September 18, 2016 — Lisa Barstow


When I was a teenager I began keeping little scraps of paper with my thoughts scrawled on them in what I called my “important drawer.”  An idea would pop into my mind that seemed worthy of remembering and I’d write it down on whatever I could find, fold it over so no one could see, and stuff it into a tiny drawer in my desk.  After awhile, the drawer became too full and I bought a large manila envelope to put them in.  It didn’t feel safe exposing myself to others in this way so I kept them hidden, and therefore a part of myself was hidden as well.  I didn’t know it then but writing on those tiny pieces of paper was the way in which I began to sort myself out.  Finally, I graduated from scraps of paper to journals when my first husband was diagnosed with colon cancer, and I had filled several of them by the time he died.  Spirit sent me prompts every day.  Fear, grief, anger and fury at the disease…a range and depth of feelings I had never encountered before and I wrote them down, or as many as I dared.  Writing about my feelings began to heal the wounds.  Not just the bleeding of widowhood but all the early wounds that had only scabbed over and never totally healed.  One tiny flick, the scab was off, and the blood was flowing again.  Writing sent air to heal the places where the wound was the deepest.

Now, many years later, the writing life continues to help me find my voice. I like to be listened to, and in turn, to listen to the unique voices of others.’  I find that writing connects us to each other and to the truth of who we are.  Whether one writes poetry, fiction or non-fiction it can be the portal into a whole new world.