I’ve been writing a lot lately – that’s what happens when you commit to pick up the pen pretty much every day, for at least twenty minutes.
Some fiction (one of the prompts that I gave in one of my live-streaming sessions through my Write Ramble Facebook group was to write about mud and that kept me going on a story for days and days), but mostly poetry.
Poetry is the thing that I turn to when wobbly, shifting emotions are too big and amorphous to be turned into linear plot-line or characters with clear wants.
Like dreams, I let it (or I try to) emerge with its own logic – memories, images, metaphors, similes – that might not make sense in the moment but that gather a sort-of psychological logic the longer I stay with the writing or, sometimes, when I return and re-read.
This happened with a poem I wrote after my sister sent me a selfie of herself in her PPE. When I saw her, I felt my heart leap into my throat, and then came the worry about her, working as an RN in a hospital where two people quickly died of Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic.
Those feelings stayed, swimming around, until I sat down at my desk one morning with the others who write with me, and this poem about her unspooled…
It’s called For My Sister In Her P.P.E. and you can read it (and see the picture of her) on Understorey Magazine right here.
I’m throwing a lot of myself behind poetry these days, because I believe in it so much. I think it is the thing that helps us speak when speaking seems impossible.
So, whether or not you consider yourself a poet, maybe try it, like you might try other new things in these strange times: baking sourdough or making paella or (for me) knitting socks.
Let it hold your longing and your fears. Let it say what is unsayable.