I bring hidden things out into the open. That’s a theme of my work, expressed in my book titles, The Hidden Malpractice and The Invisible Epidemic. In the first half of my life, I listened to women carefully and put their reality out into the public world in the concrete form of books. In these books, I exposed and protested the violence against women in the fields of obstetrics, gynecology and the new reproductive technologies
In 1985, I moved inward, discovering parts of myself I had long ago exiled. Through Focusing, I brought these parts into the open, no longer hiding them from myself. Sometimes I thought of this as a detective story in which I played all the parts: victim, witness, murderer, detective, judge, jury, jailor, liberator. This is the work that prepared me to engage with male prisoners, some of whom had committed violence against women, and write my forthcoming book, Table in the Clearing: Stories of Sacred Jailbreaks.
Political spin-doctors and corporate spokespeople often write dead words. The writers aim to manipulate readers, to make something very bad sound very good. You can find dead words in the newspaper every day. Read the responses of various corporations, perhaps one that runs private prisons, to reports of grave harm their companies inflict. Taste the blandness of their words. Sense how the words distance readers from the suffering just reported in the news. The dead words denying the suffering are like trees whose roots to lived experience have been severed. These words hold no nourishment. Living words, by contrast, are rooted in the writer's, the speaker's, lived experience. Living words are loyal to the truth.