My words from yesterday about Typhoon Songda feel foolish now, it sounded poetic at the time but this morning two tornados hit the Tillamook coast. Videos show a monstrous black form sweeping across the face of the water, blue lightning at its base. There is massive damage and a state of emergency has been declared. Let's all send any support we can to those who have been hit and stayed tuned.....there's still news breaking about the extent of the damage.
As soon as we got the first sun break here in town the dogs and I walked to the park. As usual, someone asked me if I'm a professional dog-walker or if those are all my dogs and I give my usual response, saying I'm just a crazy person. He replies that's a lot of dog food. I'm relieved that the dogs are pretending, for the moment, to be well-behaved and walk perfectly on their leashes, Potato's white tail bouncing in a curlicue over her back. I wonder if he thinks he's the first person who's made that joke to Dan and me.
I had my first session with Portland Story Theater last night in preparation for the Urban Tellers Wordstock Edition. I will be telling a ten-minute story along with five other women. Get your ticket now to see me make myself all vulnerable and stuff- the last one sold out.
Trying to decide what story to tell is much different than writing poetry. Even though some of my work is quite confessional, it's somehow not as personal as telling a true story about your life in front of an audience. They recommended that we tell the story we most need to hear, the story that will empower us in our lives right now. They said to ask yourself what story you hold in your heart that gives you courage to get up everyday.
If I'm honest the stories that seem most empowering to me personally right now also contain some pretty ugly bits. How do you tell those stories from a place of love, so that actual empowerment occurs? Empowerment is a word we throw around a lot, so much that it has lost meaning. To be empowered means to give power to. How do you give power to yourself while also making sure you don't take other's power away? This is important to me.
This morning on my walk I realized this is actually a non-problem that requires not-doing. I find this with most things I make into problems in my head. The solution is simple, but difficult to do. You just make the story about you. Other people are in your story, but you don't say anything that's not yours to say. My dad immediately leaps to mind as someone who's really good at this in general in life. I did not inherit that asset.
So there's just the work of figuring out what's your work to do and what's the work you can leave for others, what words you say and what to leave for others to say, or maybe not to say at all. Some things are just for the ether or some alternate universe. In real life nothing is tied up neatly like a poem. Sometimes you make amends in dreams, or after someone's gone, in your kitchen making a recipe they taught you or brewing coffee at the same time you cook because they taught you how nice those smells mix together.
Sometimes you're just waiting on the edge of a storm, wishing you hadn't spoken at all.