Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Tag

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.

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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.