Speeches Story Summit Year 3
Happy Third Birthday, Story Summit!
Deep in the heart of every writer I’ve ever met is a yearning to be heard. To know she or he matters. Writing, at its core, is all saying one thing: Listen to me. I have something worth saying. I want to be known.
Writing for some is a way of working things out, sorting, mining. For others, it’s a romp in the imagination, filled with assassins and kings. But deep down, what every writer is saying is, “I matter.”
That place, the place within us that knows we have value, is home. And for many of us, it can seem a great distance away, in another fairy tale kingdom, another royalty check or freelance writing gig.
But the fascinating thing is that the home we’re looking for, the true measure of our worth as a writer, isn’t in followers or accolades or awards or bank balances. It’s inside us, in the very essence of life and light we brought to this physical world of story when we were born.
It is our reason for being. Our rent payment on the real estate we occupy while we’re here. And the good news is, no matter how far off it may seem, finding it is just a thought away.
After an entire lifetime of writing, I know how exhilarating it is—and every anxiety that comes with it. I’ve been mentored, mentored others, been told to give up, given up, started again, doubted and believed in myself.
And that’s why I know that, at your core, in the part of you that surprises you with its brilliance, your inner light shines with creativity and purpose. In this sacred place, the intersection of writing and spirit, your voice is no longer just yours, but now belongs to the world.
“Yes, I can do this,” you say. “It matters. I matter.”
In the end, writing can make you a living, and it can make you a life.
But most of all, it can take you back home.
Happy third birthday, Story Summit, and welcome home to all of you. Light a candle for the three years and the three pillars of Story Summit: Education, encouragement, and inspiration—and light a candle for yourself. You and your stories are changing the world!
— Debra Engle
One Day Soon
We will meet in the clearing
When the corn fields are scattered bare, the ears bent,
stalks leaning sun-spent and shucked
When the pumpkins, plump-nestled in the patch
rotund sunk-propped in a bed of curling vines
When the ducks, Orioles, and swallows start deciding
on a v-formed avenue to a place where the sun-warmed
spots are home
When our summer rises for the second time
we bid it farewell until it rises resurrected as Lazarus
from winter's death after spring's first breath
after summers's next full bloom
When the hush of our breaths are sweet welcome
not a poison behind a mask, one day soon
we will meet in the clearing, stand in the fall
of what was meant to break us
One day soon we will embrace
close this gap, hold on hard
Title of the poem: "One Day Soon"
Author: Catrice Greer
Original Publisher: Steel Jackdaw Edition 2, April 2021, Gloucestershire, UK.
Three years ago, I found myself coming off a long period of caregiving. So I started my coaching business again, renting space in a little church around the corner here in Georgia. Then, on Facebook one morning, I saw that David Kirkpatrick, whom I worked with at Disney some #$%# years ago, had started Story Summit.
I watched from afar as he built a community of writers, offering workshops and classes—and also going on cruises and fancy retreats in for-off places. When the pandemic brought us all together online, I attended a few Story Summit “gatherings.” I wondered if I should reach out to David. Would he even remember me?
He did! I am now leading my Thursday Mentor-Led Small Group, which began as a nice group of girls and has evolved into a tight group of collaborators. That’s the power of the Mentor Group: the collaboration. Like a writers room populated with seasoned professionals, these five writers (novelists and memoirists and screenwriters) have worked together to take their stories to the highest level—and the deepest. Again, it’s about the collaboration. Novelists and Memoirists and Screenwriters, all working together. Because after all, STORY is STORY is STORY.
Anyway, here’s the deal. When you love writers and you love words and you love ideas, but then you take the opportunity to be a Stay-At-Home Mom and then a full-time Caregiver, and your whole world revolves around WalMart and the airport and the nursing home, and you’re supposed to remember what kind of hard candy to bring to your Mom, who keeps changing her mind, you go a little crazy. Your brain turns to Quaker Oatmeal.
So David. Thank you so much for providing this opportunity to engage with wonderful writers and thinkers. And congratulations to all the Summiteers for your success.
The Story Of You
A Long Time Ago…
Once Upon A Time,
In The Beginning,
The Opening Doors
Daring To Dream
Daring to Behold
Things We Never Knew, We Never Knew
Or Believed We Already Did
Somehow, Some Way
Or Before, Any Other
From Beneath The Ground On Which We Stand
Or The Galaxies
Beyond Our Milky Way.
Lives, We Wish We Lived
Or Hope To, Still.
People, We Wish We Knew
Heroes, We Aspire To Emulate
At This Time
We Come Together
Families, Friends, Loved Ones
Of What Has Come Before
With An Open Heart
With All Our Senses
Who We Can Be
All That We Are
And Now We Ask…
The Story Of You.
by Michael Walter