Folks around here say something I’ve come to love, a word that seems to me to stand in for a panoply of things. It’s the word well. (I should write it like this: weeell. To hear it correctly, be sure to drag it out and make it multisyllabic, kind of like “wail” turned into “way-el.”)
I used to think that it was an introductory word, leading to something else. But it’s not. It’s a thing unto itself. In fact, I think it is a word of solidarity, like if you’re sharing something that you’re going through that is hard, someone might respond with “Well.” And that’s it.
So, Friday and Saturday found me hanging out with an amazing group of creative writers at the Kentucky Women Writers Conference. It was a great time. Encouraging. Inspiring. Reminding me of all the things I do love about being a creative writer. Ah, yes.
But there was this one woman, a fellow conference attendee, who fate would have it ended up sitting with me at lunch on Friday and being part of my small-group poetry workshop. I refuse to go into details here about the situation, partially because I have already vented to more people than it is polite to admit, but let me just tell you that she drove me so crazy that, trying to deal with how much I was seething after interacting with her, I drafted a poem called, “I can not be Jesus to her.”
I’m not kidding.
Friends, I spend a lot of time writing here at Texas Schmexas about encounters I have with strangers and the beautiful glimpses of community we can have if we are willing to slow down and pay attention to the world around us. I do.
But, people, what else is there to say? Sometimes I can’t do it!
I’m not looking for sympathy or encouragement. Really. I don’t want to hear, “Now, certainly you can’t love everybody, Elizabeth, and you normally do such a good job at this, so don’t beat yourself up over it.” Please, please don’t tell me that.
A little solidarity would be nice.
Maybe a “Well…” or two?