I’ve been home two weeks exploring the new me. The changes astound me. An avid talker, I’ve descended into an eerie silence. The need to express an opinion on everything has vanished. My poetry, a way to explore the hard stuff, is silent too.
Where have my words gone?
My therapist said, ‘Anorexia is a form of self flagellation.’ I knew what she meant. I didn’t want to own it then. I’d been working really hard peeling back the layers of inter-generational trauma. I understood why I befriended the shadow: anorexia. And I went to Africa. My brain was fried.
I’d physically recovered by 23 and didn’t give anorexia much thought. By 30, I was pregnant with my first child and by 35, a mother of three. I returned to work four years later, weekend ICU, an intense world which kept me enthralled for 18 years. I needed a break and moved into community health. Writing called. I answered.
I’m home but my words float along behind me. The break from the rigour of my manuscript has done its job. I hope my words catch up to me soon. So here is a prose poetry account of writing, travelling and most importantly changing.
Opportunities abound when people watching, new things to try or reruns with barbs. What happens when the alarm bells ring and although we should be excited? Why are these experiences with us? Done bashing my head against a brick wall, I sit back, retreating into the comfort of silence.
Thousands of stories, characters and plots that unfold. One lumpy afternoon ample fodder for a book or two. Weird stuff happens some of it almost unbelievable but conflict makes writing memorable. This poem came from recent seaside reflections.
I walk. It keeps me sane. Lately, dare I say it, I’ve tried mindfulness. It’s then when the words come. Poems, ideas, edits and of course I’m not carrying a pen.
in the shaded garden
on naked limbs
On the path something black wriggled, clearly alive, clearly lost. My mind searches for a name. Rummaging …
I’m getting older. No doubt about it. Ageing and wisdom are by no means synonymous. Why? In our material world, got to love that we even write songs about that theme, we crave youth and perfection. We want symmetry. We crave the golden ratio! Does it define beauty?
Nature inspires me. I thought of my daughter and her determination to see the Fig Trees yesterday. I love her for that, her spontaneity and love of nature’s gifts. A Queenslander to the core, I wrote about these iconic trees: a metaphor.
The Moreton Bay Fig
before we are conceived
there is potential
leaves an infinite array on a great tree
We recently travelled north from Melbourne to Brisbane, a journey that unearthed memories from over thirty years ago. My parents, long gone, undertook this journey to visit us. This piece is a collage of my impressions on the road.
Up the Newell
Up early after a scrappy sleep,
Our bags are packed, Christmas gifts safely stored.
New Years Day:
Eerily-empty roads stretch out in front of us.
The Newell Highway, the inland route.
The decision loomed, change and move forward or … Books in cupboards = books not in the hands of readers. Inspired by a new idea, I had dropped copies of Schicksal within regional Victoria. A trip up the Newell Highway to Brisbane, my place of birth, gave me further scope to share my book.
The journey took me down memory lane to a time when my parents had made the same journey visiting me in Melbourne. Synchronous moments began commanding my attention. I tried to ignore them, immersing myself in the beauty of the Australian landscape.
Last Saturday braving the wind sucking up the alleyway, I attended day 2 of a 4 day memoir writers course with Sian Prior at Writers Victoria. Her skills for publication list included the ability to perform as a writer in public.
What did she mean? The rain, full moon and unanswered question roused me. I struggled with pinning it down; to perform as a writer in public. How?