...quiet, about a lot of things...
Friday, August 18, 2006
Why I Stopped
Why I Stopped Writing Poetry
I have written poetry since I was probably 6. My grandmother died when I was in 3rd grade...and I know I wrote a lot after that. I had a cool 6th grade teacher who introduced me to haiku. She was the first teacher to praise me for my writing. I was a good student. But she had called me a gifted writer.
I wrote all the way through high school..all girl Catholic school. We had a great English dept. We had our own literary publication...I wrote a lot for that. I wrote silly love poems, about partying with my friend, about summer and the cruel world. I had lots of teachers praise me then. I wrote for the yearbook. I wrote a poem that I read at the Memorial service for a girl..whom I was "ok" friends with. She had died of anorexia...well..really of cardiac arrest from taking laxatives and having no potassium in her body. She died in her mothers arms. I read this stupid 17 year olds poem, at her service..and then we released balloons into the air. I would write a different poem of that scene now,(perhaps I will) but I did the best I could back then.
I wrote through college (the part I finished) and through boyfriend after boyfriend. I wrote copiously when I lived in NYC and had platinum blond short hair...and wore a rhinestone dog collar around my pointy black beatle boots.I wrote of coming home to Southern California...and then moving to San Francisco.
And in San Francisco I stopped writing poetry. In a neighbor hood south of the Haight I became a mother. I can't say I was prepared for this. I was never really prepared for anything. I just knew that I needed to start living a more "normal" life. Sylvia Plath had been an early hero. Now, she scared the hell out of me. With a baby inside me, I know longer wanted to suffer for my art. I didn't want to wrestle demons like Sylvia any more. I was afraid I'd lose. I knew I couldn't afford to lose.
A couple nights before my wedding I wrote my last poem for a while. I showed to my husband, who is an engineer...and he said it sounded sad. My mother had always said the same thing about my writing. Why did I write such sad poems...why couldn't I make happy poems?? I put that white dress on and marched down the aisle to happy poems.
I did write a poem for my girls wall..which I stenciled on their pale yellow walls. They were in first grade (rach) and preschool (mags). I think it went something like this:
A kiss to send you off to sleep,
A hug to hold the dreams you keep.
A smile to send you on your way,
Greatness grows in you today.
People, including my in laws..asked me who "that great quote" was by?? I would say I wrote it...and they were in shock. The poet in me was slipping out. I should have said Beatrix Potter or Dr. Seuss. That's the last thing I wrote..for a long while. Why? Because POETS are UNSTABLE. I was a mom...with a job to do.
So ten years later, here I am with this silly little blog...and I have found passion again. I have found the song inside my soul again. It pours out of me, and I drink it in from others. I still have trouble with HAPPY POEMS...and probably always will. But it doesn't scare me as much. I look at it all so differently now. I admire so greatly the young moms who have "one hand Typing". They are so much braver than I was. I learn from the grand moms, and the men who write too.
Like a long lost lover, my poems, in the hair and eyes and hands of my muse, have returned. They are so forgiving. They don't even ask me why I stopped. My muse leans over, and whispers in my ear.. I grin and begin again.