Of Core Values, Seeds & Cycles

Last week, I met with one of my critique groups through Zoom. As always, they offered fantastic suggestions and encouragement to launch me into the revision process on a new manuscript. One of the group members started off by saying, “This is such a Jodi story.”

Of course, this made me smile. Every creative seeks to find their ‘voice’. Something that distinguishes it from other voices. Even if I’m not familiar with a specific song, I can always recognize the unique brilliance of David Bowie.

Since I’m no David Bowie, it also gave me pause. What is a ‘Jodi story’? I’d like to think every story I write is from my heart. From my ‘core’. But what does that mean?

I’ve written both funny and poignant stories. Tales filled with long, lyrical sentences, others with short, choppy ones. Some rhyming, some prose. What one thing was central to all of these?

It hit me as I carved up an apple for lunch. The core was filled with seeds. Powerful little nuggets that develop into trees, that in turn, produce more fruit and more seeds. Tiny grains promoting existence. Growth. Hope. The cycle of life.

“That’s it!” my brain yelled in its best Charlie Brown impression.

My ‘core’ is also made up of the seeds I want to spread into the world. My mission is to use my voice to empower others to find, value and use their own.

A few years ago, I received this lovely letter after a school visit:

In a very literal sense, I inspired this young lady to believe in her own voice. Her words brought tears to my eyes. They still do.

What’s more, her voice inspired me to continue to use my voice to spread the seeds of empowerment. See how this works?

It’s like a life cycle, and when cycles connect, amazing things blossom. Which actually circles back to the theme of my new picture book manuscript. You know, the one my critique partner said was a ‘Jodi story.’

Mind blown.

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