Saturday, February 5, 2011

Why I Write

As you might imagine, I'm excited about the completion and publication of my new book, "Dance On A Dirt Road." The discovery of my love for poetry has changed my life in just a few years and some have asked me why I started writing. That's a fair question given that, all my life,  my creative expression had been through music, the passion that nearly consumed me from the time I was a small child. I loved singing more than I can say, and performing as a soloist was always a joy to me. It did, however, often create painful conflict in my life. It is difficult, if not impossible, to be a performing artist as a "hobby." Besides, sopranos can't go on forever!
Writing, though, is nothing but sheer pleasure. It indulges several real loves for me. First, the love of language. I've always been a "word collector", sometimes turning a particular word over and over in my head and on my tongue just because I loved the sound of it. Language has such power and beauty. The ability to shape a thought or a feeling into a metaphor by painting word pictures is exhilarating. My goal in creating a poem is to express something that is deeply personal but often profoundly universal. It has been my therapy for dealing with Tom's devastating illness, my own health issues and the problems that each of us encounters in the course of living our lives. They look different for everyone, but we all deal with fears of aging and illness, family, love...connectedness to our past, present and future...the human condition. Language expresses our commonalities and helps us to know we are not alone. Since man learned to speak, write and print we have found comfort in knowing what other people experience...that we are not alone when we suffer or rejoice.
Poetry has also provided me a sense of accomplishment, achievement on a whole new level that has been quite unexpected at this point in my life. As Maya Angelou expresses in her poem "And Still I Rise", I'm still here, still contributing something to the planet, still finding pure joy in creating. I didn't begin writing because I want to be famous...I did it because I want to be HERE, balanced and alive, surprising myself each day. It is, in a real way, my gift to the people I husband, my children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (a very large group, I might add!), all of whom I admire and respect so much.
Occasionally I write something deep and provocative, but the poem below is not. It is just a light-hearted memory that makes me smile. Maybe you will too!

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