I am a writer and a swimmer and really related to this quote from Mary Oliver, the great Pulitzer-Prize winning poet. During this dark pandemic period, I find both writing and swimming have sustained me. I’m grateful I get to reserve a lane at my gym and swim six days a week (never on Sunday.) I have also been writing through this pandemic and I feel like it has been a lifesaver. It gives me purpose.
I wrote a collection of poems about my experiences with my partner, who died of Alzheimer’s in his sixties. I feel grateful that Finishing Line is publishing this work and it will be out in the world. The work around the publication, particularly, has sustained me during this dark time.
By this, I think he meant that we shouldn’t judge our own work, but let it go out in the world. Others will judge it. If you think of it that way, it frees us, as writers, from nagging insecurities. There’s always someone who has one a prize for their work or gotten public recognition, and it’s easy to be envious. But if we just keep our sights on our own work, and trying to make it the best we can, we can gently return to ourselves.
I have a new book coming out soon, a collection of poetry called Touch My Head Softly from Finishing Line Press. It is about my experiences with my partner’s having Alzheimer’s. I try not to think about how other people will judge my very personal poems. I wanted to do it and now the poems are out in the world: abandoned.
Here is the link to my book at Finishing Line Press:
For any of us who watched the insurrection of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. last week, the words of Amanda Gorman, the inaugural poet, rings true. This poem was, ultimately, optimistic, portending a better future. Poetry can speak to us like nothing else when times are dark.
I wrote a collection of poetry after my partner died of Alzheimer’s Disease. It was a very dark time in my life. My partner, a brilliant mathematician, deteriorated quickly, leaving me in darkness. The writing of the poetry helped me to process what happened. I have been working on Touch My Head Softly with my publisher, Finishing Line Press, to finish the process. It has given me purpose through the pandemic.
I can’t listen to music with words, as it interferes with my word process, but wordless music, classic or jazz, can sometimes enhance my writing. A Bach piece with choral work or John Coltrane’s horn can bring me there.
I guess combining art forms is usually a good thing. I’ve happily done readings of my poetry in art galleries. I think the art enhances the reading. How do you use the arts to enhance your writing?
My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly is due out in early 2021;
Many of us watched in horror this week as the Capitol of the United States, a symbol of democracy for hundreds of years, was attacked by angry mobsters. Additionally, we are dealing with a pandemic that is infecting more than 22 million people in the country, a failing economy, and a dysfunctional government with many trust issues.
As writers, how do we cope with chaos around us? What does it mean for our writing? Do we become immobilized and stop writing? Do we add to the body of literature on the incident? Do we try to put positive energy out there to offset the negative?
My philosophy is to try to go with the latter.
I have a collection of poetry coming out in 2021 about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. I will be donating part of the proceeds to the Alzheimer’s Society to further their research. I’m just trying to make the world a more positive place. If I can help even one person with Alzheimer’s or a caretaker, it would make me feel better.
What do you do to put positive energy out into the world?
Culture is a fuzzy term. Some cultures just have speech, no writing. Language affects the way we write. Some writers are multilingual, and that’s a definite advantage. Speech is flexible and can be used in particular ways in a cultural setting. We speak naturally in many diverse backgrounds as babies, from the playground, to school, to home. Writing can also be a misery for a child in school who hasn’t mastered the rules.Writing is where we must be precise. Speech is where we get to be imprecise, to play.
Imagine, as writers, playing with our words the way we play with speech. We can make magical words in our writing. Witness the incantation to open the caves entrance in Tolkein’s Lord of the Rings. Gabriel García Márquez made frog kings.
So how do we make magical writing in our culture? I’m not sure. Does anyone want to answer this question, just reply to my blog.
My latest collection of poems, Touch Ny Head Softly, will be out soon from Finishing Line Press.
Have you ever written a personal essay on the same subject as a creative book you’ve published? My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly, is about my experiences with my partner who died of Alzheimer’s Disease. I learned a lot about Alzheimer’s when my partner had it. I also did quite a bit of research on it for the collection of poems that I wrote.
I’d like to write an essay about Alzheimer’s. It’s a terrible disease that needs to be highlighted. It affects more Americans than prostate and breast cancer combined. I’m also donating part for the proceeds from the sale of my book to the Alzheimer’s Association for research for a cure.
Do you have any experience with writing a personal essay on a topic related to your novel or poetry? Would anyone like to guest blog a post in exchange on this topic for a guest blog here on a topic related to your book?
My upcoming book, Touch My Head Softly is due out in early 2021;
I don’t know how writing this year has been for you, but I know that writing has sustained me through this difficult year. I have a new collection of poetry coming out in early 2021 by Finishing Line Press about my partner who died of Alzheimer’s. With so many issues affecting us this year, such as the pandemic, the 2020 presidential election, the struggle for racial justice, I wonder how relevant my poems about Alzheimer’s Disease are in the world. I am donating part of the proceeds from the sale of the book to the Alzheimer’s Association to try to create a positive effect from the publishing of the collection. I am also trying to reflect on what I learned about myself in these trying times.
Her father, Bronson Alcott, was a Transcendentalist who knew Thoreau and Emerson. He moved here, to Fruitlands Farm, to form a Utopian Society. it failed after 7 months, but it influenced Luisa May, his 10–year–old daughter, to write Little Women and Little Men. What has influenced your writing?
I had a partner who died of Alzheimer’s in his 60’s. It influenced me to writer Touch My Head Softly, due out from Finishing Line Press in January.