As part of our monthly gathering, I had the privilege of sharing a poem or quote during “roll call” and then offering the devotional for the Americus Women’s Literary Club. The theme for the year is “History as Literature” — which I considered, but also pondered on “Literature as History.” I chose a #MattiesMessage poem to set the tone for my own offering. When he writes about the “job of the poet,” really, Mattie’s message is about the job opportunity for each of us and for all of us, which is to be present — in the then and in the now and in the what next — living with purpose that cultivates worthiness. These are the words I shared, devoted to our roles in writing time. – Jeni Stepanek, PhD (Mama Peace)
History as literature…
Literature as history…
Interesting and multidirectional concepts.
Both history and literature tell the stories of
who and how we were,
and are, and will be, or can be…
Both have tales of truth and errors across eras…
all placed onto pages of perspective –
the expressions shaped by the teller
or experiencer or recorder or influencer…
Both may clarify values, or lack integrity…
And both may include tragic or triumphant or trivial
Tidbits or tales of told or untold truths that
detail the significance
(or ignore the in-significants)
of societal status or stuck’ness
in quo’s or woes —
the challenges or changes (or not)
that shift our words and was’es
by chance or by choice (or naught)…
Both may be expressed
in narrative or letter writing,
in poetry or psalm,
in stream of consciousness or checkable lists,
in anecdotal musings or calculated persuasion,
in organized chapters or doodled remnants
of a moment, or a thought
or a something-or-someone that
seems, or is deemed,
worthy enough to be noted
across time and space…
From ancient times through awkward realities
to any-moment in the then or the now,
people – young and old, skilled and scattered,
have captured or captioned
so much of the news-worthy or wonder-worthy
or wish-worthy or warning-worthy
sufferings and celebrations of be’ing.
History matters and literature matters.
Literature matters and history matters.
And the words you and I and we choose
To carry forth the traditions and times
And truths and tales – they matter.
Gathering the words matters.
Exploring the words matters.
and responding to,
and reaching out
with and beyond and
even despite the words matters.
History and literature, literature and history,
Woven together they are
the echo and silhouette of our existence,
the expressions of our essence,
and the material and spiritual remnants of
our longings, our living,
our lingering — our legacy.
Let us each, and let us all,
use our voices and choices and words
and all that we have and all that we are
— to just show up,
in literature and in history
— with faith, and with purpose, and for peace.
Jeni Stepanek, PhD (Mama Peace)