Today, as I do every Friday, I went to the Friday Feedback Group. Eleven women sat in a loose circle in one member’s living room, our packets of writing materials at our feet, a cup of tea at our elbow.
Each of us has an on-going project: mystery, fiction, and memoir. Mine is one chapter after another of the memoir I’m writing about The Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament, a walk across the United States from Los Angeles to New York and completed in Washington DC, in 1986. Twenty five years ago. I’m reliving a pivotal time in my life.
My goal is to write it so clearly, so passionately, so focused that others will want to read it. The Feedback Group helps. I bring copies of the chapter to the meetings, others take their copy home to read and make comments. The following week, they return with their copy and we discuss those suggestions.
Today, several of them wanted more individualized and detailed descriptions of the four hundred fellow Marchers. Others wanted me to express my emotions. “I see you trailing across the Mojave Desert. I don’t see how you felt, what you were thinking about. Did you have doubts? Did you ever feel you’d made a mistake in joining the Peace March? When were you frightened? How did you feel?”
One woman in our group is only about ten years younger than I. The rest are a generation younger and suggest I include more emotion. They don’t understand that when I was a child, girls were never encouraged to express their feelings. We were to be nice. Not call attention to ourselves. Be seen, not heard. Not to make a fuss or demands. Eighty-three years later, I find expressing my emotions a challenge. My seventy-year-old friend understands. We are thrilled with the change that has occurred in only one generation. Women will be heard! That means as girls they were heard!
With the help of the women in the Friday Feedback Group, I am learning. In a group, we are heard. We are not only seen, we are HEARD! I am so excited about this movement toward peace and equality among people, I could focus pages of writing on that alone.
Do you belong to a group of writers? How do you FEEL about it?