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  • Writer's pictureShana Ritter


We go away to get closer to ourselves. Outside our regular lines of time, the dimensions of our days are able to shift and we can refit to our own rhythms, and get attuned to what we choose when we are not operating on well worn roads of actions and reactions.

I am in Ireland at a writing conference and chose to come back to the cottage I am sharing early, happily alone. I lit a fire, had something to eat and didn’t turn on the TV or the stereo. I am on my second cup of tea. My third piece of writing and have a book ready for me when I tire of output and am ready to take words in. In Dublin for two days before I was polite in all my interactions but didn’t seek out any conversation, I did look for words though, visiting the Book of Kells, the long room above it and walking the streets, stopping at Bewley’s for tea and later at a pub for a half pint of black and tan, I listened to the lilt of conversations. On the streets I head people speaking in Spanish from Madrid, English from England and of course many more from Dublin and the were intricacies of accents I couldn’t discern. After I went to The Abbey and saw a play called Silence in which one man spoke fro over 90 minutes telling the story of another and staying completely connected with the audience the whole time.

I rediscover my listening self. The young girl who would lie for hours listening to conversations drifting in from other room when she was supposed to be asleep.  The young teenager who listened for hours to the same 45s over and over along with few LPs on the record player in her room, alone. The young woman who travelled on her own listening to the groups around her. This is not to say I never had conversations or never had friends but rather my own tides take me into a drift of listening, of really listening to the world around me.

It’s from this listening, from actually hearing, that I learned the power of words, from listening that I understood that the world is not made of atoms, but of stories (Muriel Rukeyser)

 I am listening and getting ready to write it down.

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