Sunrise over Curtis Island
"Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stilled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Everyone, when they get quiet, when they become desperately honest with themselves, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there." Henry Miller
The Monday Club, Camden, Maine:
I was invited to speak at The Monday Club, an organization founded in 1885 to study and discuss “literature, art, science, and the vital interests of the day” Throughout the years and through all the changes in the world around them, ladies of the club have met in each other’s homes on Monday afternoons from November to April to present papers on the topic chosen for the year, followed by a tea complete with cucumber sandwiches and cookies.
The chosen topic for Monday Club for this year is letters. I read seven letters, from authors as diverse as Abigail Adams, Sigmund Freud, Henry Gates and George W Bush Sr. What I emphasized was writing from your authentic voice, whether it be light-hearted, such as Groucho Marx’ letter in the voice of his dog writing to his son, or more serious, as Rilke writing in a deep voice about what it is to be a writer. As I read, I asked the attendees to listen to the rhythm of the words – the music of the letter. The energy in the room changed according to what I read. When I quoted from Rilke’s Letters to a Young Poet, the room became quiet, people became thoughtful and went into themselves. Rilke spoke the truth and in doing so broke through each listener’s heart. I ended with Henry Miller’s quote (above) and invited all the members and their husbands to sit down and write to someone who was on their hearts.
Talking at the Monday Club
Members of the Monday Club listen with Graciousness
Write a letter to someone you know who has passed away. It could be a grandparent; it could be relative several generations back, or a close friend you lost as a teenager. . Imagine them and talk to them. Use your deep voice and speak from your heart and gut. Talk about your present life and ask for their advice. They are part of you and will speak to you.
Moon over Camden Harbor
Please feel free to
with your questions and exercises.