In their own words: writing by workshop participants

Sunday, April 20, 2003

Excerpt from Melanie Jones' journal entry on her great-grandmother, who lived on a Navajo reservation:

"She would wake as the new day arrived, and I'd watch her say a morning prayer as the sun would rise.

She sprinkled corn pollen and prayed in Navajo. I could smell the wood as she built a fire. She cooked breakfast over an open fire. She started her day in the most peaceful way. She had water stored in barrels and gave me a drink. I didn't understand the words she spoke, but I understood her when I looked in her loving eyes. She'd take me out to feed the sheep. I'd get a special lamb to feed a bottle to.

My great-grandmother always smelled sweet. I'd sit on her lap and she'd hold my hand as the lamb would suckle. I remember her weaving beautiful rugs in the shade of a tree. Sitting upon the earth, she would speak to me, telling me about the meaning behind her weave. I didn't understand then, but I do now. I wish I had a rug she wove herself into."

Excerpts from Karen Singer's journal entry about what can be found in her journal:

My journal holds all that is not who I am but what I should have been.

The contents are disappointing to me because what I've become is more comfortable than what I should have been.

You'll first find the principles that shaped my character, or so others think. There are trials I've emerged from, and there are aspirations I've never had but was told I should have.

Very often I write in code, so should anyone try to journey through the pages they find not meaning in what pen has put to paper.

If they should find the real me there, they would surely think me something different than who I desire them to perceive.

My journal gives no escape from reality, nor does it fulfill promises.

Instead, it's purpose is to expose the true self that each of us possess and expose it to only the one who is in search of it.

Back in the Day

By Sandra Jean McCarren

I have seen again but what from old postcards? River banks to storage the boats, like arms around them, back in the day before spin doctors, Jihad, welfare, Archie Bunker - whom everyone said was nothing like Carroll O'Connor.

Back before Michael broke his collar bone...twice. Michael, my brother. Back in the day under Eisenhower and Nixon. Kids had transistor radios and AM was cool. No one had heard of Vietnam. Everyone now wishes they had never heard of Vietnam.

Black and white boats from old postcards, like the color of neighborhoods and TV and telephones. Back in the day when log cabins came in a can. Dad wasn't drinking anything harder than Black Label beer. Back when the snow was up to my knees: the interstate was as big and wide as it was cold. Moreover, the things I would learn were beginning to call me.

I reckon I'll spend some time here and be happy just to have made it this far.