My experience as a Loft Mentor Series speaker.
It had been going on for some time before I noticed. My daughter was choosing an adult out of the people milling about at the Loft Literary Center after the Mentor Series Reading, taking him or her by the hand, and leading the person to open floor space. Once there she generated a dance routine for the adult to follow. After their two-minute routine was complete, she released the adult back into the gathering and chose a new person. Each person learned and performed a never-done-before dance routine. My son followed along videotaping each jig.
Who is this girl? And what magnetism does she possess that adult men and women will willingly leave the fold (and food) to dance with her? Even Jerald Walker and Mark Anthony Rolo, acclaimed authors and mentors, followed her as did many others.
All I could do was stare and see if anyone needed saving. They didn’t. They were enjoying the girl.
At three-years old, this girl could not talk intelligibly. Part 3 of my memoir, House of Fire, speaks to this. Thank God for the goat, it begins. During one of our camping trips, both my partner Jody and I thought that the other person had the girl. When I understood that neither one of us did all I could think was, The girl can’t tell anyone her name, where she lives, or who her moms are. We sprinted back to the the animal pens, which was the last place we saw her. She and the white double-bearded goat stood in companionable silence, the goat chewing her cud, the little girl waiting for her mothers to return.
The girl was diagnosed with articulation disorder and on two occasions we were asked by the school district to have her tested for autism. Jody and I refused. We were afraid she’d be mislabeled.
I mentioned this to a fellow mentee on Friday night, told her that I was in awe of the girl. She said that the girl just needed the right fertilizer and that Jody and I provided it for her.
I think she’s right.
I thought about myself. How my life’s work has been to be visible, to stand and speak my truth.
All this love, this fertilizer, brought the very best out of the girl and me on Friday night, the night of my Loft mentorship reading.
I recalled a quote,
“Remain true to yourself, but move ever upward toward greater consciousness and greater love! At the summit you will find yourselves united with all those who, from every direction, have made the same ascent. For everything that rises must converge.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
I did the only thing that I could do when we got home. I presented the girl with a bouquet of tulips that I was given. After all, she gave quite a performance.