Breaking Open

I’m sitting in the back row of a crowded room in one of the Washington National Cathedral towers. A slender woman wearing black comes to a podium and starts speaking about writing.

She does not have a loud voice. She does not speak fast. She does not preach, sound self-righteous or even overly confident. She sounds as if she is thinking out loud. She is deliberating. She talks simply, without using big words or fancy rhetorical devices. And yet, there is honesty, seriousness, a gravitas about her that make me want to catch and capture her every word. And yet, suddenly I find myself in tears. 

Here I am, sitting in the back row in what (at least in theory) is simply a writing class – and I am crying. Tears are rolling down my cheeks – all because her quiet words broke something open in me. 

Nora Gallagher speaking on May 30, 2015 at writers’ retreat at Washington National Cathedral

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