I believe that I have a “Sundry” of work filed away for safekeeping,
I begin writing at the age of five or six; I spent summers with my Aunt Vina,
my daddy’s sister. She introduced me to
libraries, Big Chief tablets and big pencils.
It was my job as she, my Uncle Wesley went to work, and I was under the
care of the housekeeper, to write what I had done during the day. Once dinner was over and bedtime neared, she
would gather everyone to listen to my accounting of the day.
Of course, I had help with many of the words, but at least one
paragraph emerged before the sun would set on Birmingham, Alabama. These sentences included a walk to the local
library, lunch, and the discovery of a dead bird, mouse or other creatures that
made my Aunt Vina put her hands over her ears.
At summers end I would return home to Burleson Mountain, life was
different there, very different. No
matter where I would hide my Chief tablet my mother would find it, throwing it
into the stoves wood box. This act would
follow with a lecture on the waste of time my summers were, and that she might refuse
to let me go the next summer, that threat she held over me no matter the day,
month, year. It took weeks of crying me
to sleep before I adjusted to my mother and the anger she carried for me.
I grew from child to teen and I continued to write, keeping a
journal, only to have my mother find them and toss them into the trash. Years of stories and my life covered with
last night’s dinner scraps. I stopped
writing. I was still in my teens when I
wrote a story, sent it off and received a letter back, not a form letter, but
one that encouraged my writing, to find my voice. Maybe I am still in search of that voice,
sometimes I wonder!
This love of writing stayed buried until one day I signed up for a
creative writing course at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Always on the back burner was the hope of
writing. My professor told me that I was
a natural storyteller, but I would need to work on the many components of
writing. I did, and this took me right
into retirement, yes, I had a day job.
It does not matter how much you want to spend your life creating or whatever
your desire, your passion is; you must pay the bills.
With a decent steady income, I was free to write. It sounds so easy when you think about it,
but it took a long time staring at a blank page before my brain was jump
started to create something, anything. I
had so many ideas and the short stories poured out of me, my computer folders
were full and organized. I could not
send anything off…what if they rejected my newborn creation. Well, they did, each time I placed them
lovingly in a box that fit under my bed.
Over a period of five years, I had enough rejection form letters to
wallpaper any room in my tiny apartment.
This including my divorce papers, the lease on an apartment, title to a
car, all of the things needed to survive as a single person.
Within the following years I discovered poetry, many forms,
structured, non-structured. I loved it
all but my favorite was Sylvia Plath. I
felt that I knew her, and that my life was filled with drop-offs, pitfalls and bad
luck. I begin to write poetry about my
life, nine poetry books later I wrote a bio of my daughter’s life she died in
2010, a picture book of my constant four-legged companion Mason and a coffee
table book of my personal artwork. I
continue to wear many hats. I have begun work on my own life story; it may be
the last chapter.
brings my post to full circle and a provocative question to readers and writers
everywhere…is poetry dying.
A character in the film Dead Poets Society said:
don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because
we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to
sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive
Wordsworth described poetry like this: “the spontaneous overflow of
powerful feelings recollected in moments of tranquility”.
I believe that poetry has an important role and
function in society, just as poets do. Poetry
now, in its fundamental value, however, means nothing more than using relatable
mental images in order to communicate profoundly significant truths about logic
and life to human beings.
Existence in a world of encircled souls, scene after scene, day after day, the element of life less valued is the future. The environment, and promises that reveal nothing, the past descends like toxic rain from the polluted sky, washing away all dreams.
The ghost of youth would go chanting within the soul, their paths blocked, evil spread across the landscape of the homeland. Loneliness limits love and happiness; break out of your bondage of lies, always alert, always moving toward the future. If one stays shrouded by the abundant solitude, then there is no escape.
the soul emotions abound, both fear and truths stored out of sight behind
invisible doors. Filtering the mind is
the only way; it may stop the possibility of getting lost in the fog of
Clear the mind and soul of clutter, congestion and conflict; free it, keeping such thoughts will create an existence into which one will be doomed. Knowing self-value is the first step for the soul to hear freedoms call; living in the “now” is the only way to tear down internal prison walls.
birth, the process of growing older, and dying, the lifecycle travels quickly
and then the final chapter written. There
are no exceptions, an age and date separates all living beings. My strength lies in the middle developing a
sense of self…we bloom or we lay in waste with the fading of seasonal
growth. Deep within there is a
remembrance and emotion deeply hidden in the heart, quiet. You may be a ghost of what you once were…but
you are still a living being and the world applauds the reason for your birth.
Although most doctors recommend a non-drug treatment for depression and hidden emotions, that was not the case for me; drugs was a necessity. In the many stages of depression I deal with there are countless emotions. I have only recognized and speak openly about these emotions in recent years; it began when I was in my pre-teens; my mother called me moody and my daddy never argued with my mother. My emotions rang from inward fear, anger, grief and shame. However, I was never allowed to talk about any of them. In the Deep South during my younger years I would hear talk of neighbors and classmates being placed in asylums, I learn quickly to suppress my feelings. My emotions were unbearably painful. We learn as both children and adults, “Don’t be so emotional! We are taught two extremes: either hide or act out emotions. I chose to hide mine.