G. Lynn Nelson, Writing and Being


At Roanoke College I was lucky enough to come across the book Writing and Being: Taking Back Our Lives Through the Power of Language. The author, G. Lynn Nelson, visited our campus and took part in a “Drive-by Sharing” in which his Native American students from ASU read some of their most intimate and powerful pieces inspired by the book. My amazing professor, Dr. Mike Heller, had already been teaching us from Writing and Being and to hear their examples first-hand was awe-inspiring. I guess you could say this is where it all began for me on my journey in writing and healing… Here are some of my favorite excerpts:

“I only wrote when I thought I had something to say…Now, I write to find out what I have to say. The point is: for things to happen, you must write…It is the most important relationship of your life. It determines all others.” (pg. 22)

“If I do not seek quietness around me, I cannot hear the words that my heart whispers.” (pg. 50)

“We tell our stories first in anger, then in letting go, and finally in love—the freeing love for our fathers and for ourselves.” (pg. 66)

“To write the stories of your past is to change your life in the present.” (pg. 96)

“As we do our journal work and come together to share open and honest messages with each other…we discover one terrible/wonderful truth: We have all been, and we all shall be, wounded by life. There is no choice in the matter. It is an inescapable condition of living. Despite the fairy tales, no lives “happily ever after.” So the question is not whether we will be wounded by life. We will be. The question is: How do we respond to our wounding? What do we do with our wounds? For beyond our wounding lies our power and our salvation…we can choose to hide our wounds and pretend and go on bleeding throughout our lives—or we can tell the stories of our wounding…and we can heal ourselves.” (pg. 105)

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