Thursday, March 03, 2011

The Wisdom of Walker: Waiting

In her 1987 talk to Spelman College students entitled "Oppressed Hair Puts a Ceiling on the Brain," Alice Walker shed some light on the painful growth periods we experience.

With age and experience, you will be happy to know, growth becomes a conscious, recognized process. Still somewhat frightening, but at least understood for what it is. Those long periods when something inside ourselves seems to be waiting, holding its breath, unsure about what the next step should be, eventually become the periods we wait for, for it is in those periods that we realize we are being prepared for the next phase of our life and that, in all probability, a new level of personality is about to be revealed.

And so I wait. It seems right that it's still wintry weather outside, but with the sun breaking through the cloud cover just before sunset, making the days seem inch by minute a little longer, that maybe my new life is waiting for Spring to let me know what I've been in waiting for. (I'm dying for warm, dry weather, to go to a garden / patio party.) I write letter after cover letter for jobs ranging from answering phones and setting wake-up calls at posh hotels to executive assisting at a conservancy society. I continue to let the latest experiences in Kosovo germinate and compost in my mind and soul before I process them in writing. To find, as Adam Hochschild wrote, "ways that the outer journey can mirror an inner journey. That is not only what good travel writing is about; it's what life is about."

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