, many thanks to you and Sherry for this wonderful feature, with all its passionate urgency.

      Delete
    2. Hi Rosemary, and thanks for commenting. I think movement of any kind is important in the moment. Fear has us hunkering down, curling up in stillness. Our need to counteract that sense is paramount. And although, Civil and Women's rights are in danger, there are far deeper issues at risk. One of the most valuable rights that is suppressed under an authoritarian type of rule, is the freedom to speak back, or against that rule. As Sherry pointed out, journalists are now under attack. If that continues, our freedom to speak out may very well be up on the block. One of the most important things we can do is make a record of our experiences, as they are happening. The more, the better. If nothing else, it might serve in the future to know what happened here.

      This man's choices appear to be very right-winged and terribly dismissive of what this country was originally planned to accomplish. I fear that his ultimate plan is to dismantle our government and remake it in his own image and likeness. And that thought makes me shudder for my grandchildren and their children.

      I do hope that you will lend your voice in whatever capacity you can. And you are correct. The challenge is one daily word. Pick one, any one and begin where you feel the strongest need. I am aware that all of this has come about at the busiest time of the year. But, I have found that writing each day has actually energized me to get it and all the rest of the season's doings, done. Thanks, ahead of time, for joining us,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
    3. Time for the grandmothers to arise. They are strong and proud at Standing Rock, and in our poems, we can add our energy to the conversation.

      Delete
  7. Absolutely wonderful interview and I love the poems, ladies. Thank you both.

    Pamela

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Pamela. Good to see you here.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  8. "But I have promises to keep, / And miles to go before I sleep,..." these are the words that came to my mind as I was reading this conversation. Poets do have their commitments; specially of drawing the "truth" from the "myth". And Truth is always The Light. Thank you Elizabeth for hosting Creativity Challenge where we could breathe, express, heal and nurture our own voice. The whole concept is brilliant. Thank you Sherry specially for including Elizabeth's 'This Poem' in this feature.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Sumana for taking time to share your response. I believe that our creativity is an energy flow that really can reach out to the world, and at the very least, create a record of what is happening. Whatever we do, counts. The daily challenge may be found at my 1sojournal site, and I post it on Facebook as well. And thanks for the 'brilliant'. I feel a similar response to your work as well.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  9. Elizabeth, always enjoy your writing very much. It is inspiring to see poets who find their space and rise to meet and articulate the challenges of their time. The world is changing around us and our role as poets and channels of truth is perhaps, more interesting than ever before. Thanks for a very insightful, thought provoking interview Sherry.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thotpurge, your work always provides me food for thought, and I especially enjoy that. Thanks for your encouragement. I definitely agree that we poets and artists have a role in today's reality (but didn't realize, until the challenge, that mine might be that of the NW hillbilly rebel, that dwells at my core, lol). Thank goodness she and her fishing pole stands next to the teacher with her pen. It continues to be a most enlightening experience. Thanks again, for joining in on this conversation,

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  11. "This has never been about Democrats and Republicans. It has always been about simple human decency." Yes. I used the words "human decency" during my divorce in 1975--not a feminist issue! Just human decency--but it was a feminist issue and an indigenous issue and Black Lives Matter and Save the Planet and everything that makes "common sense." Which is not so common. You take me back, and the world takes me back so that I am astonished to find myself relatively old and weak, physically unable to lift myself to the challenge I once did round the clock without hesitation. But as you say, and as God insists--for I cannot stop doing it--there is writing and being inspired by others' writing and writing the next thing whether or not I understand where it goes. God says, take up the cross, act, do the process and let it weave together into what is for balance or for progress or for those after we're gone. Do not think about the outcomes, just act. So, I'm helping to organize the "Folding Chair" protest of the US election this week in Philadelphia--well, my name is on it as a "Grey-hair" while others do the work. I'm here responding to you. I have a class tonight caled "Our Life is Love" and a workshop tomorrow in a story-telling format called "Just Act for Justice" and so it goes on and on, spinning with the earth, and regardless of how it appears--NOT out of control. Hold on and ride with Mother Nature, God's natural partner. Become a person. I am glad to feel You Two are Sisters. Rosemary too, so many brothers and sisters, poets and writers and plumbers. There are lots of us, you know. Thank you for your inspiration.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Susan, for taking time to respond here, and for raising it to a higher level. Yes, this Challenge is a spiritual quest, for common decency that is not so common. Speaking of "grey hair", I had a Christmas brunch with my siblings on Sunday. And the one thing I noticed was all the gray hair we have grown, some of it completely whited out. But also to agree with you, it is wonderful to know I have brothers and sisters all over the world, individuals who love to write as much as I do.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
    2. Susan, I so admire your very active activism, smiles. You are still doing the physical work, along with the spiritual, and I applaud you. Thanks for lifting us up with your comments. Onward, fellow pilgrim!

      Delete
  12. Thank you both so much for this. Marian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you for the acknowledgement, Marian. Much appreciated,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
    2. Thanks for stopping by, Marian. You were one of the very first members of Poets United!!!!!

