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And so they write... seeking the voice of practice
Ten individuals gather in a green round room surrounded by a recently manicured lawn. Some sit on the floor; a few on couches or chairs either holding a pad and pen, or cradling laptops; and others at a rectangular table facing computer screens or somewhere deep in space. It is a bright but humid summer day. Other than the sound of an oscillating fan creating waves of chart paper, and the click-clack of the keyboard, the room is silent. The subject of the gathering is the quest to capture and do justice to the writer within. Several of us have written extensively. For some, that writing has been confined to the private and personal. For others, like me, it has centered on the conventional professional genres.
This writing feels different. It comes from a place where mind, body and soul are integrated and is informed by a shared curiosity about what we can say about the professional selves we don’t get to share, and sometimes, think about in conscious ways. We share a commitment to uncover the voice of the practitioner and to lend it all the richness and credibility it deserves. We strive to reveal first in our minds, and then in the shared discourse around our thoughts, the fluid and context-laden essence of our craft. We have decided to let the emotions and ideas that lie within to define the genre that will house them, rather than imprison them inside a specific and well defined mold. Stories, poems, portraits, vignettes, letters, essays begin to emerge, intertwined with questions. What do I know that I trust to be true? What do I know that deserves to be known by others?How do I convey the essence of an understanding that continues to unfold? How much of the particular matters to others?
I too, ask myself these questions, wondering what could happen to the substance and the style of my writing and work if I decide to have form follow function. It is so much easier to let form carve the way into communication, even though the few instances in which I have given myself permission to let form unravel on its own have been most satisfying. I realize how such permission lies within; how I, like others, trap myself into conventions and practices that narrow the boundaries of my voice and limit my ability to fully communicate my craft.
Would those who listen to me learn more about what I know and how I know if I opened the meaning-making world within me? I dare say yes, only because I too would benefit from understanding how other practitioners think about what they know, how they manage the urgent and the mundane, how the rhythm of their routines focuses their attention, how they reconcile obligations, convictions and responsibilities.
And so, with the conviction that writing is as much permission to think and feel as much as it is to write, I allow myself and invite others to write from within…