Archive for the ‘Health’ Tag

Everyday Poets 2011   Leave a comment

 

Child 1

Children, flexible in all kinds of ways!  (Photo credit: Tony Trần)

 

As anyone who has read my latest book, Melons and Memory will tell you, my role as a mother is at the very center of my being. More than my roles as a poet, librarian, sister, daughter, wife or friend, I am identified by others as being the mother of my daughter and two sons. The first thought on waking and the last fading off to sleep is how can I improve the lives of my children every day. It’s led to some easy decisions, and to others that were not so easy.

 

 

 

One of those tough decisions was made after my daughter was born. I had suffered from HELPP syndrome, and had had to have an emergency c section as my liver and kidneys began to shut down. She was fine, the healthiest and heaviest of the three, but in the process of giving her life, I almost lost mine. At that point I made the painful decision to have a tubal ligation. While I was still pretty young, I had had three children, I had my girl. The potential for more children was too great a risk to the well being of the children I already had.

 

 

 

Three years later, it’s a decision I’m comfortable with. I see my friends in their pregnancies, hold their infants, and that desire to have another one is no longer there. But in the beginning, it was very difficult to wrap my head around such a permanent decision. So, as I do with all the bumps in my road, I ironed it out with writing.

 

 

 

The poem, “Closing Down the Baby Factory”, was so good, Everyday Poets published it last year, and I’m so glad they did. While the beauty and joys of motherhood are so prevalent in poetry as to almost be cliché, the topic of choosing to let motherhood go rarely gets the airplay it deserves, in poetry or the mainstream media. It’s important that every woman can find herself somewhere in the arts. One of the goals I’ve set for myself in my writing career is to give them that through my own experiences, no matter how sensitive or graphic it might be.

 

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Visions and Voices   Leave a comment

Typical elementary school classroom.

Image via Wikipedia

You can read and or listen to this poem here

I work, every day, with children. I have three of my own to keep me occupied, but I also work as a middle school librarian. When I wrote this poem, I was working in an elementary school, in the library but also working part time with autistic children. In a classroom setting, where everyone is autistic, you can really see what they mean by the spectrum, not one child had the same autism as any of the others. Even the ones that were related. The only way to truly understand what this disorder is, how it affects those that are diagnosed with it, as well as their families and friends, you must get to know them, more than one. People still hear the word and think Rain Man, not Temple Grandin.

So, I wrote this poem, which doesn’t mention autism, and could refer to any child left out, left behind in some way. But it was one particular autistic child who inspired me to sit down and write.

Day 4   Leave a comment

N00728 H-1- medullary sponge kidney

Image via Wikipedia

So, I’m studying for the GREs, which I’ll be taking tomorrow night, and I’m finding that while I ace the majority of the verbal section, the whole blank is to blank as blank is to blank part is kicking my butt. It’s kind of ticking me off, because I recall being quite good at these many moons ago on the SATs. Bigger vocabulary now, and this test, from what i heard, TRIES to trick you, trip you up.

So, I used one of the analogies to write a poem tonight. (No, still no progress on the novel. Or the zombie story. Next week, I promise. Maybe.) The one I chose, the title of my poem, is

Excretion: Kidney

No, my kidneys have been causing my heartbreak and pain from a very young age. My ureter needed to be re-implanted at the ripe old age of seven, due to frequent kidney infections. My right kidney reminds me it’s there every single day. So how in the heck did I get this question wrong? By trying to out think the test. I figured the correct answer, Respiration: Lung, couldn’t possibly be right because it was too obvious, being the only option that included another organ of the body. So I chose Information: Media, like a yutz, because kidneys distribute excretions, and the media distributes information. Right? Evidently, no.

So, I threw together a short wee poem to vent my frustration after a long day of studying. Hopefully, if all goes well tomorrow, I’ll have the rest of the month to fiction write with rigor.

Haruah: Breath of Heaven   Leave a comment

Northern lights on the road

Image by Tom Olliver via Flickr

To read this poem, click here

2007, when “On the Shores of Gitcheegumee” was published in Haruah: Breath of Heaven, seems like a lifetime ago. Even more distant is the even that inspired this inspirational piece about grieving, loss, and hope.

My grandmother died almost 20 years ago, but the trip to Montana my family took is fresh in my mind to this day. Growing up we made the trek to Montana by van many times, but this particular trip was fraught with roadblocks along the way. The minivan broke down in Michigan, the part needed had to be ordered, the only campground nearby with a spot for us was run by a crazy old man who hated kids.  It was like something out of a movie, but the best, and worst, was yet to come.

At weeks end, we sped across the prairies, not stopping at night, my parents taking turns sleeping. During one of the brief stops along side the road so Mom could wake up and take Dad’s place, we were blessed to see the Northern Lights, my sister and I for the first time. The next day we learned that my grandmother had passed around the time we witnessed Aurora Borealis.

My family, my life, have always been a main source of inspiration for me, and this poem is representative of some of my earliest work, drawing on one of the bigger moments. Over time, of course, I have to delve further, draw from memory buried over time, more subtle. It’s nice to look back and remember a simpler, bittersweet time.

How deep into your own memory do you go for inspiration? Have you simply skimmed the surface in your writing, or have the layers slowly been peeled away? Do some free writing, quickly writing down scraps of memory, phrases, words, see what might be hiding, waiting to come into the light.