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Back from the Mountain Top

Exhaustion. Exhilaration. Too many words, experiences, and perceptions to process from the Denver pilgrimage.

I’ve long trained myself to give up expectations and end results, but this conference and the “the other part” far exceeded anything I might imagine.

The conference was fabulous. Details to follow. I’m still reverberating from Christina Baldwin’s opening keynote speech: “Restorying the World: How Journal Writing Can Heal the Future.” Her book, StoryCatchers should arrive in my mailbox any day now. (I flummoxed myself by carefully leaving no room in luggage for book purchases, but when the nice man at the counter told me he’d ship the books to me, well, I was overcome and bought a few).

“The other part” was a union/reunion of 13 of 30 of my closest e-mail friends from the past 12 years. People who by now know one another intimately. A few of us had met in person before, but we somehow picked ourselves out from the crowd.

It would be “over the top” to quote Walt Whitman here, but I’ll do it anyway, since the poem inserted itself into my mind:

“Among the men and women the multitude, I perceive one picking me out by secret and divine signs…Some are baffled, but that one is not–that one knows me.”

We hugged and ate and drank and storied together, and those who remained at home waited by their computers for news, and we at the conference, checked often for updates on an ailing spouse. Such a community!  

So home at last. Only today did I check the little kitchen garden. Sad, in dire need of assistance. And at work, I walked into a crisis situation yet to be resolved, so I’ve had little time to hold all these words in my heart.

I’ve usually called myself a listener. That’s what I do. That’s what I’ve always done. But in the last few months, I’ve changed my life’s work. I’m a story catcher. I listen to people’s life stories and send them on with summaries and recommendations.

Blessed be the stories, and blessed be the persons who tell them.

2 comments

1 Dora { 06.24.08 at 8:45 pm }

Ellen,
I’m glad that you were able to go to the conference. I would have loved to have been there as well. I know that you and a few of our mutual acquaintances from other lists were there and probably met up. I hope that you enjoy Storycatchers as much as I did. I still listen to Lifelines: How Personal Writing Can Save Your Life often. Actually, Storycatcher and Lifelines have similar concepts. C. was able to bring A. home today. I know that he will be more comfortable.

2 Books and Magazines Blog » Archive » Back from the Mountain Top { 06.24.08 at 10:41 pm }

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