"The power of women united, I am again reminded, is an invincible thing."
Sarah Strohmeyer (Sweet Love)
I was surfing through the movie channels a few days ago and stopped on a documentary that I found interesting. I came in late and was only half listening so I don't know the name of the movie or what channel it was on. I've tried to find it again to no avail.
The show was about a group of women, Jewish, Muslim and Bedouin, who came together to get to know each other and discuss their differences as well as their similarities. In the part I saw all the women were sitting in a circle. A Jewish woman started the conversation by saying she was glad to be there but saw little point in it. She doubted if standing at a bus stop any of the women would speak to each other. She had no use for the politics of the Arab women. There was dialog going on but the tension in the circle was palpable. I was watching from the comfort of my living room yet I was uncomfortable with the unspoken conflict in the women's circle. It's no big surprise that I am easily unnerved with raised voices and loud differences of opinion.
Later on in the movie there was a scene that I just loved. Things eased up a bit as the women got to know each other. As the time went on the group slowly became more cohesive. The ladies began to relate to each other on a woman to woman basis rather than religious or political. For me, this is where the magic began to happen. Some Middle Eastern music - Jewish? Arab? - began to play. As women are often wont to do, they began to dance. At first each lady just kind of swayed to the beat. Eventually, however, they got into the groove. With swiveling hips, swaying arms, fast moving feet and smiling faces they began to let themselves feel the music. Each woman was in tune with that moment in time. Gradually the dance took on an almost sacred motion of feminine communion. I thought to myself we all boogie to our own song yet the heart's symphony is a universal one.
I had that same feeling as I sat around a large table this morning at Panera's getting reacquainted with my writing group. Like the first day of school after summer vacation we each had tales to tell of our holiday adventures, or misadventures. Over tea (and a bear claw for me) we caught up on the each others' news then moved right onto some exercises aimed at re-training our writing muscles that may have become sluggish over the break.
It was fun to see how quickly we loosened up. Budding friendships picked up where they left off. We all congratulated one of the members who proudly showed us a copy of a magazine with her article in it. We clapped our hands in delightful envy as our leader described the writing/speaking engagements she has lined up. We embellished old memories with sound effects and laughter.We discussed writing goals - or lack thereof. It felt good - really good. There's something to be said for women working in community. Given the chance I bet we could change the world.
I had to leave early but not before expressing how much this group means to me. It's been a year since I've opened myself up to these strangers. Yet I trust them with the most intimate part of me - my thoughts and my words. They are quick to critique or make suggestions for improvement but it's always done with a dollop of love. I'm always a little shy in the beginning, but by the time I leave this group I'm full of anticipation and ideas, as you can probably tell from this three part post. Some people Twitter, I'm more of a chapter girl.
Just as the skies opened up and the rain came down it was time for me to back up my pad and pencils. Our assignment is to collect everything we wrote last year and organize them, and all the revisions neatly in a three ring binder. I knew it was going to be like the first day of school. My inner child can hardly wait to go shopping for school supplies. I'll get a new notebook, some paper clips, a highlighter, some index cards and a Sharpie or two. I do most of my writing on the computer and have no need for new Sharpies, but good Lord, have you seen the selection lately? It's enough to make a girl swoon.
At the beginning of every September for as long as I can remember certain things have occurred to make me feel complete. Celebrating my daughter's birthday at the end of summer is a way to transition from long, lazy days to the frantic pace of the coming holidays. A few weeks before the Halloween/Christmas decorations arrive on store shelves there is an abundance of school supplies. I love to walk down aisles crammed with the accouterments of learning. I would have been lost in the days of a slate board and a piece of chalk. Finally, my creative juices begin to flow at the start of the fall season. Whether it be sewing, knitting, baking or writing I seem to come alive with ideas. Who knows maybe this will be the year I write something and have the nerve to send it out for publication. (That sounds suspiciously like a goal to me!)
Wishing for you time spent with creative ladies who like to dance,