As a kid, I spent many afternoons preaching to the wind and the skunk cabbage, the maples and mock orange, the darting squirrels and birds — wishing to be of use. To have my words ring out as powerfully as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose oration filled my ears. My work now— whether writing, teaching, circle-keeping, preaching or offering warm accompaniment— still expresses that desire to serve, to repair the torn fabric of Creation, with tenderness and tenacity. I write to behold the ways life hollows us, breaks us, and restores us to wholeness a moment at a time.
Leaf Seligman is no carnival barker; she is an honest-to-God magician: From deformity she creates beauty; from suffering, redemption; from freakishness, grace. In the masterful, linked stories in From the Midway, we meet the loving, lonely, bawdy, ballsy people of the traveling carnival in all their glorious, human complexity–and we come away changed. I’ll never forget these characters and I’ll never forget this book.Sy Montgomery
We all have a story. Multiple narratives that form a mosaic, often wrought from moments of brokenness, loss, resilience, brilliance, joy. Our stories, like the molecules that comprise us, derive from far greater origins than a single life in a single era—and they are ours to revise.
It’s only in an uncondemned state that any of us can change.Margaret-Love Denman
Once we are condemned, there’s no purpose in attempting transformation so I endeavor through writing, teaching, staff training, restorative circle practices, speaking/preaching to engage people in processes that identify root causes of harm, effects of trauma, the myriad ways we blunt or sharpen our edges to avoid vulnerability—and then, I offer warm accompaniment, guidance if desired, and tangible ways to develop compassion, empathy, and accountability.
It’s harder to hate me if you know my story.Dorothy Allison
And it’s easier to love ourselves when the stories we tell about ourselves are true: when they reflect all the tiles in our mosaic, not just a section or two. There’s a version of a Creation story where the divine presence recedes to make room for the world and in so doing, shards of light scatter and we complete Creation by reassembling the divine fragments, starting with our own.
Leaf Seligman’s never-to-fade portraits we can see with our deepest oldest eye. We are now a dozen steps closer to the wisdom that tells us time and space are illusions, only our oneness is real.Carolyn Chute
You can find my curriculum vitae on this website and here are some links to listen/watch me in action.
- My TEDx talk on the power of stories to connect us.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMsj2qXRs2g
- A musically infused performance based on my book From the Midway https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHAo0PqLKs8
Now that you know something about me, I’d like to know about you. What is the story your life longs to tell? In what ways can I be of use in that telling and/or revising? The mosaic awaits.
You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.