For the next few weeks, we are sharing writing that happened during AWA’s weeklong marathon of writing workshops, Write Around the World. This is one way we are celebrating the AWA-certified workshop leaders & writers who joined together to raise money in support of AWA. Thank you to those who shared their voices in each workshop and especially to those who have offered their words to be shared in this space. If you’re inspired by our work and would like to be part of the fundraiser, please donate!

Write Around the World with Amherst Writers & Artists

Writing from Sharing Our Voices on Paper in Keene, NH led by Diana Damato


(“I don’t have a pill for that,” the doctor said.)

(Said in one breath) Hello, doctor, I’ve been so wanting to see you but I’ve been so busy – the kids have after school sports and my husband joined the gym and so I have to be the one to drive the kids to all their activities and then I have to get home in time to make supper for everybody, but I’ve been feeling like something’s not quite right since I hardly get any sleep from worrying about all our bills and if we can afford to send our kids to college or not and I haven’t had time to shop at the farmer’s market, so we’ve had to eat mostly packaged convenience foods, or drive-thru fast foods and I’m feeling like I just have no time for myself and lately I’ve been kind of head-achy and nervous, like something bad is about to happen—can you help me?

—Sandra Littel


(What has been let go…)

In January I walked into Target department store in search of a 2017 desk calendar that I would
need to keep myself organized. This was not the beginning of my quest; however, I fervently hoped it would be the end.

My criteria was:
1. Small, but not too small, and with a colorful cover, thus preventing temporary loss in the organized chaos of my desk.
2. View of the month and each week utilizing a simple format.
3. Area within each day to make notes – at least a square inch in size

It is amazing that I found it! It actually exceeded my expectations!
• At the top of the page of the weekly view is a line labeled “Weekly Intention.” Wow, that seems almost spiritual.
• New to each day is an area for a “daily gratitude.” A very positive message for me.
• The cover is bright and cheery contemporary orange flowers and there is an orange silk ribbon for the current page marker.

I love it! Every Monday I look at the week that is beginning, then flip to the month and then go to the next week so that I really am aware of the way my life is unfolding.

Today is Monday. Looking our my kitchen window while sipping my morning coffee I notice the seasonal mid-October New England weather is here, with gardens to put to bed for the winter, summer deck furniture to put away and colorful fall leaves to rake.

I gaze at my calendar and begin in the section, “Weekly Intention.” I sigh. I write, “Let go of the responsibility of repainting my picket fence.” “Until springtime,” I quietly whisper to myself.

—Bonnie Rill


(“I don’t have a pill for that,” the doctor said.)

There are so many things that don’t have quick or easy cures. In fact, the quick and easy fix isn’t always the answer to the things that gnaw at our minds and souls, and maybe even subtly express themselves in our bodies.

Antibiotics may help an infection. Insulin will hopefully stabilize a diabetic. Oxygen is vital to people with COPD or emphysema.

But what medicine can feed the all-encompassing yearning for spiritual growth? Where is the cure for a spouse desolate over the loss of a partner, or a mother over her lost child? What miracle cure could help permanently paralyzed people flee the prison of an immovable body, allowing them to run or swim or walk in the woods?

Without an easy way to escape these unhappy circumstances, we are given the opportunity to turn away from external answers and find ourselves looking within. Even then we need limitless patience to find our own cure. Or perhaps, if we are lucky, something inside us will find us.

It might be said that, in some situations, staying away from doctors and medicine helps us draw on our innate ability for deep self-cure.

—Pat Campbell


(“I don’t have a pill for that” the doctor said.)

Blood pressure raised after hurrying to her doctor’s appointment, late as usual, Natalie sunk into the deep brown leather couch awaiting her call. “Oh, I hope he doesn’t weigh me again!” she thought. Drifting off finally into the reverie of The National Geographic, she lost herself.

Abruptly, the door swung open and “Natalie Smith” was shouted out by the LPN who escorted her down the long, many-doored corridor to a room on the left. The door closed gently. Miss LPN proceeded with medicine updates, took Natalie’s BP, which was high, and asked her to step on the scale!

“Really!” she cried, I was just here 2 months ago!”

“Yes, yes, it’s protocol.” So Natalie removed her sweater, shoes and eyeglasses and crept on the scale, leaning left to forestall the bad news. “Up 2 pounds” Miss LPN mumbled!

Following a brief, painful interlude, a knock on the door then ushered in Dr. Feinstein. “Natalie, how are you? What brings you here today?”

“Well, Doctor, I have a problem. I hope you can prescribe a pill or something for me.”

“Yes” Dr. Feinstein cooed, “What seems to be your problem?”

Natalie sat up and blurted it out, “I am always perpetually late, doctor. I’ve tried everything. My sister kids me that I’ll be late for my own funeral! Can you help me, Doctor?”

Dr. Feinstein took a deep breath, rubbed his chin and sat down so he could be eye-level with her. “Natalie, I don’t have a pill for that!” he said rather deliberately!!

—Mary Pleasanton


(What has been let go …) – Haiku

I am letting go
Unnecessary baggage
Breathing freedom in

—Judy Skeels


(What has been let go …)

There was so much grasping early on. Clutching on to strands of security that grew more tenuous as tension arose. Holding tight to what felt solid: long-time friends who were growing up, wise old trees on familiar paths, and a four-legged floppy-eared love without limits.

Later, the letting go began. Goodbye, my sister and goodbye, my home. Goodbye innocence and goodbye to what seemed simple.

Speed and turmoil, twists and turns, upside-down and inside-out. Finding the way without a map.

Finally arriving home. Partner, children, birthdays, school, homework, travel, time slip-sliding by.
Here comes 50. Goobye, youth. Children grown and off they go.

Nothing lasts. We watch the river flow.
Along the way, we learn

Let go.

—Diana Damato


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