Archive for the ‘family’ Tag

The Legendary, 2009   Leave a comment

Grandma's underwear

Image by raldski gimo via Flickr

http://www.downdirtyword.com/authors/helenpeterson.html#tp

The Legendary loves me, and I love the Legendary.  In 2009, they published three flash by me, “The Cheating Kind”, “Goin’ Commando”, and “Missy Lee’s Enlightenment”.

The Cheating Kind, well. It’s four sentences, mostly of dialogue, but I think, I hope, it packs a punch when you read it, similar to the shock to the system the protagonist gets when she realizes she is, indeed, married to the cheating kind.

Goin Commando is a Baby Girl story, but instead of the younger, sassy, middle aged Baby Girl, we get to meet the Grandma Baby Girl. It was fun, trying to imagine this character I had created initially in her twenties, then wrote about again in her forties, turn sixty and become Maw-Maw. The story I adapted from something my sister did at the age of five, not me. Honest. I swear.

And Missy Lee owes her name to a good friend of mine with the last name of Lee. Sassy, Southern, and comfortable in her skin. Her actions, however, stem from autobiographical frustration I had with a previous relationship. The beauty of being a writer is, you can write out the things in your life you don’t understand until they begin to make sense.  You can harness your anger and create with it, birthing characters that may reach out to others in your position, give them hope and allow them to see the beauty in themselves.

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Literary Tonic   Leave a comment

http://literarytonic.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/poetry-by-helen-r-peterson/

In April the online zine Literary Tonic, published right here on WordPress, posted my poem “My Soul Pours Out Like Water”. The poem’s title comes from Lamentations 2:19:

Arise , cry out in the night: in the beginning of the watches pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord: lift up thy hands toward him for the life of thy young children, that faint for hunger in the top of every street.

And OK, Jeremiah said heart, but whatever was going through my head that night, I read it as soul.

I’ve written quite a lot about my experiences as a mother, some might even call it my theme, my niche. However, historically I don’t tend to write a lot while pregnant. I guess I have other things on my mind at the time.  My third and last pregnancy was an exception, as I was in pain most of the time, and writing through it became my only reliable release.  Stuck in bed,  rolled up on your side, all you can do is read and write and try to keep your lunch off your belly. So I read the Bible in between the stacks of library books and gleaned from its pages verses, phrases, a word here and there that spoke to me in some way. Later, after nearly succumbing to Helpp syndrome, I was able to go over my notes and fit my own words around those of the prophets and apostles. The poem Literary Tonic chose to publish is an example of the fruit of my literary labor. Enjoy.

Sugarpants: the Scrawl Blogazine   Leave a comment

http://www.stwa.net/blog/2010/08/13/drunk-poems-series-helen-peterson/

In my post about Poetic Diversity, I mentioned that I belonged to an online writers’ workshop. That forum, called Scrawl:The Writers’ Asylum, also runs a blog that showcases some of the work of the members.  Last month they posted a poem of mine called “When He is Drunk on Me” in a series of drunk poems by various poets.

Like most creative people when they get together, writers like to riff on one another’s work. Someone writes something, someone else draws on similar experiences, and writes something new. This can continue on with someone else, or the first person can build again on the second person’s work. You see this a lot with musicians, the guitar player puts some chords together, the drummer builds a back beat to carry it, the pianist weaves her own notes in and out. We do the same, just with words.

In this case, it started in a topical thread about what people do when they are drunk, mostly humorous anecdotes came out, but then one brilliant poet and all around wonderful person named Sue Miller posted that when she is drunk she thinks about Wyoming. Then she wrote a poem with a similar title, and posted it in the poetry workshop. From there others posted Drunk poems thinking about other places, and sometimes, like me, about other people.

For me, the word drunk is heavy with the regret of a failed marriage. Being the wife of a full-blown alcoholic meant that moments that should have been beautiful were tinged with ugliness.  It is not a happy poem, it is not a pretty poem. It rips off the scab, hard, and I almost didn’t want it to be posted in a public forum. I was afraid to allow a peek under the covers, so to speak, how people might change their perception of me, of him. But then I thought of the other women out there in the world who might have gone through similar experiences, of wanting to make love, hold their husbands close, feel loved. Instead, they gag on the fumes coming from his mouth, the dirty sweat, the blacking out. I thought, perhaps, it might help them if they come across this poem to know they aren’t alone, that it’s ok to feel disappointed with the way things have turned out.

