Cheryl Strayed’s book, ‘Wild,’ is about bearing the unbearable while hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. But the five females I met tonight at Clearhart Place, the local battered women’s shelter, have Cheryl’s thousand-mile journey beat. I can’t tell you about their struggles, but we met up tonight for a 15-minute timed writing.
“Start,” I said, and the five women sighed and fought against the paper, visibly hating every second of the free write.
“I don’t know what to write about,” someone said, setting off a chain reaction of “me toos.” I kept my pen moving. No scratching out, I reminded myself, even as the woman next to me mumbled curses that wove into my own story. At the 10-minute mark, I relented and put down my pen, adding my own sigh.
“It’s time to read,” I said, and indicated “Maylinda” should start. That set off another flutter as the women shook their papers and heads. Finally Maylinda started to read and while I can’t tell you what she wrote, I can tell you it was good and real. And so was the next woman’s work, and all around the table. “That’s really good” and “I feel the same way,” they said to each other, and we sat in the wake, marveling at what happened.