The healing power of words
Ash Good believes in the strength of words.
And though many are quick to say that the pen is mightier than the sword, Good believes words are particularly valuable when it comes to healing.
"We're moving into a time when we're all aware that we come from backgrounds with trauma, whether that's family or something outside of the home. Storytelling methodically invites healing," the Portland-based poet said, noting that receiving an outside perspective when sharing these stories with others is valuable. "So much of what we understand about ourselves are stories we tell ourselves. It allows us to move forward and make more informed decisions about the story of our lives."
Good, author of the books "These Things Will Never Happen Quite Like That Again" and "Years Grew a Keloid," will soon read some of her work at the Estacada Public Library in honor of poetry month in April. The reading will take place from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, April 8, in the Flora Community Room at the library, 825 N.W. Wade St.
Good has been interested in writing for most of her life.
"I've been writing poems for as long as I can remember, even under covers in the dark growing up," she said.
She's always been drawn to poetry in particular.
"It's just how stories come out of me," she said. "I've tried to pressure myself into writing narrative, but that's just not how stories come out."
When discussing her writing style, Good noted with a laugh that her publisher once wrote that her work "doesn't fit anywhere."
"I would loosely describe it as narrative poetry, with lots of characters and scenes. It floats into an inner world, which (creates) a fantastical quality," she said. "I've had a very rich meditative inward life for a long time. (I'm able to go between) the richness of that life and the sacredness of the concrete world."
Good's writing also focuses on the significance of everyday moments.
"So much of my writing is about the profound mundane in every moment, and the little things in the moments," she explained. "This moment right now is the only thing you have now. How do you embrace that more fully?"
Though her focus is poetry, Good strives to ensure that each of her books has a strong sense of narrative.
"There tends to be a similarity in how I build the arc of a book as a whole. I enjoy a story that goes from cover to cover. I like to feel like I've been somewhere."
She noted that sometimes inspiration arrives at unexpected moments.
"I've been surprised by when a moment of inspiration will visit. (I'll think) 'Oh, I guess this is the time we tell this story," she said.
Good added that she finds writing empowering=
"There's so much freedom to look at the blank space and envision utopias that we want to see," she said. "Stories can be a healing tool because they're a safe place to write about your utopia."
In addition to her work as a writer, Good also facilitates group workshops on storytelling and meditation. She appreciates "seeing what happens when we show up and hold each other's vulnerability," and noted that it has had a significant impact on her writing.
"Watching people come into that space, and trusting stories that need to be held will be (held)," she said. "The ability to heal and connect — that's where poetry lives for me."
Good is looking forward to the reading in Estacada, in which she will share a sampling of poetry available in her books, as well as work that has not yet been published.
"I love connecting with people, but I mostly like small groups, so it's a bit of 'do the thing you're scared of,'" she said. "That expansion and pushing myself is important to me as I chose what I do in life."
What: Poetry reading by Ash Good.
When: 2-4 p.m. Sunday, April 8.
Where: Estacada Public Library, 925 N.W. Wade St.