I keep a folder — one of those manila-like tabbed folders with fancy birds on it — labeled Encouraging Words.

This week I’m feeling discouraged so I dug it out. Seems that it was last updated in 2012. Which is when I started it. There’s only a few things inside — an email from a writing instructor about an assignment I totally flubbed and one from my friend Sarah an about essay I wrote, a letter of recommendation written by my friend Sean, and 1995 article my best friend and I were interviewed in, written by Sara Sherr, thee rock journalist extraordinaire of my youth, at a Huggy Bear show.

A good start. But clearly in need of additions.

Which got me thinking about all the good words I’ve encountered in the past month, from various people in various places, and how they are saving my ass through this discouraging spell. Instead of giving up, I’m acknowledging that while some piece of my heart is still breaking over and over, I can still be open. I can still write. And I can definitely pass along these encouraging words to all of you.

“Your subconscious knows more than you do.”
Pam Houston, author, January 24, in a Hugo House class, Tennis Without A Net

“The biggest rule I’m going to break is to keep writing what I need to write.”
Natalie Diaz, poet, February 21, at the Hugo House Lit Series

“Permission granted.”
Karen Finneyfrock, poet and YA author, February 22, in her Hugo House class, Writing Toward the Dark Places 

“Write about the lost good thing.”
Kim Stafford, poet and memoirist, AWP Panel, Invisible Geography: Writing Trauma, Pain, and Loss

(Hey, there was a lot of Hugo House in there. You should check them out. Seriously. Inspiring. Place.)


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