Melanie Lynn Griffin is a freelance writer, teacher, and environmental communications specialist whose work has appeared in Sierra magazine, AARP Bulletin, Sojourners, and So To Speak Journal. She is a pastor at Cedar Ridge Community Church in Spencerville, Maryland, and leads writing workshops and contemplative retreats. Ms. Griffin holds an MA in Nonfiction Writing from Johns Hopkins University. Her blog Writing with Spirit is at melanielynngriffin.wordpress.com.
Eckleburg: What drives, inspires, and feeds your artistic work?
Melanie Lynn Griffin: I see writing as a sacred act, involving profound vulnerability and a deep yearning for connection. My writing is driven by that yearning and inspired by a universal spirit of Love that longs for us to be one with each other and with nature. I strive to understand and honor our human condition and our relationship with the natural world, searching for the universals that create a sense of belonging and connection. Writing is an emotionally and spiritually healing practice for me, and in my workshops, I try to empower others to tap into that healing power.
Eckleburg: If you had to arm wrestle a famous writer, poet or artist, either living or dead, who would it be? Why? What would you say to distract your opponent and go for the win?
Melanie Lynn Griffin: Clearly a fruitless endeavor, I would arm wrestle with Willa Cather. Willa was a hefty woman, a devoted hiker who was determined and ambitious. I would lose. While she’s not my favorite writer, I feel a bizarre connection with her, which began when I visited her grave early in my writing career. That trip prompted a somewhat obsessive in-depth study of Willa’s life and longings and was the catalyst for a painful (for me, hopefully not the reader) personal essay that explored my complicated relationship with my alcoholic father, who had loved Willa. Along the way, I learned that Willa might be distracted by wildflowers, all things medical, and other women. But I’m still pretty sure I would lose.
Eckleburg: What would you like the world to remember about you and your work?
Melanie Lynn Griffin: I want to be remembered as loving and compassionate and a good listener. I want to be remembered as curious, eclectic, funny, and wise. I want to be remembered as a woman who sought the Divine in everything and everyone, and who was at peace. I’d like my work to be described as authentic, insightful, and hopeful. It occurs to me that I will have to live a very long time to even come close to these dreams for myself and my work. And that would be OK.
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