On Honouring the Process

The other day, a deer crossed my path. Startled we both stopped and stared, for a split second, before sprinting into different directions. A simple explanation for this encounter is that it’s spring and all living things are awake and roaming about. But I’m the kind of person, who sees signs or tries to find meaning in everything. You might say I’m a binge thinker but I view myself as a good listener, more especially from nature.

I bet deer are always lurking in the periphery of cities, more especially here with abundant forests and right on our backyards. But what took my breath away, at that specific moment, I was alone with the deer on a path that is usually busy with people going about their business after a workday.

As I write this piece, I’m a bit shocked and saddened by a message in my inbox this morning from one of my favourite Steampunk writers, announcing they will no longer continue to write and publish. I’ll admit, I shed a tear or two. First, because this pandemic is hard and has disrupted so many things. Second, because I’ve been especially hard on myself of late, concerning my lack of time and resources to publish my work.

So completely has a whole year passed, with scarcely the fruits of a month. . . I have done nothing! ~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Anyway, it turns out a deer crossing one’s path has a number of meanings, But the one I took away is about gentleness and compassion instead of it as a sign to perhaps give something up. Because I can never imagine myself not writing. I also learned Coleridge stopped writing poetry at 32 years of age because he was no longer able write “serious” poetry.

As I honour my process by being patient and compassionate to myself, I’m also putting out a plea. If you are a creative, please don’t quit! We might never know, in our lifetime, how our work impact others. But perhaps in a distant future, someone might find something of value from our endeavours.

p.s. Featured photo by Dustin Romeiro on Unsplash. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

On Coming Up for Air

It’s spring, a season of expectations and the morning smells fresh. Light conquers as the cold, dark and long Nordic winter finally relents. Even though the surface remains slippery, I dare come out to play.

I had decided not to start the year with laments, for I know not of anyone who hasn’t been bandaging wounds or scars left by 2020. So, instead I plunged myself into water, even though I’ve never been a good swimmer. It was a leap of faith, an expectation that I’ll come out mentally and emotionally strong. Because I’d have learned to not try grab hold of water but float.

It’s often said people gravitate towards poetry for comfort or getting through a tough time. I’m one of those who don’t gravitate but planted in it. Because as Rosemary Nissen-Wade once wrote, “Maybe the only person your poetry will save is yourself.” But now that I’ve finally written an epitaph for my dad-in-law, I’m coming up for air.

And the question I ask, have you been leaning into poetry or running away from, during these hard times? Why?

note: This piece was inspired by a number of recent events, a poem I wrote years ago, Rosemary’s quote above & I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.

For the Courageous

As I write this piece, I think of courage and determination. Of stories I heard as a child about courageous women, who chose to challenge the status quo despite the risks.

I think of the kind of courage that saw my mother uproot us as young children from the elusive comfort of the city to plant us deep into the reality of a rural life. Dissatisfied with inequality in employment opportunities and advancement, she was determined to become her own boss. And so, armed with a nanny and a gun, she eased into her new role.

I can’t claim to have near as much the courage as my mother possessed. But I’m always determined in my small way to challenge gender stereotypes, biases and assumptions that still persist even today. So, as we celebrate women’s achievements the world over, I think of how far we’ve come and still to go.

To think of courage is to think of all the remarkable women, who keep dismantling boxes we often find ourselves lumped in. Women, who occupy spaces that were never designed with us in mind. To think of determination is to celebrate all you courageous women, who keep asking “What if?” and “Why not?”

Happy International Women’s Day, in advance!

p.s. Photo by Fionn Claydon on Unsplash. I’m also linking to Writers’ Pantry at Poets and Storytellers United.