For nearly three years now I have been meeting almost weekly with three other women: Julie Daley, Tanya Geisler, and Amy Palko. We came together with the desire to write what we weren’t (or wouldn’t) share anyplace else: a safe container and encouraging space in which we could explore far beyond the boundaries of our blog. Believe me, I could talk for hours, days, months, about all that has come from that experiment/experience. The benefits, results, and impact of such has been and continues to be infinite.

Above and beyond the generation of writing which, in and of itself is beautiful and powerful and incredible, is the awareness of what happens when women come together, collaborate together, and are fierce on each other’s behalf.

Somewhere along the way, we realized that we had stumbled upon a form we now call “Braided Writing.” Here’s how it works: one of us starts a piece – any topic, really; whatever is on our heart and mind. That beginning then rotates to the next woman in the group who writes in response. She passes it on to the 3rd woman who writes yet again, and then the 4th. Finally, it returns to the original woman/writer who then creates a conclusion. And voila! a larger, deeper, more-amazing-than-we-could-have-imagined-on-our-own piece has been formed.

Four distinct voices have, in effect, created a fifth; something larger than any of us has come into being. We have felt it. We have witnessed it. We have been awed by it. And we have repeated it – again and again. It’s intoxicating, really – this writing together. Even more intoxicating and empowering has been our advocacy and yes, fierceness on each other’s behalf.

We believe in the wisdom and words and writing of each other. And in so doing – in trusting each other to have our backs, to hear and hold our hearts, to honor our very selves-and-stories – we have come to trust ourselves that much more.

And did I mention? Along the way, oh, what beauty and power we have created!

Today, on World Storytelling Day, we offer one of these Braided Essays to you. It’s called Limned. It is our hope that maybe, just maybe, you will realize – with new depth and commitment – just how worth-telling your own story is. (It is, you know.)

May it be so.