“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.”
— James Baldwin
I have never recommended a book before finishing, until today. I am reading “Demon Copperhead,” by Barbara Kingsolver. And I hesitate here to even use the word reading – it doesn’t seem to be exactly right. Perhaps it’s more like “experiencing.” And for me, that’s when the author gets it right. When pages become doors. Words become feelings. Knowledge becomes empathy.
Empathy. I didn’t have the word for it then, when I began to write. But I can see it was the reason. As I read through poems I wrote for my mother. Scratches on paper. Childlike (well, I was a child) attempts at painting words on wood. All to let her know that I could feel what she was feeling. And I cared. We were, are forever, connected.
Once, I began selling my work throughout the country, it became ever so clear, we weren’t alone. People would hold a framed phrase in their hand and say, “This is so me!” And I would smile at my mother, she wearing the look, “Well, actually… it’s about me.” But that’s what connects us, you see – connects us all. And oh, what a comfort, what a joy, to be connected! It’s really all we have — it’s everything!
So I reach out daily. Offering my story, in hopes you will share yours. We are all here to tell a story.