      Delete
  13. I did enjoy this chat, so necessary right now. Even though I have not been able to respond to your challenge, Elizabeth, I am so glad you decided to do it. Even when we don't know, the idea appears, and here we go. As artists we are the seerers, and it is our job, to tell our truth....it is a dark time. I am straining to understand...and recognize the meaning of the darkness, and how to accept it in gratitude.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Annell, for bringing up a very good point. When trouble comes, we often ask, "Why me? Why now?" My sense is that we were already headed into the darkness and t---p simply doubled down on that reality. He showed us our weaknesses: the political correctness which hides the slow burn underneath it. We've all made adjustments to get along. He brought so much of that to the surface, where it is now boiling close to out of control. I believe we needed to see our lack of true empathy and ability to relate on even a surface level. Now, at least, it's out in the open and can be directly addressed. That doesn't mean I dislike the man any less, but I do see that he has been used to show us our own darkness. Now, it is time to turn up our lights in all those hidden dusty corners. Open the windows and blow out the house, as we used to say.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
    2. I am hoping he will be stopped short of being sworn in for that would be disastrous. There is an interesting article making the rounds called Kali Takes America, making the rounds, about the holy darkness that has claimed America, the oracle of transformation, which we are so in need of. Here is the link :http://www.rebellesociety.com/2016/11/18/veradechalambert-kali/ An interesting read, and perspective.

      Delete
  14. I so much needed to read this post Sherry. After the election and because of some life demands, I think I've been paralyzed. Fear is so powerful. As is typical of me, I am writing with tears in my eyes because what you and Elizabeth have spoken is truth and there is no such thing as "post" truth. Truth exists at all times.
    Thank you so much Elizabeth for being such a dear soul who thinks and feels and most of all gives of herself with courage. I have thought that there is nothing I can write that can address, in a creative way, what I feel and fear. I lost hope in my own healing i think because I almost got convinced that positive forces had been defeated. I feel differently
    now. You and Sherry have inspired me. You've filled me with at least the conviction that I must do even the little I am able to do.
    Thank you. Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Oh, dear Myrna, thank you. I too have given up on my own healing at different times. But, always there has been something, someone who has stepped in and offered me a hand up and out of the morass. I'm so glad to be a part of that for you. Thank you again,

    Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh yes, Myrna, do add your voice to the conversation. Your poems always are so true, and we need your worldview. I struggled with losing hope, too, but Elizabeth's challenge reawakened my fighting spirit. I will not go down without a fight! "A nation is not lost till the hearts of its women are on the ground", and mine is no where near on the ground.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I found myself recently out protesting--something I had not done in a very long time. And it felt good. Can we write our way toward change? I hope so, but I know so many who are afraid right now and that fear seems paralyzing sometimes--Very thoughtful interview--thank you for this and for your gorgeous work Elizabeth

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Audrey, most of the changes that have occurred in my life, came only after I started writing. The Challenge word for today is "Freedom". I had no idea what I would write about. Instead of a poem, I found myself writing a letter to a woman I have only spoken to once. I am a former abuse victim. And I was deeply triggered by the Billy Bush/t...p bus video. So much so that I couldn't write anything. Eventually, I called the Sexual Assault Hotline, and the woman who answered was incredibly kind. I felt that she gave me back the freedom I had lost when t...p was elected. And I can't thank her enough. In a very real way, this Challenge is my response, as well as my protest. I also sent the letter to her with a thank you note. If you would like to read it, it may be found here:

      https://claudetteellinger.wordpress.com/2016/12/13/a-letter/

      I know that fear can be crippling. I also know that it can be soothed by kinds words and empathy. Thank you for yours.

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  18. Oh my what I missed since being away from writing.....I have been in a healing vortex away from blogging and social media. But I have been chewing on all this since the election....I will be writing again (I hope in Jan) and I will have some poems to counter the hate and indifference.....the thoughts and poems here were wonderful as always Sherry and Elizabeth! My main way out of the darkness is to embrace kindness.....it has been a most healing way for me to be, and I have grown on my personal path away from fear.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Donna, you and I share a very similar path. I have been writing for over thirty years, but have also spent a great deal of time helping other abuse victims, working in women's shelters, even bringing some of them home, because they had no safe place in which to begin again. And you are absolutely correct, healing occurs when we reach out to others in need. I'll be waiting to read your poems, and thank you for responding,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  19. Sherry, thank you for this interview with Elizabeth, and all the poems you included with it. Elizabeth, thanks for being there, writing, and encouraging others.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And thank you, Sara, for reading and responding,

      Elizabeth

      Delete
  20. striking conversation...I agree that we should avoid...politics and religion' in discussions and usher in 'Peace and Tranquility' Enlightening exchange of view.Thank you Sherry and Thank you Elizabeth..let us unravel more of the 'Task of Poetry'there is a deep serious purpose and specially in the Post-Truth world.

    ReplyDelete