Drought & Writing

I spent Labor Day weekend going through all the poetry I’ve written over the last six years. I did this in preparation for a writer’s retreat I will be attending at Laity Lodge at the end of the month with Julia Kasdorf. We can send her a poem if we wish.


Well, I don’t wish. Nothing is good enough. I spent the weekend revising and deleting.


Going through the poems provided rather interesting commentary on my life.


2006-six poems

2007-eleven poems

2008-twenty-four poems

2009-ten poems

2010-zero poems.

2011-forty-six poems


Here’s the shorthand of my life during those years:


2006-Move shortly after starting with magazine. Join writer’s group.

2007-Mom’s cancer returns after 23-year remission. More articles.

2008-More cancer. Start column.

2009-More cancer. Start editing.

2010-Mom dies.

2011-Life as we know it.


Note the writing drought of 2010. I could not write those first six months after Mom died. I hardly even remember those first six months. If I had not had to write for my job, I would not have written at all.


Late in that year, my drought began to break. Our writers group started a book called “Poemcrazy” by Susan Wooldridge. It was the beginning of me writing again. We’re now on our fourth poetry book.


Life does beget writing–I started writing more poems when I got busier with the magazine–but it also takes it away. There are things, particularly things about my children, that I can’t write, not even as poems.


By the way, my poem tally does not include the 72 poems I wrote during my mom’s last two years. They occupy a separate section of my life: Cancer World. If you’ve been there, for yourself or for a loved one, you know it defies time and space.


And I still have absolutely no idea what poem I might send to Julia.