Amy L. Wink, Ph.D. Poet ~ Writer ~Educator ~ Mentor ~ Morgan Driver ~ Welshie Owner

Writing Mentor

Welcome to my website. I am the author of She Left Nothing In Particular: The Autobiographical Legacy of 19th Century Women's Diaries (University of Tennessee Press, 2001) and the editor of Tandem Lives: The Frontier Texas Diaries of Henrietta Baker Embree and Tennessee Keys Embree, 1856-1884 (University of Tennessee Press, 2009). You can find out more about my work on these diaries by visiting embreediaries.com. My essays have appeared on insidehighered.com, in the Austin-American Statesman and, most recently, in YogaPlus Magazine. I started learning to drive horses after I bought my first horse for my 40th birthday present to myself. I now own two Morgan horses, Will and Blessing, as well as 2 Welsh Springer Spaniels, James and Lily (not named for Harry Potter's parents but I'm okay with that connection.) I am now in my 30th year in the classroom and working toward a new book, Small Voices and Encounter Narratives: Notes from a Creating Life. I teach at Austin Community College in Austin, Texas. If you are interested in mentoring, I specialize in narrative non-fiction, life-writing, autobiography, and memoir.

Lent: March

amywink March 24th, 2018

I will be marching today. Some people will watch from their homes and think “those people should go home” and determine what kind of person I am from their own opinion of people who protest something they do not want understand. Some people will watch and think “that’s not enough” and determine what kind of person I am from their contempt of those who only seem to protest in public. Some people will watch and think “look at the white people only protesting because some white kids got shot” and divide all of us into even tinier pieces. Some people will watch and think “oh sure, show up now” and condemn what they think has been lack of perfect action without knowing what I do daily or have done for the majority of my life.

But for those who know me, and I have friends who have voiced all manner of these things, I hope they will instead begin to think “I know her” and ask “why is she marching?” I hope they will ask themselves “what is the thing I know to be true about this friend of mine?” as I have asked myself very many times while watching tempers rise in polarizing arguments that only fortify division. I hope everyone can think of at least one true thing about me to hold up against the false witnesses that seek only to divide us all in this march toward building our more perfect union.

Should anyone have trouble with my protest, or this protest, I ask that you ask yourself of me.

Do I want my friend to carry a gun?

Do I want my friend to figure out how to block the door of her classroom?

Do I want my friend to have to kill someone?

Do I want my friend to staunch the blood from some student’s body?

Do I want my friend to lose her life shielding someone from a gunman?

Do I want my friend to spend any of her time in fear for her life?

Do I want my friend to stop teaching?

Do I want my friend to harden her heart?

And only then decide whether nothing can be done.

Lent: Follow Me

amywink March 22nd, 2018

How Greek we are in
our thinking, as if we are
simply pieces moved
and thus absolved of doing
what might be changed
through our own choosing.

When will we understand
that within our hearts
we must know to move
ourselves to better action
and in ourselves decide
the way we know to go?

Lent: Prayer for Recognition

amywink March 20th, 2018

We are being bombed
in Austin, slowly,
randomly,
but we are still
being bombed
and in our fear
divided.

But in the moment
I look so carefully
through my door
before stepping out
to leave I become
anyone stepping out
into the likely danger of
a familiar world.

I may have only little fear of this attack becoming worse.
I may have faith that this violence will be resolved.
I may think this death unlikely to arrive on my doorstep.

And yet as I step, I understand
this reckoning and ask,

What about those of us stepping out
who know it will be worse?

What about those of us who
think we are alone in this assault?

What about those of us
who learned no matter
how good the life
we try to lead,
that random death
by bombs or guns,
will very likely happen
on our doorstep,
or on our walk
to school,
or at our park,
or church,
or anywhere we try
to live our good
and quiet lives?

May I understand
the isolating difference
that blinds us to
ourselves in suffering.

May my little fear grow
instead to grace for those
in every kind of trouble.

May this grace
be my change,
my reach
for those of us
we have so easily
left to danger
by our casual
yet calculated
indifference.

Lent: Tender

amywink March 20th, 2018

This long-recurring wound
between our hope and fear
we have only barely
worked to heal,
this tender scar now
freshly torn again
by shadows that prefer
a more familiar pain.

As if some darkness cannot
suffer our ragged, tender edges
growing softly together new
and seeks instead
to keep us hardening
our divided heart
so we may never heal
the truth of our fondled
yet forgotten injury.

Lent: You are here.

amywink March 18th, 2018

Today, I am celebrating one year of Sundays at First United Methodist Church in Austin. While my actual calendar anniversary (or church-iversary) is tomorrow, today marks the Sunday a year ago that I walked into church because Bach had reminded me how much I loved music and I knew I wanted music in the life I was rebuilding. I found not only music, but also so much more of the self I had slowly lost over the sixteen years I had been taking care of both my parents.

As I sit here and write about this one amazing year, I think about how I had to be ready when joy came back, how I had to know what I needed to follow, though not necessarily what I needed to find, to make it back to the self I’d lost, to return to everything I’d put away and forgotten was true about who I was. And I had forgotten a lot, from a lot longer ago than just sixteen years. More than once someone has reminded me and I have had to think “oh yeah, that’s right. I forgot.”

I sat down with my journal earlier this week, which I had not written in for over a year, but which had started to fill with poetry again in the opening months of 2017. It was poetry I found again when I came to church. Three days after I walked into First, I was writing regularly again and the self I had given up, the life I had so much wanted to have, the person I had so much wanted to be, returned. I could not mistake the message I received that day and so many many many days after, so much so that by September, I had to laugh because it was clear God was simply showing off: Here is who you are. Here are your people. There is no mistake.

By December, I had completed an entire book manuscript that I never expected to be writing. I had come out of the wilderness I’d survived by following what I love and found myself in the completely right place after all. I have never felt that so strongly as I do now, as if the giant map of my life now reads you are here. I have nothing but gratitude for that and the joy that has come back into the life I am now building with it.

Someone asked me recently how I would describe an encounter with the Holy Spirit and I said, peace, deep peace.

And sometimes it can also feel just like the Holy Spirit is dancing.

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