Last week marked the beginning of a 10-week writing program.
Surrounded by other like-minded individuals enamored by the selection and connection of words, our first assignment was to craft a poem.
Twenty some years ago, I participated in a poetry writing workshop in undergrad; drank beers at a variety of poetry slams in my 'pre-kid' 20's and have maintained a journal throughout my 30's as a full-fledged mother...but a legitimate line of poetry has not leapt from my pen in more years than I care to own.
So, you can imagine my fear when I discovered that I would be one of four students workshopping my piece in front of the mass.
The last to do so, I prefaced my collection by saying, "I've given birth. Three times. And I'd rather give birth now, than get up in front of you."
Much to my chagrin, they encouraged me. And this, is what I read:
She offered, as I hobbled into the yellowed kitchen, well before I
deserved them. Dark and weathered, spidered and wavering, her
outstretched arms claimed, it is enough.
All of it. These fields. Those folks. That wash. Our bodies.
You and me. Here in this room. We will be
okay. When moments earlier, purple, lip cracked, unknown spaces in between,
we did not know if we would see the sun underneath the door.
But that’s the thing about the heart and its beat. No matter the dried crimson or the
tender, fractured places, it is bound to cry out when there is good
Come now, she whispered. We shall greet the world with banners and bells and
hope. We still have something left
to offer. I can bake with my good hand and you can tend to the mistress’ baby
and no one need worry about all of this.
Go on, wipe it away. Clean your face and
Let go of what you think
you know and grab a hold of me. I will never let you go.
And that is how it happened, the day I believed.
Trembling, with the piece of paper in hand, after multiple cups of coffee, I read it. Much like lacing my first pair of running shoes and reaching the end of the block or the first mile marker, I survived. And, it is was good. Really good. They were generous and constructive and helpful and well, exactly what I needed as I journey on this creative process.
Our next assignment is to craft a piece of fictional prose, which of course, I am petrified about...but thankfully, not nearly as heart splayed as I was with the first.
As it rains and I suck down an Americano tucked away from the world, I'm mindful that it all begins with one keystroke, word after word, draft upon draft, a choice to keep trying even when it falls flat on its face, time after time.
It feels good to put something into the world. A start is a start, which is something.