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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

Writing Retreat: Day 5

You haven't missed Days, 2, 3, 4. They weren't written here, but they were written. We gave ourselves to the work of words this week, and I can't begin to tell how unimaginably beautiful and sacramental the work has been. Take these words with you. These were the words I had at the beginning of the week from my reading in the book of Hosea, and I did. I took those words, felt that sweet invitation hang before me, and I worked and worded, spending hours behind this computer screen, waking mornings to the cadence of words in my head and having to do exactly this. Sit and catch them. Like all beautiful and tender things, we do not well find the words to suit. But it is this morning, when I wake once more to the melody of that voice, that I cry. And realize. What at the beginning of the week had felt my invitation to sit in my workshop and do the job of smithing my words, was actually a sending out in the sweet goodness of my life. Not a workshop or bench, a table or chair. It was into the humus, the soil of my own life and memory, where I found better words. Gather up all that sweet goodness, and name it. And when you cannot, look up and remember from Whom it has fallen.

I've learned something about writing, how all of it, fundamentally, is, and the very end, a kind of found poetry.

That heals me in a new way.

I will probably, in the weeks ahead, set aside the 2, 784 words I've wrangled and pinned down. An introduction to a book it may one day be. I would be grateful to do that work and find that poetry. But if it do not, I now know that the humus is the greatest gift. Not the words.

Tomorrow morning I'll wake to the arms of the my husband and the noisy laughter of my children, and it will feel good and right.