Listen to this

Routines. Destroyed. It doesn’t take much. Illness will do it. Travels. Busy-ness. Out of town guests are pretty good for it. Combine one or two of the above, and you’ve got a nice recipe. Fortunately, no one here was ill. But we had the disruption that comes with someone from out of town. Oh, lack of sleep doesn’t help. There’s plenty to share in that, but it’s not for today.

We had a lovely weekend. It was full of good conversation. Good food. Lovely sites. Good wine. It was wonderful. And it was deeply disruptive to keeping up with this little project, as well as simply staying in touch with my thoughts. With words.

But that’s not fully honest (if I’m being fully honest). Writing has become a bit of a second thought lately, even as I’ve tried to think of it as a main act. It’s become something that I’m rushing toward. Like now. Recently, I saw a Twitter thread talking about how one of the downfalls of the internet is good writing. The kind of writing that takes time. That takes some real effort. The author of the thread was talking about how people just write some stuff, and then post it with little-to-no editing or tweaking. Ah,” I thought, that’s me.” That’s what I’ve been doing.

More work is necessary to get good. To find a real voice that reflects what is trying to be said. Yes. This is true.

And there’s something else.

Another thing that’s necessary is an audience. Is a listening ear. A place in which to speak. For if we are speaking into a not-listening space, we are not being pulled to say the things we need to say in the way we need to say them. During this wonderful weekend, I ended up in a couple of conversations about the history of whiteness in this country. I found myself articulating things in a way that seemed to really land with the people I was speaking with. Both of them complemented me on how I articulated things. Reflecting, though, I wonder how much their listening played a roll in my articulation. More than a little bit, I suspect.

Let’s not underestimate the power of the listening ear. The power of the audience.

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Turning toward… Today I heard a man who spent 28 years behind bars speak. He spoke of his recognition of a second chance. He spoke of how his children “made him