by Alexia LaFortune
Kotodama no sakiwau kuni: “the land where the mysterious workings of language bring bliss.” It takes courage for me to write. Dara Marks calls it the “feminine heroic.” It takes grit and trust to descend into the darkness. To remember, to discover. To surrender into the dark language between body and soul and wrest illumination. To create. This is unlike the pattern of the hero’s journey.
The feminine heroic follows a different path. Less direct. More mysterious. Often in fits and starts. I write not to overcome obstacles or for great achievement. I write for connection and communion, initially with myself, and then for relatedness with others. When I can quiet the voices in my head, the critic, the editor, then writing can transcend the wrangling, the sweaty, the infuriating; when I can open myself fully to receive the alchemical power of words, I have experienced an ecstasy like no other. And once in a very great while, that happens.
And to read! The pleasure, the joy, the salvation, if you will, of reading the books of women authors. The tactile heft of these books, the visual feast, the rhythms and melodies of their stirring language. Stories that capture and captivate. Stories that break my heart then fill me with awe and courage. Stories that make me laugh out loud. Stories that resonate, that inspire, that say to me: this is how I live, this is how I order the universe. How I find meaning and purpose. Take this gift. I know you. You are not alone.
Participating in the Milford Readers and Writers Festival allows me to continue the quest. To collaborate with women who expose their souls, who craft words that uplift, educate, encourage and communicate with other women, supporting them to engage in their own search for the feminine heroic. And I will share my story. Women writing for women.