Proxy, Poem, Daughter, Denizen
is the title of a new poem I am drafting. I think it’s finished. But a rule I try to follow with my writing is to not mentally stamp “finished” on a piece until a reasonable amount of time–a couple weeks at the least, more often a month or a few months–has passed. If it passes the test of time, if in the end I can sit with it and my intentions still resonate, then, well, it’s done.
That said, I feel on to something. Maybe because the poem is deeply personal. Maybe because I see its niche in the larger project I’m working on (a poetry collection that is coming along at a lovely snail’s pace). Maybe because I stepped outside my comfort zone to write it. It says things I want to say, Maybe with a little work-shopping, I can learn it to say them better, but I’m happy to be writing again.
I spent several days last week with my family. We remembered my grandmother, who passed away earlier this month. It was a difficult time, but also rewarding. The siblings have grown up and scattered themselves far and wide, but we were all together for awhile and that was nice.
Sometimes the passing of a person brings out that person’s influence in others. It’s remarkable to me how individuals in a family rub off on one another, how we’re the products of others decisions, others motivations, others great loves and hates, happinesses and heartbreaks. That sounds pretty deterministic (a case in point, coming as I do from a lot of staunch regular baptists!) but I don’t mean we aren’t free agents or that we are somehow incapable of steering our lives. I just mean that families are guiding factors for all of us, for better or worse.
I’m learning, with poetry in particular, to embrace shaping influences. Guiding factors as it were. It’s a little leap that I feel I’ve been waiting to make for a long time.
I hope my little poem someday finds a home somewhere. But I’m content for now just to sit with it’s intentions and parse them out a little more for myself.
What about you? What guides your art these days?