Friday, September 25, 2009

How do you do it?

I've been asked many times, "How do you do it?" The "it" is, write poetry.

I never know quite how to respond to that question. After graduating from college, I wrote a lot of poetry; then I got married, and the poetry writing slowed, until it almost stopped completely, and I put the manuscripts away. I put pen to paper (literally, I didn't have a computer then) only to write "occasion" poems, that is, to celebrate a birth or a birthday or a wedding. I worked too many long hours editing other people's work and felt spent and uninspired when I got home, and life at home wasn't conducive to writing. I went through divorce after 16 years of marriage and then fell in love again and married again. I went back to my after-work-hours creative writing but, again, mostly restricted it to the "occasion" poems.

Two years ago, when one of my two brothers called to tell me he had cancer and did not have long to live (he defied the odds he was given and lived until May 5, 2009), something broke open in me, like the well of tears the two of us shared over the phone, and the poems started coming, sometimes seeming to write themselves. The poems became the words I could not speak aloud, although I did share some of them (see "Enough" below) with my online cancer-support group and wrote others for members of the group (see "Garden I" and "Michael's Melody" below). The manuscript I have now includes more than 50 poems. I'm still writing.

As you know if you've read my posts on the creation of a "twoem", I've joined Twitter, and last Tuesday night, for the first time, took part in an online poetry jam. And let me assure you, what I produced that night bears little resemblance to what's in my manuscript. And that's a good thing! It tells me I'm healing.

So, how you I do it? I have no idea. I simply accept what I do as a gift. And hope the gift keeps on giving.

1 comment:

Glynn said...

Perhaps the spirit moves, and we look around and say, that's what happened.