Ona Gritz’s column in the latest edition of Literary Mama really struck a chord with me. “Mothering the Muse” is about the writing of poetry and how those of us who indulge in verse itch to write it more often.
While she talks about how her writing career moved to writing children’s books (instead of poetry), Gritz says “…I left my hometown of poetry because …”
Hometown of poetry.
I love that phrase. I knew that town well. It reminded me, with a sudden severe jolt of loss, how much I used to write as well. Reams and reams (and then some) of verse. Notebooks full of blank verse, rhymes and some pretty good haiku (if I may say so myself). There were the hundreds of poems that poured out of me when my father died suddenly– he was 46, I was 18. The stage was set and it was easy after that (for a while). Every little thing became a subject worthy of a rhyme – friends, relationships, the angst of those teen years. Even when I began my long, boring journey into corporate life, the words still spilt out, written surreptitiously on the company bus back home, or phrases repeated endlessly in my head when paper was nowhere to be found.
When Gritz turns 41 (“the exact mid-point of my life”) , she admits to herself that what she misses is not writing enough. I feel like that every single day. God knows I have more writing work, more editors approaching me than I can handle (and thank God, for that). What I miss, really, is not that kind of writing, but being able to journal – to take that diary out and ramble on and on. To make the time to vomit out every little thing I want to say, but do not, because there is no time or opportunity or the right listening ear. (Either that, or it is getting increasingly difficult to find my journal in the cacophony of endless toys, books and baby clothes that are taking over our space.)
I want to write about Mr. M’s unusual sometimes reddish-sometimes chocolate coloured hair and how it gleams in the sunlight. I want to write about his pudgy little feet and how he fights me every time I try to get to his nails. I want to write about those fantastic 5 am kisses and how my heart pounds when he falls asleep, face pressed into my neck, breathing my rapidly beating pulse.
Gritz writes about her son, too. About his honey-coloured hair, about his growing up too soon (I feel that way so often these days, even though Mr. M is only fourteen months old), about every day occurrences that sometimes only mothers see.
I guess my obsession with photographing Mr. M and every little thing he does is my way of capturing those moments, of remembering, of not forgetting. Thousands of megabytes later, binary poetry sits on my precious external hard disk, waiting.
Just like those words.
Read the rest of Gritz’s lovely writing here. I’m off to make some verse.