Sunday, March 11, 2012

Candle, Chime and Women's Stories

The magic of rituals is associated with renewal, celebration and spiritual connection.

In a story-telling circle of women, ritual  honors the sacred voice of the feminine experience.

A circle is a contained area.  It holds the emotional and intellectual aspects of writing.  "If I think about it (the writing) too much, it doesn't work," one woman said of why she resists editing and revision.  Another writer honors her inner voice.  "I'm always editing even as I write," she said. 

No matter what the intent or method, the frame of reference is the Circle.  It holds a collage of voices, experience and exploration. 

The candle symbolizes the dedication to our journey. As the candle burns in the center of our Circle, we shut out the distractions of an outside world that often attacks the introspection of the woman's emotional life.

At this month's Women's Writing Circle, we added a chime to our ritual.  As our group of storytellers grows, we have a lot of reading to pack into a brief two and a half hours. This month's read-around was the largest ever with 15 writers gathering at Wellington Square, a bookshop tucked behind trees in suburban Philadelphia.

Each writer gets 10 minutes to read or ask what she wants from the listening audience.  When her time is up, I strike the chime.  It is a  melodious signal . . .  a huge  improvement over me announcing  in a loud voice, "Time is up!"   Many thanks to Jan for donating the chime  to the Writing Circle.

The magic of our group yesterday resonated in stories and poems. What brings us to the Circle?  What story to tell?  

We light the candle.  We begin our journey. The women read about a snowfall on a still and silent night; the loss of a beloved pet in his final hour; a couple's "mysterious chemistry"; a woman going to work, but not understanding purpose anymore; a husband and wife whose marriage is a duty, not a joy; a woman who remembers a home where the things left unsaid were often the loudest - "a slammed door, a shriek of car brakes."

 It is the "ordinary" in our day-to-day lives that lifts us to the extraordinary art of capturing life. The magic of candles and chimes enhances this.  Together we share a sacred journey.


Anonymous said...

I can't say it enough...I had a super time this past Saturday and can't wait to see everyone again soon. I hope this beautiful weather is being enjoyed. Who knows how long it will last???

Candice Swick

Susan G. Weidener said...


Thank you.

We look forward to seeing you again for the April 14th read-around. Also, our critique group meets March 31. Welcome to our circle. Loved your writing!


Mallory's Hollywood East said...

You are gracious to organize such an event and keep the spirit alive of the independent woman writer.

Susan G. Weidener said...

Thank you, Carole.

So much in writing comes down to feeling comfortable with finding our voices as women. I think it was Elaine who said, "When I come here (to the Circle), I'm not quite as odd a duck as I feel."

Anonymous said...

Energy. Magical. What's a happy heart? I can't explain it, but I know how I felt all day after leaving Saturday's session.