Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wednesday's Woman: In a Sentence

Today’s guest blogger, Tara Pohlkotte, has a gift for writing.  She is somewhat new at embracing her talent and sharing it with the world.  She recently wrote:

“So, slowly but surely, I began to bleed onto a dusted off blog page I’d started but neglected, and wept and laughed as I read words of more and more people out there doing the same thing.  Through these blank spaces that we sent our words, I felt shoulders next to mine, and I realized that we are all connected, just as I had been in my daddy’s church.  All of us different but united through text, through telling the stories of humanity.” Rooted in Writing, Committed to Life via Erin L. Margolin

Her bio is as follows:

Tara Pohlkotte lives in Wisconsin with her husband and two children.  She writes about life, motherhood, and memories at Pohlkotte Press. To get a feel for Tara’s work, you should start here: And For Tonight; Pocket of Sorrow, Six Feet Deep, or Birthing Warrioress. She is a contributing author to two upcoming titles, as well as poetry publications.  To keep connected with Tara you can follow her Facebook page for the latest updates. You may also find her Tweeting on occasion!

I am so thrilled Tara is here today, sharing the story of her Wednesday’s Woman, giving more insight into where her striking voice originates.

Wednesday's Woman: Madeleine L'Engle
by Tara Pohlkotte

“It was a dark and stormy night...”

With one common phrase, I was pulled into A Wrinkle in Time with Meg, Charles Wallace and all the others.  Madeleine L’Engle opened my 3rd grade eyes to the possibilities of more.  Of realities that were not my own.  She brought me deeper into my dreams; allowed for my imagination to soar under her gentle leading.  She painted the stars for me, drew me into the cosmos held on the back of my hand. 

20 years later, as I formed within myself the first inklings of “I want to write. Now what?” followed closely by, “Who the hell do I think I am?”  I felt at odds with myself, my former realist self was trying desperately to keep tabs on my creative spirit.  I was a wife after all, a mother, with a 40-hour-a-week job.  What could I offer an already saturated world with my words?

It was in this place of self-assessment, self-doubt as well as self-discovery that I curled up with A Circle of Quiet, written by Madeleine later in her life, the first of a four book series of autobiographies.  In this book Madeleine discussed the balance of being all the things that I am also signed on to: wife, mother, worker, writer.  I found her words a pool to sink my unsure bones into and I eagerly waded into her years of knowledge.  She became my writing grandmother, sharing her life and wisdom as I took in every parcel of what she imparted upon the page.  She took my hand lovingly in her lap and held tight until I felt my own expectations loosen in her grip into the comfortable hold of understanding. 

A Circle of Quiet
..And I think too, and possibly most important, that there is a faith simply in the validity of art; when we talk about ourselves as being part of the company of such people as Mozart or van Gogh or Dostoevsky, it has nothing to do with comparisons, or pitting talent against talent; it has everything to do with a way of looking at the universe. My husband said, “But people might think you’re putting yourself alongside Dostoevsky.” The idea is so impossible that I can only laugh in incredulity.  Dostoevsky is a giant; I look up to him; I sit at his feet; perhaps I will be able to learn something from him.  But we do face the same direction, no matter how giant his stride, how small mine.” - - Madeleine L’Engle ~ A Circle of Quiet

There in a sentence, understanding poured over me, and I picked up my pen.  I would not try to match the wonderful writers that I have grown under the shade of, or match the stories of my youth that became as much a part of my childhood as the neighborhood girls that I shared everything with.  I would not be concerned with burning with a blaze as bright as my wonderful contemporaries.  I would only force myself to show up, set my shoulders back and face my feet in the same direction as these other writers; knowing that in doing so I am adding my voice, no matter how small, to a larger story being told. 

I will always be grateful to Madeleine L’Engle for expanding the world for me. And now, I smile, as I tuck deep inside my daughter's twin sized bed with her beside me, knowing that the power of Madeleine's words do not belong just to me.  I feel my daughter's chest rise and fall, her breath heavy with anticipation as the opening line starts again, "It was a dark and stormy night..."

Wednesday's Woman is a weekly feature dedicated to spotlighting women who are role models for our daughters. . . and the world.

photo credit: Taylor Dawn Fortune via photopin cc


  1. Oh my heart...

    love Madeleine. (so much so I call her by her first name) And A Circle of Quiet was my all time favorite, though I've read nearly a dozen...

    and to read A Wrinkle in Time to my children. I Can't. Wait!

    beautiful write, friend!

    1. oh, I call her by first name too. :) A Circle of Quiet is my favorite too. And is it bad that I measure literary milestones by what book i can share with my kids? "by that age, we can read laura ingalls together...anne of green gables..." - the possibilities are endless :)

  2. I'm a big fan, Tara - of you, as well as Madeleine. We face the same direction - I love that sentiment. One day soon there could well be a young writer out there who believes that of you and your prodigious talent. Lovely post.

    1. Love this: "One day soon there could well be a young writer out there who believes that of you and your prodigious talent."

      So very true!

    2. most likely not due to vast success or as you so sweetly say, "prodigious talent", but if i along my way i can help place one young writers toes on the line, get them to see that our stance all points us the same direction...that will be enough of a "success" for me :)

  3. Oh this is lovely, and raw and Real. All the reasons I adore you, and your words. Lovely, ladies. Truly.

  4. always excited when I see a new post from tara! can you believe I have only recently been introduced to L'Engle? I am voraciously reading everything of hers that I can get my hands of quiet being my favorite so far! what an encourager..."creativity is a way of life, no matter our vocation or how we earn a living." she has inspired me to just keep writing, for it is I who comes most fully alive having done it.

  5. Hey, we both wrote posts on writing this week! I could relate to the "possibilities of more" because that's what books and writing did for me. They gave me more. And I could relate to "who the hell do I think I am?" And this..."I would only force myself to show up, set my shoulders back and face my feet in the same direction as these other writers; knowing that in doing so I am adding my voice, no matter how small, to a larger story being told."...a resounding yes and amen to this. Your voice is a gift and I'm so glad you're true to it.

    (I loved A Wrinkle in Time, too.)

  6. I've never met Madeleine - but I am going to now! Did you know that Gustave Flaubert spent 3 months on one sentence? That e.e. cummins was a master at grammar and in the mastering could see how to achieve greater grammatical effect by turning the rules inside out? These writers, their methodology, taught me so much about life and dream pursuing. I cannot wait to meet this lady who inspired you!

    BTW - you introduce her with incredible grace and inspiration!

  7. Aw, she's my favorite! I learned to love reading from her!


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