Writing and Healing: What a Poet and a Nature Writer Tell Us

by Matilda Butler on September 6, 2016

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #115 – Memoir Writing and Healing – Matilda Butler




memoir and healing

A Concert and a Poem

A few months ago, I attended a concert performed by the Corvallis-OSU Symphony Orchestra called The Final Frontier, which had an emphasis on how music and words both take us to the next frontier…not really a final frontier. The first half of the program included a John Williams’s Star Wars Medley, Alexander Courage and Jerry Goldsmith’s Star Trek Through the Years, John Williams’s Theme from E.T., etc.

An unusual piece was composed by the arranger and guest conductor, Rob Birdwell. The music was backdrop for storyteller Shelley Moon’s reading of Maya Angelou’s “A Brave and Startling Truth”. If you’ve never read that poem, here’s a link to it. The poem begins:

We, this people, on a small and lonely planet
Traveling through casual space
Past aloof stars, across the way of indifferent suns
To a destination where all signs tell us
It is possible and imperative that we learn
A brave and startling truth

I hope you will follow the link to Maya Angelou’s poem and it will give you a great deal to think about in terms of healing. It just may elevate your thinking to consider the larger issues surrounding your writing.

And I especially want to draw your attention to another quote in the program notes. As a writer, you may have heard of Barry Lopez, known as “the nation’s premier nature writer” as stated in the San Francisco Chronicle. In the past, I researched Lopez and read his work specifically because of his focus on the relationship between people and nature. Understanding his work helps a writer. The following quote reminds all of us of the value of stories for life and for healing.

The stories people tell have a way of taking care of them. If stories come to you, care for them. And learn to give them away where they are needed. Sometimes a person needs a story more than food to stay alive. That’s why we put these stories in each other’s memory. This is how people care for themselves. One day you will be good storytellers. Never forget these obligations. — Barry Lopez

Be sure that you write your stories to take care of yourself and to feed others.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mary Olivia Patino September 6, 2016 at

Your article expresses the irresistible, magnetic pulse of nature’s awesome beauty and the deeper questions arising deep within the soul. At times, these questions are only answered through poetry and music.

Reading this, I am reminded of a poem I wrote a few years after my son’s passing. The universe held him in a strong grip. Thank you for an inspiring article.

Matilda Butler September 6, 2016 at

Mary: Thank you for your comment. You have added to this discussion in a beautiful way. All my best to you.

Leave a Comment

Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category