Wednesday, March 13, 2013


I began my experiment in being a wallflower before the tentative ASD diagnoses, before I had even heard the term.  (It's hard to believe I have only known what it is for four months because knowing it has changed our lives so dramatically.)

Brisbane has an annual Writers' Festival and an annual Poetry Festival, both in September.  This year I attended a 3 hour poetry workshop by renowned Australian poet Robert Adamson.  I was sufficiently cowed to be in the presence of so any poets to know my place - I am a terrible poet, it was just the only session I was able to afford AND find a sitter for! - to stay silent and just absorb the beauty of the written word.  (Don't worry if you don't know Robert Adamson, but do read his work.  The average SUCCESSFUL poet sells 2,000 books.  It's a labour of love not profit.)

What struck me most - other than the obvious beauty of the works he had chosen from among English speaking poets of many lands and times - was his obvious joy at sharing this beauty with us.  It was the first time in a long time I was surrounded by other people who loved what I did with even more passion and commitment than I have.  Upon introductions over tea, half the workshop participants were presenting poems later in the festival.  And still encouraged me to join their poetry groups.  This is why I love Australia.  Imagine published poets in NYC asking a suburban houswife to join them!

Surrounded by all this shared passion, commitment and talent, I also attended as many evening performances as I could, even dragging Damon and Ian to a late night stint in Brisbane while the other kids slept at home.

It was easy to disappear, a frumpy suburban wanna-be among colourful, flamboyant, talented, practicing writers.

It was the first time I felt I had nothing to contribute, that my role, at this time, was just to enjoy.

Paradoxically, this wasn't due to a lack of confidence but to a recent boost in my self-esteem.  I didn't have to do anything.  I was good enough to just be.

This was good.  I sucked it all in.  I reveled in being in the middle of things without being the centre itself.

For the first time I felt the power that comes with being invisible.

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