Truth Floats

My first conference. I sent my illustrations ahead, and packed my bag: a healthy infant ms, a First Page, a lunchbox and toothbrush. The most valuable thing I brought was humility.

I read my baby aloud, popped out questions, and kept my ears tuned to all stations: criticism and comments from editors, agents, authors and comrades. Because all opinions are ‘just one person’s opinion’.

That’s also how I reeled in a remark from author Chris Crutcher‘s opening keynote: truth floats. I was lucky to experience some of my own truth surface with agent Karen Grencik. I signed up for her post-conference session (or voice excavation!) because I went for it all, almost. Who knows when I’ll get to another conference. And truth floats, all right! The surprise was in learning all I needed to find mine was to trust in Karen’s evocative questionnaire – and unzip! The tissue box was passed around as we revealed our answers and shared our connections. She finally prompted us to create a poem, in 10 minutes, with: “I come from…”

Here is the raw and unpolished version of what I spilled:

I come from underneath the leaves,

golden, red and brown.

Lying still and layered

upon the sacred ground.

I come from the linear space,

between two walls of brick.

Muffled inside the layers,

silent, dark and thick.

I come from blossom’s bowel,

intoxicated with scent.

Quiet, still and waiting,

tucked in tight and bent.

We shared, and applauded our courage. Then it was all over, and time to head home. I drove north in a daze, drunk with all I had consumed. Tears waxed and waned with passing exit signs. Relief found me a good hour later, parked in front of my  house, and not at Canada’s border.

Still digesting. More to follow…

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47 thoughts on “Truth Floats

  1. Wow, what a profound and moving post — that poem is wonderful! I’m so glad this conference was a time of learning and growth for you. Isn’t it a gift to be able to be with other creative people? Thank you for sharing, Julie!

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  2. This is a deep poem – ten minutes, wow! Looking forward to your more… I really appreciate Karen Grencik, I am glad you had an opportunity to hear her. Humility was your secret weapon!

    Did you feel comfortable in what you wore?

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  3. ah! but i sense a stirring, coming from a very deep space, fresh wind that will whir the leaves and create something …wondrous …I can’t wait to see/read/experience more of what this conference gave birth to….that was already there of course.
    So good to read your account and poem and be glad for you.

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  4. Wow, what a lovely poem! I am really kind of scared of poetry, too. Glad to hear that Karen was such an inspiration to you. She is my agent and I feel so blessed to have her support and partnership along the publishing road.

    And you should definitely keep writing poetry!

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  5. I got chills reading this post Julie. It was so amazing to meet you, and now I love you even more. I can’t believe you don’t write poetry, as that poem is stunning, and moving, and gorgeous!

    I’m still digesting too, but I know it was the best conference I’ve attended so far.

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    • Your comment means a lot to me, Julie. I feel even more lucky having met you and laughed with you, to be part of this wonderful community you have brought together. I hope to see more of you before it’s time for the next conference!

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