I hope, as you read this poem, you don’t think less of me. I hope you can fall back on your own good experiences in love and romance, enjoy them, and never take them for granted.

Battered Suitcase   Leave a comment

Алина никогда не моет посуду, если ей сказать:...

Image via Wikipedia

http://www.vagabondagepress.com/00901/V3I2PT7.html

Battered Suitcase is an online journal run by Vagabondage Press that has a special place in my heart, as it was one of the first places that published me  when I was starting out. They’ve done me the honor of accepting another poem, this one entitled “When Even the Neighbor’s Cat Feels Sorry for Me”, a good one for today, when I am down in the dumps.

This was a napowrimo poem. What is napowrimo? National Poetry Writing Month, the month of April, when I, and a number of other poets in the US, challenge ourselves and one another to write a poem a day, for the whole month. It’s a momentum I wish I could maintain all year. During April of 2009, I had just moved into a new place, had chosen to end my reproductive years, and was looking at a relationship in decline.  On this particular day, I hadn’t found my poem yet, was washing dishes, listening to the Beatles, when “Fool on the Hill” came on. Music is a huge influence on my writing, as are tasks that have a rhythm to them, such as scrubbing dishes. Close your eyes and think of it, the sounds and movements. Scrub scrub, rinse, stack, scrub scrub rinse stack. Sccrit, scrrit, woosh, clanck, scrrit sccrit, woosh, clanck.

The beauty of ordinary things, washing dishes, humming a tune, is good therapy to cure the blues. You either write a poem or take a nap afterwards, but either way, you’re feeling good. It all swirls away down the drain with the tortilla crumbs.  Take some time today to become aware of the rhythms of your own domesticity, and put it down on paper.

Wilderness House Literary Review   Leave a comment

http://www.whlreview.com/no-5.2/poetry/HelenPeterson.pdf

Wilderness House, which has published me twice now, is the feature today. These two poems, “Mother Cynic” and “Making Aunt Gracie’s Potato Salad”  both explore family in unique ways. Yesterday’s poem, “To the Mother of all Mothers”, took on a humorous view of motherhood, “Mother Cynic” as its name implies takes a darker view. Perfect for today, as my oldest got on the bus this morning for a new school, and did NOT want me to come to the bus stop with him. (He’s in 7th grade now, so I get it, but still…) fortunately, next week, my second will start preschool, and will definitely want me there so it covers the hole left by the tween. And it’s the up and down, the balancing act that is motherhood, that “Mother Cynic” is framed around.

The second poem, “Making Aunt Gracie’s Potato Salad”, is a poem written as a recipe, mapping the life of “Aunt Gracie”. The name came not from an aunt, but from my great-grandmother, Granny Gracie, who made biscuits, not potato salad. I just happened to be making potato salad that day, so it was a mix of the true and the not quite true. Emily Dickinson once said “tell the tale, but tell it slant.”, and that’s just what I did.

Food and family make great inspirations. Today, write about the food that means family to you, and share a slice here.

Lit Up   Leave a comment

http://litupmagazine.wordpress.com/new/

Lit Up is an awesome online journal that has published a few things of mine, most recently a poem entitled “To the Mother of All Mothers”  I wrote it for a Christmas card, and they published it in the summer time, which was pretty ballsy on their part.

I wanted to do something humorous for Christmas, and not just do the whole sentimental thing as in years past. I’ve always liked writing poems to stick into birthday cards, Christmas cards, shower cards, you get te idea. It makes me really think about the person I’m gifting, and turns a generic Christmas card into a personal gift of joy. Which, after all, is what Christmas is all about.

I have three kids, ages 2, 4, and 12. So I know a thing or two about how children not free from sin behave, and imagined how nice it must have been to bring up Jesus. Typing this now, I begin to wonder how Mary and Joseph dealt with their other children after Jesus. I may just have to write about that. Hmmm……

Today, think about the people in your life who could really use a card from you. Someone you’re thankful for, or who is having a birthday, or is unwell. Why not write a poem or a short story for them to stick in the card?