When Women Gather
Eve’s Night Out is a whopping success. We have fourteen readers and run for two and a half hours, audience totaling twenty. Precisely in the middle of Nowhere, Appalachia, this is no small feat. This time, more women come from BigCity, NC. Others come from Tennessee. A new member arrives who has just moved from the Midwest. A teenage girl reads under the graceful blessing of her poet-mother. An older mother reads from her memoir.
Britt, the hostess of the evening, holds up fresh-off-the-press copies of the March issue for Western North Carolina Woman, which is publishing seven authors from Eve’s Night Out in this month’s issue. The March theme is Peace, and for years Eve’s Night Out has been paying homage to this concept, this vision, this hope-thread belief in the end of war and the acceptance of all people. Seeing seven of our regular readers in print in the name of Peace affirms this hope-thread, connecting it into the larger quilt of the writing, activist community and validating our work.
Redboots gives me my birthday present on the sly, having forgotten to bring it last month. “I’m old now, that’s what happens,” she says. I chuckle to myself; this coming from the same woman who cautioned that “Every woman writer has a demon lover.” I open the purple wrapping carefully and set the green ribbon aside. A tiny piece of white tissue paper is wrapped around a pink crystal heart. The note reads: “I believe you will realize your HEART’S desires as a WRITER.” I know immediately that I will hang the heart in the window above my writing desk as a reminder; her support is worth its weight in gold.
When all is said and done, Tia comes over for a glass of wine and we finally get to talk outside of the shrine room (we know each other from my Buddhist community). Tia is naturally warm and welcoming, with a broad smile and soft white skin. Her hair is light charcoal grey but falls youthfully in layers around her face, the longest hairs just barely touching her shoulders. She is a yet another poet-mother-wife who has come into my life and simply amazes me with the degree of calm and comfort she has with herself.
It is nice, finally, to have a writer friend also versed in the dharma (the teachings). She asks if I know who the Buddhist guy with the “grey hair, big football player neck, sweet smile” is and I nod. Then I ask if she’s met the “eternally chapped-lips, tall-skinny intelligent man,” and she shakes her head no, she hasn’t.
When we are at our best, this is how writers can talk to each other – stating how we really see things in the world. It is not a matter of judgment – hardly – it is strictly a matter of description, of the movement of words, of the impression that an image makes on the brain and how that gets translated into adjectives. What I find so comforting is that with another writer, there is no need to disclaim any of this. We share the same love affair with language, drink from the same well of words, play in the same palace of perspectives. And when I tell Tia that I have trouble translating the Buddhist concept of “suffering” into more poetic terms, she understands immediately what I’m getting at.
Britt calls to say she cannot come over for a drink and is on her way home.
“This is our one year anniversary of writing together and knowing each other!” I shout, a little too loudly into the phone. “I love you!”
“I love you too!” she replies.