Now What

Poetry, rather writing, has framed my life as long as I can remember.

As a ten-year-old, I wandered around the neighborhood trying to “sell” my hand-scratched newspapers. Though I never kept a diary or journal regularly, I found myself turning to writing when I needed to figure out what I was thinking. Going through a divorce meant writing my way through it. And then when life became complicated and painful, I turned to poetry.

Having just completed a meaningful poetry/photography project with friend Donna Hopkins about family and aging, I find myself without a plan for my writing. That means putting pen to paper in whatever way feels good– like sketching! I’ve learned to let go of perfection- like the yellow sky in the sketch here that drips into where the water should be. Or the published poetry that should be in a different form. It’s the process, I’ve learned, that matters.

Wherever I am in my life (and whoever I am), I’ve discovered I need to create. I don’t like to cook or garden, but give me a pen and I’m content.

Czesław Miłosz once wrote:

The purpose of poetry is to remind us
how difficult it is to remain just one person,
for our house is open, there are no keys in the doors, 
and invisible guests come in and out at will

An Ending and a Beginning

When I browse the archives of my posts, I discover the words “starting over” many times. Now, here I am at the end of something again. My project with friend and photographer Donna Hopkins has come to a natural conclusion, a year of photo/poetry collaboration and much more. Her explanation shares all you need to know about our project, so please visit her site to see more photos and the focus of the year-long partnership.

Donna’s photos provided me with much inspiration to write– about aging, parents, failure, friendship, and life. Her photography perspectives gave me an opportunity to consider different perspectives in my writing. I was finally writing for myself. Our book holds truth, pain, joy, and vulnerability of who we are, of what these moments at this point in our lives reveal.

This bittersweet conclusion won’t end our friendship, though. In fact, I am hoping we will leap into another creative adventure before long. We share much in common, and working with Donna is a joy. She brings out the best in me.

So now, another beginning. Creativity connects me to myself, provides a window into who I am.

Let the next project begin!

Time to Think

Houses line my daily walk,
small, some old, a mansion
on the hill, the dog park.

I never veer, so my mind
tucks into itself, stepping
one thought after another.
Bright sun spoofs me
with winter’s bitter breath.

I am the stranger
walking by your house,
waiting for spring flowers,
a revelation, a peek of yellow 
or perhaps radiant rose.

Peppers in my kitchen grow
under lights, lush leafy green,
higher each day. A sign
of what has been planted
and what is to come.

When Doing Nothing Feels Right

I was talking to someone on the beach today.

“I’m getting antsy,” she said.

I paused a moment, thought, and realized I am perfectly comfortable, calm, and present. Our days here are slow and restful. We eat breakfast of oatmeal and fruit on our porch watching this gorgeous water, wander down to the beach with our books, take a walk or two, come back for lunch of salad and hummus, nap in the afternoon, more walks, and then find somewhere to go out to dinner. Tonight we are going to a local restaurant, Coco Bistro. The outside area is filled with palm trees and tiny white lights, tables are spread out to give diners space, and the service is impeccable.

These days, I don’t feel guilty. I am not anxious.

It has taken me a long time to get to this place. David once said early in our marriage, “don’t you ever sit down?” I didn’t. I couldn’t. I felt guilty if I wasn’t rushing around doing something “productive.”

No longer. I love peaceful days filled with nothing.

This time has helped me find a flow, a natural flow, that I need to nurture. I’ve always called myself an introvert, but being here has cemented how important it is for me to spend quiet time alone. Not only do I need calm, I also need an environment that speaks to me. I need colors and textures that make me say, “ah.” Putting this into place won’t be too hard. When I look at how I live, I am halfway there.

For right now, though, I am going to float through the next few days. This feels perfect. Needed.

Lucky me.