she scribbled on a yellow pad in her lap,
sitting in my city, leading a workshop
of tentative writers, most of them
unsure about calling themselves writers.
A writer is someone who writes,
she’d declared long before, creating
the encouraging method she left us,
along with her own poems:
May you hear in your own stories
the moan of wind around the corners
of half-forgotten houses
and the silence in rooms you remember.
May you hear in your own poems
the rhythms of the cosmos,
the sun, the moon and the stars
rising out of the sea and returning to it.
Another woman more recently met
asked me to lead a writing group
for those in grief, a woman whose
mission in life is to offer resources
for those who’ve suffered great loss—
and isn’t that all of us?
And all the while, lost though you may be in the forest,
drop your own words on the path like pebbles…
After a year of writing together,
she made me a pendant with the last line
embedded in silver:
…and write your way home.
as we all are, keeping each other
company on the healing journey,
walking over rough stones toward
the great mystery, finding solace in
the outstretched hand of a stranger
who, step by precious step,
word after word after word,
becomes a friend.
—for Jill Batiansila, founder of Together We Heal, and for Pat, with much gratitude
—excerpts from “Blessing for a Writer” by Pat Schneider © 2022 by the estate of Pat Schneider; and from “Spelling” by Margaret Atwood © 1981, Simon and Schuster