There is So Much to Sing About

Spring is here, and I have so much news to share, it’s hard to know where to begin. I hear the spring peepers at night and want to say, “Yes! Exactly! There is so much to sing about!” When I hear them, they are not only a sign of spring, they are unapologetic. The peepers peep without making a peep about their peeping.

Say what?

We’ve all been to an author reading where the writer discredits their own work before reading. Tempting though it may be, this is – for obvious reasons – not a great thing to do. It’s also not fair to the writer, the peeper hidden within, who is about to come out and read from their latest manuscript.

Peepers don’t offer disclaimers: I’m about to peep. What you need to know before I begin peeping is that I’m not at my best because I’ve been silent all winter, so this probably won’t sound very good, but here goes anyway.

Last week, I spent seven enriching days with the Guild Members of WRITEABILITY, plus Team Members Deb & Terri and Board Member Genevieve Waller, at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Tennessee. We had author readings every single night of the residency, and not a single writer disclaimed their work. Each person approached the podium, engaged with the audience, and owned their words. Whether reading for the first time in their lives, or for the eightieth, this crew nailed their readings. I didn’t hear a single piece of writing that wasn’t publishable, and I didn’t see a single writer who didn’t know how to show up for themselves with confidence and discernment. And you know what? That’s the way it should be. Because when a writer gives a reading, they are letting themselves be seen and understood in a very life-affirming, spirited way.

As I write about those Guild Members, I find myself longing to know more about you, fellow readers of this blog. In what ways do you want to be seen and understood? If you could peep without disclaiming or discrediting yourself – peep like you were born to – what would you say?

I’ll go first, no disclaimers, and I hope you’ll COMMENT BELOW about the provocations at the end of this post, so I can read about your own victories that capture your moments of being seen and understood in this life. For now, here are few things have have made me feel that way, this spring:

→The week I wrapped up my 7-month-long intensive mentoring and teaching for the year, writer and teacher Helen Raica-Klotz said this to me in an email: “Monthly Mentorship is so carefully scaffolded and well-designed, and the faculty’s ability to keep track of all of us and our writing goals is stunning. This is a writing community where everyone can feel connected to one another – even in the remote world of Zoom meetings. This course helped me feel like a creative writer – a real creative writer.”

→Just this morning, keeping my promise to myself to write 30 minutes daily before River wakes up, I forced one shitty sentence after another and stumbled upon this: “My girlfriend Itzel worked for a conservancy that summer, and she knew exactly where to take me. We were able to paddle within thirty feet of an Agami Heron. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.” This is a character named Brian, who is married to my protagonist Judy. They’re chatting with some friends when Brian reveals this life-changing experience he had. It’s small, in a way. But it’s enough to unnerve Judy, who never knew Brian had been to Guatemala, let alone had a girlfriend abroad. It’s not a transgression on their marriage – which is sturdy and well-established. But it is a needling moment of self-doubt for Judy, and that, as it turns out, will be enough to set her spinning in a plot-worthy direction I had not thought of before I let myself write those shitty sentences this morning.

→Brad morel hunts this time of year, and on a recent excursion through the woods, he found (yet another) stand of dead Ash trees. The blight killing them is so pervasive, and so sad. Brad hadn’t found any mushrooms on this particular day, but his heart stopped at the sight of these Ash trees. He walked up to one and hugged it tightly. When he opened his eyes, the morels were there.

→After facilitating and participating in the annual WRITEABILITY residency in Tennessee, Guild Member Nora Robinson sent me a late-night text message: “Katey, I need to make sure that you know that what you have created here for writers is unique and special and incredible. You’re using your life as a force to do so much good in this world. I deeply, deeply appreciate you and this Guild. How can I live my life with such integrity and intentionality? I’m thinking about it.”

→River caught a 14” smallmouth bass last week and, in reporting the details to me over the phone, exclaimed: “Mommy, the fish was so strong I thought it was a robot! I had to hold on to the rod so tight, my armpit muscles started hurting!” (Maybe that’s the fish being seen and understood? Or my son? Or both? In any case, he caught the fish, then released it.)

Being seen and understood happens when the yearning in our hearts shines forth, expressing itself in the tangible world. It’s an alchemical occurrence, and if you’re like me and you believe that what you pay attention to in this life is what will grow, then it’s all the more important to name these occurrences for what they are, and let our hearts expand exponentially.

I want to know what makes your heart sing like the spring peepers! I hope you’ll comment below or write to me, and fill me in, no disclaimers:

  • Share something with me that someone said about you (or did for you), that made you feel seen and understood.
  • What news do you have that makes your heart feel lightest?
  • Is there an area of your life (or writing) that you never really let yourself own? What do you suppose might be holding you back?


Are you on my newsletter list? When you sign up, you’ll get my monthly questions and you’ll also receive the 5 S’s Applied to Story downloadable PDF. I send emails approximately every month with mini craft essays, special notices, early-bird registrations, and announcements for subscribers only. No spam, ever; and your email address is never shared. Sign up here.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.