© 2009 Karen Van Fossan
The motto of my life has finally appeared.
It all began (like much of my life) at the Seeds of Hope thrift store -- with Ruth Hauff, Eva Hartnett, and "Mrs. Walter Ell."
As far as I know, I've never actually met them. But at 50¢ a piece, their artwork is now on proud display in my office. They signed their work on the back (in Palmer-style script, of course), complete with Minot addresses.
How their art journeyed from the Minot City Art League to a thrift store here in Bismarck -- I can't begin to guess. But it brought me to my motto.
First, the "Celebration of Women and Their Music" in Fargo.
I saw Susan Phelan surf her upright bass, Brenda Weiler ache for her sister, Angie Stevens cast a spell of enchantment on every one of us, and Kris Kitko make us laugh our pants off.
Pants or not, I was getting closer to my motto.
Then there was today. Well, last night.
Lately, my nighttime ritual has been this:
1) Read passages from The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler.
2) Imagine myself in an ancient culture of peace and art and equality, where art by women, music by women, is everywhere and everything, the joy of life itself.
3) Cry myself to sleep. (Sometimes literally.)
Last night, as I did all this, I anticipated today -- and the adolescent girls' Creative Writing Group.
As their co-leader, what could I offer?
My training? Sure.
But what did I hope they might learn?
The girls wrote powerful pieces today, bravely giving them voice. And I was able, at last, to say these words:
We do not try to be brilliant. We try to be authentic.
In being authentic, we are brilliant.
My new motto.