Writing: what’s your motive?

Memoirs seem to hit a nerve of mine- badly. I wonder about memoirs written by twenty year olds, without a trace of counseling or therapy, that seem to be done with the intent of hurting and exposing those individuals they feel have hurt them. That said, I’m creating a book of poems that is a memoir of my experience of my older sister’s death when she was fourteen and I had just turned eleven. It is my book of grief. While I didn’t have voice I had the power of listening and observation. I didn’t even have a squeak of a voice then but I do now and it speaks volumes.

Writing has given me a place to say things I never would have had the nerve to say years ago. I just didn’t have the ability to say what I would have wanted. Now that I’ve learned to articulate whatever I want, I’ve started thinking about whether what I am saying or writing is appropriate for the forum and deeper yet, what is my motive?

I’m not twenty, I’ve had years of therapy, and found myself writing poetry about that dark time without planning it at all. It just seemed to intuitively come to me that those dark times had to be written on empty pages.  Then, I remember being treated harshly by others and me toward myself. Today, I know that these writings are an opportunity to be compassionate toward myself.

Writing these verses have moved me tremendously on treating myself gently. I feel my heart opening and that allows me to be compassionate toward others, especially those I may have judged harshly regarding what I’ve considered their motives- whatever their motives.

For me, the timing for sharing these days of despair is coming and the place will be in a little book that I share. The light in all this is the healing that I’ve experienced. Light and dark dance to create a wonderful shadow world, one of the places in which I live.

Writing: always refining

Refining one’s skills is a never ending process and that’s a good thing. There’s lots of territory to cover when it comes to writing and none of is us immune. Just having completed reading (and writing) two very different novels it occurred to me that one needed refinement in editing and the other in cohesion in development of a story line. Different types of writing vary in terms of interest but the reader should have an idea what the essence of the story is even if the writer has an MFA. It’s up to the writer to ensure that this happens. Readers shouldn’t be spoon fed  but stimulated, enticed to move onto the next chapter and given the best material the author can provide.

With a PhD in Nursing focused on Theory Development and Research I have a certain set of skills. Not having an MFA has sometimes sent me into a cycle of despair. I contemplated returning to a graduate writing program but decided it’s not for me-at least based on what today’s tarot spread showed me.

I love writing poetry and have a couple of poems slated to come out in the Spring/Summer of 2015 issue of Sinister Wisdom. I believe that means something but I do think I could use some fine tuning in that area. I’ve just started an online writing course at the Writers Studio Workshop. I tend not to advertise but their method is simple, fun and not personally degrading as I’ve experienced at some other schools of writing.

The first poem I remember my mom reading to me when I was teeny was Abou Ben Adhem (May his tribe increase) by James Henry Leigh Hunt. I remember the vivid imagery that I experienced as I heard the words. I hope to be that sort of poet one day and this is precisely why I look toward refining my skills.

Abou Ben Adhem by Leigh Hunt

Abou Ben Adhem (may his tribe increase!)
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace,
And saw, within the moonlight in his room,
Making it rich, and like a lily in bloom,
An angel writing in a book of gold:—
Exceeding peace had made Ben Adhem bold,
And to the presence in the room he said,
“What writest thou?”—The vision raised its head,
And with a look made of all sweet accord,
Answered, “The names of those who love the Lord.”
“And is mine one?” said Abou. “Nay, not so,”
Replied the angel. Abou spoke more low,
But cheerly still; and said, “I pray thee, then,
Write me as one that loves his fellow men.”
The angel wrote, and vanished. The next night
It came again with a great wakening light,
And showed the names whom love of God had blest,
And lo! Ben Adhem’s name led all the rest.


Who are some of your favorite poets and what poems sit deep inside of you?